How to Choose Scanner Resolution

by Contributor

How to Choose Scanner Resolution. Scanners are the critical link between the non-digital and the digital world. Any picture or document can be turned into a digital format with a scanner. When looking for a scanner, you must make sure you get one good enough to do what you need it to do. But, you also should avoid overpaying for features you will not use. The first thing to look at is resolution.


Understand what scanner resolution is. Scanner resolution is measured by two numbers. The first number is the number of sensors the scanner uses to capture the image. The second number is the number of points the scanner stops at. The two numbers are usually the same.


Look for a high first number. Because the first number measures the number of sensors, it's the more important number. Some scanners will advertise a resolution of 1200 by 2400, but these scanners do not necessarily produce a higher quality image than a scanner with a resolution of 1200 by 1200.


Consider the resolution of your printer before buying a scanner. If you're scanning images primarily to print them, note the resolution of your printer. Purchasing a scanner with a higher resolution than your printer is a waste because the quality of your images will be limited by your printer.


Settle for a 300 by 300 resolution scanner for text. If you only need to capture text with you scanner, you can save some money and get a low-end scanner with a low resolution.


Move up to a 600 by 600 resolution scanner for most image applications. While more expensive scanners offer resolutions of 1200 by 1200 or 2400 by 2400, a resolution of 600 by 600 is adequate for capturing images for quality 4 by 6 or 5 by 7 prints.


Get a 1200 by 1200 or greater scanner only if you need to capture large images. Resolutions this high are not necessary unless you need to print 8 by 10 or larger images.

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