A device that converts a texts or graphics hard copy of a document into its corresponding soft copy and saves it on the hard drive of a computer is called a document scanner.
Scanning analog or paper-based documents and converting them into their digital form is the current trend. It has come to this as paper production leads to excessive deforestation and increase in the global carbon dioxide content. Document scanners also enable the efficient utilization of office space minus the excessive paperwork accumulation!
Most of the time the scanned documents are stored on the hard drive of the user’s computer, but the recent trend is saving the same document on the cloud servers. Cloud storage enables on-demand recovery, retrieval and preservation of valuable or old documents.
Types of Document Scanners
Documents scanners have two distinct categories viz. desktop document scanners and portable document scanners. Both of these forms are discussed in detail as follows:
Desktop Document Scanners
Flatbed scanners and sheet-fed scanners mainly fall under the desktop document scanner category. These type of scanners are bulky and comes in substantial sizes. Sheet-fed scanners, as the name implies, are equipped with an ADF (or Automatic Document Feeder) that enables the scanner to continue scanning a both-sided document without human intervention. The ADF sequentially pulls the document for scanning purpose.
Flatbed scanners, on the other hand, are equipped with a glass top and a plastic top cover that needs to lift up by the user before placing the document. After putting the document on the glass surface, the analog document gets converted into a digital image and stored on the cloud/hard disk of the computer.
Portable Document Scanners
Pen scanner, foldable scanners, handheld scanner and wand scanners fall under the portable scanner category. These scanners are lightweight, compact, and portable enough for the ones who lead a mobile life!
All of these devices are capable of scanning documents either line by line or the entire page at a single go. These devices are equipped with hardware components that consume very low power. Therefore, these scanning devices can run on rechargeable battery packs that add to the appeal factor.
Advantages of Document Scanners
Document scanners are mainly used for digital capturing of text or photographic materials and converting the same into their respective digital formats. Photographs are mostly stored in.JPG extension while text materials can either be stored in PDF format or as an image file.
The scanning technology that is used in these portable devices are equipped with sophisticated algorithms. It enables the device to distinguish between variations in color temperature/contrast levels and produce high definition scans.
On top of that, most of these scanners come equipped with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software incorporated in their firmware. It enables these devices to digitally recognize, analyze and convert the analog textual material into digital soft copies.
The scanned documents are directly stored on the computer’s hard drive or in the cloud network has given the system is connected to the internet. It means that the user doesn’t need to manually back up and retrieve data everytime he/she scans a document.
Digitally storing files is a hassle-free way of managing a company’s records. File retrieval, editing and sending to its destination requires mere minutes instead of tedious and labor-intensive processes. On top of that, digital files are more secure, manageable and disaster-proof, given you store your data in the cloud.
Tips to Follow Before Digitizing Analog Files
Given below are some tips that need to be followed for seamless conversion of analog files into digital form:
Organize All Files
Proper organization of files is crucial before a stack of documents is fed to the ADF tray of a document scanner. All the files and documents need to be categorized and arranged as per your requirements.
Remove Paper Clips and Staples
To ensure that not a single page or document is misplaced or left out, it is crucial to remove any form of pins or staples from the document surface. If a pin or staple is left on the document, it can even damage the scanning device as well as the document.
Avoid using tape
Tape should be used only for sticking small documents like receipts to the surface of the scanner (flatbed scanner) to keep it in proper alignment. To ensure the quality of the scan, one should always tape each document on a particular side.
Experts recommend taping small documents like business cards, etc. on one side of a single white page before scanning the same. If it is not done, there is a high chance that the scanned document might appear to have low resolution and color depth.
Avoid Using Glue Sticks
Organizations that offer scanning services to conglomerates and business house advise against the use of glue sticks. As per their recommendation, glue often results in damaging the scanning device from the inside. On the other hand, the light source on the scanning device usually melts away the glue and result in internal damage.
Smoothen all Folds and Creases on the Document
Unfolding receipts or papers and transporting all documents in manila envelopes, cover files or in a single, properly stacked form is advised.
Avoid Multi Stapling of Documents
Multiple stapling of documents is an old habit of officials just to add a sense of security to their minds that their document won’t get misplaced. Word to the wise, stapling multiple times results in increasing the number of perforations on the surface of the document. It results in difficulties for the scanner to automatically pull the documents in case the scanner is equipped with ADF feature.
Avoid Using Dark Colored Paper for Printing
It is strongly advised to avoid choosing dark colored paper materials while printing a document. It is due to the fact that dark colored paper surfaces reflect very less light back to the document scanners sensors. For this particular reason, the overall quality, PPI ratio and resolution of the scanned document drop drastically resulting in a dull output!