How to Scan a Long Document

With the technology that we have today, difficult chores can be made simple and simple chores can become even easier. If you work in an office, especially in a corporate setup, there are a lot of tasks that are usually needed to be accomplished on a daily basis. One of the most common tasks is scanning.

Most people know how to use scanners to scan images and most also know how to scan a long document, but in case scanning is new to you, you can find below some steps to get you started.

Before anything else, let us first talk about some significant information about scanning. How did it begin? What equipment do you need to scan a document or an image? Why do you need a scanner? Let us find out by looking back at a brief history of scanning.

How Scanning Began

Early telephotography and fax input devices can be considered as the inspiration of modern day scanners. One early form of facsimile or fax is the pantelegraph which transmits over normal telegraph lines. It was developed by Giovanni Caselli and was used commercially in the 1860’s. It was used to scan and reproduce and can also transmit handwriting, and other images with an area of up to 150 x 100 millimeters.

In 1913, Edouard Belin invented the Belinograph which scanned using a photocell and transmitted the images through ordinary phone lines. News agencies used it from the 1920’s to the mid 1990’s.

The concept of telephotography is one of the basis of modern scanners. In the 1990’s, modern computer scanners came into their own and even then, it has become popular due to its capabilities and continuous development.

Uses of a Scanner

The scanner is indeed one of the most useful tools, whether at home or in the office. It is very easy to use and has a lot of functions too. It can be used to eliminate paper in the workplace as you can scan your documents and save them on your computer instead of on your desk or in a file drawer.

Keeping documents electronically is more practical, especially for those which do not have signatures on them. Keeping files in an online storage also keep your documents safe from fire, flood, and other disasters.

It can also be used to preserve old photographs which are in danger of fading because of age. Digitize your old photos so you can easily access them through your computer or send them over to relatives and friends via email or social media.

Another great feature of a scanner is its optical character recognition software which can convert characters into text. You just have to scan the part of the document that you want to be converted and then save.

How to Use a Scanner

First, you have to make sure that the scanner is plugged into your computer and the associated software is already installed. The software should come with the scanner and should be very straightforward. Just follow the instructions provided in the manual and it will be good to go.

Lift the lid or cover of your scanner, just like a smaller version of a copying machine and you will see the glass scanning surface. Place the document that you want to scan facing down onto the glass because the camera located below needs to properly see the image.

Open your scanning software and adjust the settings, wherever necessary. If it is a text document, it can be scanned in black and white. For images though, you might want to check and experiment as different softwares vary.

Oftentimes, the settings need to be changed to get the best scanned image. Of course, high quality scans also mean larger files so you should take that into consideration. Scan only to the quality that you need. If the texts on the document is clearly written or printed out, you can scan it using low quality and it will still look great.

Once the settings have been adjusted to your preference, click the scan button to begin the process. Once the item is scanned, you will have another chance to make further adjustments if necessary. You can change the orientation of the image or any other adjustment before saving the file.

Also, pay attention to the file format that the document saves in. It can be a PDF file, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, or others. You can choose your preferred file format to ensure that you will not have any problems accessing it later on.

Scanning Long Documents

Most scanners only have a glass scanning surface with the size of a short bond paper. So what should you do if you need to scan a legal sized document?

Depending on the software on your computer, there are ways to make scanning long documents easier and manageable. One way is using Control Center on a Macintosh or Windows PC. Make sure that the setting for 2-sided scanning and Aut Deskew is turned off. Once these are off, Long Paper selections will appear in the drop down box. Then, you may choose your preferred long paper setting, either narrow width or normal width.

If you are using HP, you can also enable long page scans in the Smart Document Scan Software profile. You can select ‘Custom’ in the page size drop down list and then type the actual dimensions that you need, up to a maximum of 11.8 inches x 34 inches in the width and height boxes.

Again, depending on the software that you use, there may be other ways to scan long documents so checking the manual can also help.


Scanning is definitely one of the most useful tools at home and in the office. Even with the advent and popularity of digital cameras, there are still people who prefer using a scanner for quality and convenience. It is also very easy to use as you can learn how to scan images and how to scan a long document even if you are not too techie.

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