A scanner is invaluable to any office, regardless of your industry. Their capacity to preserve history and essential business documents through digitization is impeccable.
While all scanners perform their core function–scan documents–they aren’t made equally. Some scanners were designed to integrate additional features to maximize productivity, while others simply tackle the basics of transferring hard copies to a digital or ‘soft’ format.
The following scanner types are some of the most prevalent on the market.
The main scanner types are flatbed, portable, desktop and large format scanners. Your choice hinges on what you’re hoping to achieve and the level of productivity you want to tap into. Let’s explore your options so you can make an informed decision
Flatbed scanners are distinguished for their true-to-form, realistic output. These are great for converting documents into high-quality, sharp digital formats.
As a result of its flat surface, flatbed scanners are ideal for digitizing information in books. This is the case as the scanning sensor passes beneath the document, unlike other scanner types where sheets are fed through the scanner and pass over the sensor.
However, flatbed scanners aren’t the most efficient scanners when large volumes of documents need to be converted, as they merely print a single page at a time.
Portable scanner types afford ease of mobility. They digitize images on the go and are great options to explore if you travel frequently but need the aid of a scanner.
A portable scanner may come as a handheld device or sheet feeder. A handheld portable scanner is better if you need more versatility when scanning documents. This is because you can scan pages from books and other documents on flat surfaces.
On the other hand, there are some portable scanners that use a sheet-feeder, which is only ideal for loose sheets or pages.
Some portable scanners operate using rechargeable batteries. If you surmise that you won’t always be connected to an outlet, settling for a handheld scanner with rechargeable batteries is the most prudent choice.
These compact scanners were designed for the benefit of small businesses and individuals. Their size limits how much desktop space they assume. Although desktop scanners aren’t inundated with features, they are sturdy, reliable pieces of equipment.
They are big on speed, and some, coupled with the capacity to hold up to 100 pages, make them ideal production scanners. A desktop scanner is a workhorse to align with if you work with large volumes of documents that need scanning daily.
When you need to capture images and text surpassing legal document size, you need a large format scanner. These are best for digitizing blueprints, posters, newspaper sheets, and architectural illustrations.
While these devices are helpful, not all wide format scanners handle documents in the same manner. For example, if you want to scan delicate or fragile documents, using a sheet-fed wide format scanner may not be a good idea. Instead, it’s better to use a large flatbed scanner where the paper or image can be placed comfortably while the scanner sensor does its job.
Another factor to consider is this scanner’s size. As it’s capturing larger documents, these scanners take up more space than desktop or handheld equipment. Ensure to make space to house this device if it’s what you need.
Now that you know what scanner types are available, let’s explore some features you need to consider when choosing the best device for your needs.
If speed is the game, an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) is the name. ADF supercharges your scanning efforts and takes things to another level. Flatbeds are great for retaining quality but lack the speed you need to get stuff done.
With an automatic document feeder, you tap into more productivity, as documents are fed through the scanner rather than lying flat.
Using a flatbed scanner can get time-consuming and painful, as you’d need to lift the scanner head multiple times to capture all your documents. With an automatic document feeder, pages are fed through the scanner fast.
Duplex scanning is another productivity booster. This allows a document to pass through a feed once while capturing both sides of the document.
This saves you time, and you’ll experience fewer people standing at the scanner machine. In addition, both monochromes and color documents can be captured using this scanner.
Integrating additional software into the mix gives your scanner more operating power. Scanners typically come with software, but these are focused on streamlining the digitizing process.
For example, you may want to scan a document and apply edits to it or have access to other administrative functions. Adding software like Adobe Acrobat that uses optical character recognition to the ecosystem may improve your printing functionality. OCR makes your scanned documents more readily identifiable.
Storage capacity is another aspect to consider when choosing the best document scanner for office use. Most scanners allow you to store captured documents on your local PC, but this isn’t a good idea, even if you have a lot of storage to go around.
This is because your system is susceptible to failure, and large documents add up over time. This could eat up your CPU resources and slow down your computer.
Using a scanner that easily integrates with document management systems like OneDrive and Google Drive keeps your files safe, and you can later retrieve them from any device.