How Does a Scanner Work?

By Julie Boehlke

How Does a Scanner Work?

There are four different types of scanners: flatbed, sheet-fed, hand-held and drum. The most popular scanner that is used with a personal computer is the flatbed scanner. To begin a scan, a document or item is typically placed on a glass surface and the cover is then closed to prevent damage to the lens. The scanner scans the document and creates a duplicated image and then saves it in a folder on the laptop or personal computer. Some scanners offer software programs that allow users to manipulate or change features on the document, such as reduce the contrast, adjust the color and even merge documents.

A computer scanner is typically connected to a PC or laptop so that the scanned items can be transferred to the user's desktop, sent to another recipient via email or even printed off and duplicated. Many times a user may need a page from a manual or a recipe copied, so by scanning the item, they can easily share this information with others. Some scanners are portable and can be utilized in any location.

If the scanner is attached to a printer, it can simply scan the image and then make the desired amount of copies. If the scanner is by itself, it can be attached to a computer via a USB cord and the signal through the cord will send the scanned material to the desktop. If a high resolution printer is set up to receive the scanned document from the scanner or the computer, it will print off documents and items that were scanned just the same as if it were to be copied from a copy machine. Scanners can also scan in color so that the user can receive the added benefit of having professional, high-quality image results.