Scanner Basics

Below is some basic information about scanners…

Q.  What is a Scanner?  

A.  Scanner is an image acquisition device connected to the computer, which captures either an image of a text document or a picture and transfers it into bits of information, which a computer can understand and manipulate.  

Q. What are the different types of scanners available?  

A. There are three types of scanners:

  1. Drum scanner
  2. Flat-bed scanner
  3. Handheld scanner

Q. What is a drum scanner?  

A. A drum scanner is an optical input device that mounts original images on a revolving cylinder for scanning.

Q. What is a flat-bed scanner?

A. Any scanner that incorporates a flat transparent plate, on which original images are placed for scanning, is a flat-bed scanner. The scanning process is linear rather than rotational. 

Q. What is a hand-held scanner?

A. A hand-held scanner is a portable, low-cost scanner which is plugged directly into the computer’s printer port, as opposed to the SCSI port. To scan a document, the scanner is scrolled over the document by hand.

Q. What is scanning?

A. Scanning an image is like a copier copying an image. The major difference is that the output of scanning is an electronic file which can be edited by a software and stored in a disk.

Q. How does a scanner work?

A. The scanner uses a light source, typically a cold cathode lamp to illuminate the scanned object. The light is then reflected off the object and into Charged Coupled Device (CCD). The Charged Coupled Device collects the information, and through a series of electronic devices converts the analog signal into a series of digital signals which can then be read and processed by a computer.

Q. What can you do with a scanner?

A. A scanner is useful in several ways:

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) – You can convert text-based document images into text that can be edited by a word-processing software. 
  • Enrich your presentations and documents by adding images. 
  • Convert hard-copy images or documents into a fax format for faxing or for record purposes. 
  • Add scanned images to your e-mail to enrich your content.

Now that you know the basics of document scanning, it’s time to check out the glossary of terms used in the world of document scanners.


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