Have you got a scanner but aren’t sure what to use it for? Not sure if you need a scanner or not? Then this article is for you. Scanners have loads of different uses, some of which you might not have thought of before. If that’s the case, then you’re in the right place. Not only are we going to tell you why a scanner is a great addition to your home technology lineup, we’ll also tell you how they work.
Knowing how things work in your home is important. More and more people are installing technology these days without really knowing why or what it does. By finding out the answer to the question, “how does a scanner work”, you’ll be able to understand the technology more and hopefully make better use of it. Finding out how stuff works could also make it easier to repair, but hopefully that won’t be necessary.
What is a scanner?
A scanner is a piece of equipment that copies or takes pictures of other documents. It can be used to record and store anything that’s on a single piece of paper or a thin layer or something else. You can get home scanners as well as larger ones for the office.
The benefits of using a scanner
Scanners actually have a number of different benefits that you can make the most of. Let’s have a look at some of them:
Backing up documents and keeping them secure
Security is important, especially if you’ve got important documents. Having multiple copies is normally a good idea. So you can try scanning them in to store on your computer so that you’ve got a digital copy of important documents, or you can print them out so that you’ve got multiple hard copies.
Aside from backing up important documents to keep secure, a scanner is great for copying documents. Instead of having a separate photocopier, scanners will do a good job by themselves.
If you’ve got some ideas about scanning certain things and then using Photoshop or other software to get creative, then you’ll obviously need a scanner to get creative. Thinking of scanning some old Christmas cards and giving them a new lease of life? Now you can.
How to find the right scanner for you
If you’ve got this far, you probably either already have a scanner or really want to get one soon. If you’re still on the lookout for a good scanner, then check out this advice:
Don’t buy one in the first shop you go into. Try different stores and get a feel for them. Try scanning something if you can and see how easy the process is, as well as how good the results are (and how long it takes).
Look for reviews online
While store assistants can be helpful, online reviews will draw from thousands of different people just like you. That means you can get aggregate scores or specific advice for the sort of things you want to use a scanner for. Online reviews make it much easier to find the best scanner for you.
Look for special offers
Scanners have come down a lot in price over the last few decades. That means you can afford quite a high-tech solution in your home at a reasonable price. But you still don’t want to spend much, so have a look around for some special offers.
Look for compatibility
Not every scanner works with every computer. While newer ones generally have more compatibility, you’ll want to make sure your scanner works with the type of computer you’ve got, especially if you’re a Mac user or run a different operating system to the common ones.
Check it has the right features
If you’ve got specific needs for your scanner, make sure the one you pick can do the job.
How does a scanner work?
If you’ve been reading this article to try and find out exactly how does a scanner work, then let’s get to it. Here’s how scanners work:
Firstly, you need to be aware that there are a few different types of scanners. These include sheet fed-scanners where you feed the paper through the top, handheld scanners or drum scanners which are more common in the publishing industry. However, for this article we’re mainly going to look at how flatbed scanners work. A flatbed scanner is the most common type of household scanner, and probably what you’ve already got. So how do they work?
To scan an image on a flatbed scanner, simply place it face-down on the glass panel and close the lid. Make sure you’ve got a scanner that’s compatible with your computer and that you have installed the drivers and software. Some of this software will help guide you through the process and will store the images you take for later. You might be able to find a scanner that doesn’t need a computer hooked up to it, and simply outputs the images to a memory stick, but most will be fixed to your computer (Windows, Mac or otherwise).
After you’ve closed the lid and told the machine to scan (either by clicking on the software on your computer or pressing a button on the scanner itself), a lamp behind the glass panel will light up the document. In newer scanners this will normally be a CCFL or xenon lamp. The scan head will then move across the document to record the image. Don’t open the lid or move the scanner while this is happening.
Some scanners will pass over the document three times to get a more accurate and detailed image. The image will then be stored in a file, either as a document or graphic image, depending on what you selected at the start. The whole process shouldn’t take more than a minute. You’re then free to do what you want with the image you created, or can scan something else if you’ve got multiple pages or documents.
Hopefully, you now know how a scanner works. Now you can start playing with one and enjoying having more high-tech capabilities in your home or office.