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What Is a Scanner? We’re Glad You Asked.

What does a scanner do? It scans physical images, documents, and other objects and turns them into digital copies. Click here to learn more about scanning.

A scanner is an input device that converts copies of physical objects into digital files. It uploads these images or documents to computers and allows users to view and edit them. 

Scanners are must-haves in the office. They turn documents into digital files, removing the need for physical copies. 

Investing in high-quality office equipment, such as a scanner for your organization, improves workplace efficiency by lessening the downtime when equipment breaks or has issues. We’re right there with our clients as their managed printer services (MPS) partner handling these issues so they can focus on work and business. 

What Does a Scanner Do?

Different types of scanners capture documents, images, and other objects (if a 3D scanner). This is done with the light source and photosensitive sensor embedded within. 

Scanning begins when the button on the machine is pressed (yes, that simple!), triggering the light source to shine on the documents and the sensor to capture the reflected light. The sensor converts the captured light into a digital image of the scanned document. 

Most scanners connect to a computer with scanner software to receive the copied images. Traditionally, these input devices use cords that easily plug into a computer’s ports, but modern scanners can now connect via Bluetooth or wireless features.

A person using a portable scanner to scan a document

Image source: Canva

Different Types of Scanners

If you want to learn more about what is a computer scanner, this section will tell you everything you need to know. Most businesses use flatbed, sheetfed, or handheld scanners. 

Types of Scanners
Flatbed Scanner Flatbed scanners are the most common type used in offices. It has a flat surface to place documents for scanning, hence the name flatbed.
Sheetfed Scanner Sheetfed scanners scan one sheet of paper at a time only (so no magazine pages, for example) and have automatic document feeders to place documents meant for scanning.
Drum Scanner Drum scanners scan documents with a drum to hasten the process. It delivers the best scanning resolution because it uses a photomultiplier tube, which is highly light-sensitive.
Handheld Scanner Handheld or portable scanners are designed to scan files on the go. Users have to hover the scanner above the document to start scanning.
3D Scanner This modern scanner illuminates a physical object and gathers its distance point measurements. The data gathered will be converted into a virtual 3D object.

Uses and Applications of Scanners

To better answer your “what is a computer scanner” question, let’s review their uses and applications. At Intergr8, we work with these industries to help manage their business document needs. Below are some of the areas we assist as an MPS.


Businesses like law firms and accounting companies use scanners to make copies of legal agreements, data sheets, client breakdowns, pamphlets, and more. Educational institutions also benefit from document scanners. It allows students, professors, and staff to copy text and images from books, journals, and other materials.

Read more: How Managed Print Services Solve A School’s Printing Issues

Digital Archiving

Businesses across industries are now choosing to digitize physical documents to free up space in the office and make data accessible for everyone. They use scanners to convert physical documents into digital files. For instance, hospitals and clinics benefit from digitizing patient records because users can retrieve digital files as needed and reduce time spent on filing. 

Read more: Why Is Digital Transformation Important for Businesses? 

A person holding a tablet with paper icons floating on top of it

Image Source: Canva

Photo Sharing

If you have hard copies of images, you can use a scanner to convert them into digital files. This process makes sharing scanned images easier. Some modern photo scanners can also scan negative films and present the true colours of an image.

Realtors, architects, and engineers benefit from this feature because they can create digital copies of blueprints and building masterplans. These digital documents allow professionals to present and communicate with clients online without hiccups.

Optical Character Recognition

Modern scanners have optical character recognition (OCR) technology, which converts printed or handwritten text into editable digital format. The scanner extracts and processes information, which assists in data searching, filing, and retrieval. This process makes digitizing quicker and more convenient, something many businesses can benefit from. 

A man scanning a document with a phone through an optical scanner app

Image Source: Shutterstock

Signature Scanning

Handheld scanners can also come with signature or handwriting scanning capabilities. Banks and financial institutions can secure funds with these devices allowing them to authenticate permissions and prevent fraudulent transactions. Government facilities can also confirm identities a lot quicker by scanning signatures.

Shop for Reliable Scanners at Integr8

Scanners make document processing easier, quicker, and cheaper as there’s no need to deliver or store physical copies. With just one device, you can digitize and send out important files, streamlining your business processes.

Integr8 can simplify and enhance your office productivity. We offer the best scanners that have the latest technology to make digitizing and filing business documents more efficient. Know that you can find the best workspace solutions in our catalogue of state-of-the-art office devices.

Answering “what does a scanner do?” is just the start. We’re a managed print services company that can optiomize and manage your organizations document output. Contact us today to discuss optimizing your office operations with our MPS services.

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