Scanning Technologies Ltd
Turning your paper mountains into molehills

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Tel. 01464-851127


Buying guide

Glossary of terms

Apologies if we are teaching anyone to suck eggs.

Below are some key terms (or technobabble) that will help in identifying the correct scanner for your requirements.  Bottom line is that if you are unsure of any specific details, please ring / email and we will attempt to provide you a more complete explanation.

Simplex (single-sided).  Simplex scanners only scan one side of the document.

Duplex (double-sided).  A duplex scanner will scan both sides of the document simultaneously. Most duplex scanners allow you to set it to skip blank pages, therefore you can leave the duplex setting turned on and it will simply ignore blank pages.

Resolution (dpi).  This describes the image quality in terms of dots per square inch.  Most archival scanning tends to be carried out at 200dpi (if you need to convert the image to text, it is common to increase the resolution to 300dpi).  

Pages per minute (ppm).  The pages per minute (ppm) figure quoted by the manufacturers states approximately how many sheets will be scanned during one minute.  Most of the manufacturers base this speed rating on scanning of an A4 page in black and white at 200dpi.

Images per minute (ipm).  Duplex scanners will usually scan twice as many images as they do pages as they are scanning both sides simultaneously.

Blank page removal.  Most duplex scanners allow you select an option to skip blank pages. This allows you to leave the duplex setting turned on and it will simply ignore blank (reverse side) pages.  A note of caution - Use with care as some of these tools as not particularly sophisticated.

Automatic document feeder (ADF).  A scanner with an ADF (or hopper) can be loaded with multiple sheets and left scanning. Works well for pristine cut sheet material but before taking this approach, you should carry out a careful assessment of your requirements.

Drivers (TWAIN/ISIS etc.).  Most scanners are TWAIN and ISIS compatible. A scanner with TWAIN / ISIS capability will work with most scanning software products on the market, however some cheaper scanners (eg. Fujitsu ScanSnap product) are not TWAIN / ISIS compatible and will only work with the software provided.

Double feed detection.  Double feed detection is a feature offered by many scanners which will alert the user if more than one sheet is scanned at the same time. Most scanners with this feature will either stop scanning or make an audible noise to warn you. There are several ways in which a scanner can determine if a double feed has occurred - the most popular is using ultra sound to detect more than one sheet.

Warranties.  All scanners have a full manufacturer’s UK warranty.  Most of the manufacturers provide a 12 month on-site or swap-out warranty.  The former usually provides an engineer to site within 3-5 days (faster for the more expensive scanners); the latter is usually the standard for cheaper scanners and involves the manufacturer sending a replacement unit and collecting the faulty device.  All scanners can be provided with extended warranty options to reflect your specific requirements.

Network scanners.  Most of the scanners we supply need to be connected to a PC via a USB-2 or USB-3 cable (there are now very few that use FireWire or SCSI controllers). Once connected to the PC, their functionality is then controlled by the host PC. Once documents are scanned they can then be emailed to another pc or saved on a shared drive across your network.  There are, however, a few scanners that can be connected directly to a network (eg. Kodak ScanStation 700) and a few products that will convert desktop scanners to a network enabled device).