What is it?
What does it do? Do I need to do it? What equipment do I need? How
do I do it?
means making a digital recording of a piece of paper or photograph.
1: A fax machine scans a document into digital format and sends the
digital data to another fax machine to be decoded back into a document.
For the technically detailed person, a fax machine must also convert
the digital signal into an analog signal to send over a phone line
and then the receive fax must convert the analog back to digital.
2: A copy machine scans a document for the purpose of making a copy.
We just never thought of these processes as scanning.
difference with what we now refer to as scanning is the output. The
next section will discuss what the output is all about.
does it do?
scanner provides output in the form of a computer file. Here is a
list of possible uses:
Making copies of documents for records, inventory, archiving. These
copies can be stored on CDs, DVs, jump drives or other external devices
for a very condensed permanent record in place of paper archives.
If you do not have a fax machine, you can scan a document and send
a fax from your computer.
Scanning photographs is the most common use for scanners today. You
can take all of your old album pictures, slides and negatives and
scan them into the computer. Once in the computer, you can print copies,
make a slide show, store hundreds of photos on one CD, DVD or jump
drive. You can modify old photos to remove scratches and recolorize.
can make a CD containing a slide show of selected photos and send
copies to other family members.
Enlarging publications for vision impaired. You can do this with a
copy machine also, but scanning into the computer gives you more options
I need to do it?
depends on your individual needs. When was the last time you got out
the slide projector and looked at your old photos? How often do you
look at your photo albums?
you ever need to fax a document? Would you like to store copies of
all your important documents in a safe place?
any of these scenarios fit you, then scanning might be the answer.
equipment do I need?
are a number of considerations in choosing a scanner.
are a little larger footprint, but allow scanning pages of a book,
odd shaped papers or varying thickness from paper thin to very thick.
Page feed (Like a fax machine) These will only scan a single piece
of paper of limited thickness and size. They do allow scanning longer
documents like a legal size.
All in one. These devices may include a scanner, printer, copier and
fax. They save space instead of having 4 separate devices. They are
available in both page feed and flatbed. My experience with them is
that they grab a lot of resources and control of Windows. If you can
afford the space for separate devices, that is a better choice in
Color vs. B/W. Our world is changing to a color world. There are few
reasons to settle for a B/W unit today. Some businesses need only
B/W and a laser type works just fine and keeps the cost of printing
All scanners have either USB or wireless connection. USB is more reliable
if you have the scanner within cord distance from the computer.
model of scanner you choose is not really important. I have owned
Umax, HP, Brother and Canon and worked with great numbers of them
and other brands with my clients and I have nothing negative to say
about any brand or model with one exception. Check the ability of
the scanner to scan edge to edge. We have had Brothers that cut off
1/4 inch of the edge. Our HPs scan edge to edge.
models may not work on newer computers.
a model involves size, resolution, cost and connection. You can buy
cheap or used scanners, but you may want to spend a little more for
better resolution. See the later discussion on this subject.
leaves the question - How do I do it? We will continue this on Page