Scanner buying tips

Hardware tips -> Scanner buying tips

Documents and pictures can be converted into digital images using scanners. The price of scanners have tremendously fallen and is now affordable for any household. Therefore many would like to know about buying a scanner. MFD (Multi Function Device) are also available which integrates scanning, faxing and printing facilities all in one device. This report is about the scanner and its features.

Scanners are ranging from $100 to $1000. There are many models available both for office use as well as for home use.

How much resolution is needed for my scanner?

1. If you just need to scan documents or images occasionally and you are not too much concerned about high quality then a cheap low resolution scanner such as 600 dpi(dots per inch) can be selected.
2. If you need to scan documents from many different media and you are going to use it commercially and need many additional features then a scanner with medium resolution such as 1200 dpi will be suitable for you.
3. If you have to scan things like 'negative's or you would like to use the OCR feature then you have to buy a high resolution scanner such as 2400 dpi

Some tips to buy the right scanner
  1. The price of the scanner is directly proportional to the optical resolution of the scanner. For example a scanner with 1200x600 resolution will be cheaper than 1200x2400 and so on.
  2. Also check the 'color depth' of the scanner. A 36 bit color depth scanners are now obsolete. 42 bit and 48 bit scanners are mostly available. It is better to choose a scanner with 48 bit color depth.
  3. Check which PORT the scanner supports. Most of the modern scanners use USB. Some scanners have SCSI interface. So before you buy the scanner check whether your computer has USB port to connect the scanner.
  4. Check that the scanner comes with all the required cables to connect to the computer
  5. Check whether 'onsite support' is provided. If not you may have to carry the scanner to the dealer if it doesn't work.
  6. If your main intention of buying a scanner is to scan from books (big) then check whether the top cover can be detached or there is a provision to lift the cover to 3 inches atleast.
  7. If you would like to scan a document, import it to MS Word and then edit the document then you need the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software. So check whether the scanner comes with the OCR software CD. Some scanners do not come with this software. If you would like to have this then choose a scanner that does come with the CD.
  8. If you would like to scan 'negatives' then you need to buy a 'Transparence Adapter'. See whether you can connect this to the scanner.
  9. If you would like to scan a large collection of documents automatically without manual intervention then you need to buy the 'Automatic Document Feeder' (ADF). See that the scanner you choose supports this so that the ADF can be connected to your scanner.

Control buttons in a scanner

There are many buttons in a scanner. FAX, Print/COpy, Email, OCR, CD an Web are some of the buttons. Your scanner may or maynot hav all of these buttons. Let us see what are these buttons for.

  1. If you would like to scan a document and at the same time FAX the document to a FAX number then 'Scan to FAX' can be used. You need not have a separate FAX machine.
  2. If you need to scan and at the same time print the document or save a copy of the document as a file in your computer then the 'Scan to Print/Copy' button can be used.
  3. 'Scan to email' is used to scan and send the document to any email address. On pressing this button your favourite email client such as 'outlook' will start and the scanned document will be attached to the email. You just need to enter the email address and send.
  4. 'Scan to OCR' is used to scan the document and open it in your OCR software to edit.
  5. The same goes for 'scan to cd' to write the scanned document to a CD and 'Scan to Web' is used to publish to a website after scanning.

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