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How do flatbed scanners work

Flatbed scanners are incredible if you have a great deal of scanning to do. If your company is constantly scanning piles of reports, you can possibly look at a photocopy service to help you find the right document scanning solutions.

In some ways, flatbed scanners operate similarly to older copiers. You place the document face down on the scanning surface and close the cover. The scanner then takes a picture of the document and sends it to the computer.

Flatbed scanners are great for everyday office use. With so many brands to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which flatbed scanner to choose.

Here is a list of what you should be looking for to help you.

How does a flatbed scanner work?

It might shock you to discover that scanners have been around for many years – but with advancements over the past few years, scanning quality and functionality have increased rapidly while making it more affordable in the home as well as in the office.

So how does a flatbed scanner work?

In terms of home and office computing, a document scanner is simply a device that can scan and convert photos or paper documents into digital format. It consists of a glass scan bed (or panel).



There is either a bright light to illuminate the glass and a moving optical detector to scan the image – or a moving set of red, green, and blue LEDs, illuminated by a diode to collect light.

How to use the flatbed scanner

When the user wants to scan, the user raises the hinged cover of the scanner and places the document to be scanned face down on the glass scanning bed, and puts an opaque cover over it to exclude the ambient light, ready for the image sensor and the light source to pass under it.

The image is visible to the detector only because of the light it reflects – transparent images require special lighting from the top side. Once the image or document is scanned, the image is sent from the flatbed scanner to the connected computer. This is then displayed on the display screen, ready for saving, editing, emailing, or printing.

How to choose a flatbed scanner

If you are looking for a scanner for use at work or home – you first need to know what you want to use your scanned photos and documents. If you plan to print or display high-quality images from high-quality scans or photographs and you don’t need to lose detail, you will need a flatbed scanner with high colour depth (48 bits or higher) and high resolution (9600 dpi or higher).

If you plan to archive your scanned text documents or add scanned images to electronic documents and presentations, choose a scanner with a lower colour depth (24 bits or less) and a lower resolution (about 600 dpi). It will produce satisfactory scans.

Today’s scanners also come with various features to make the scanning experience easier and simpler – they have features like no warm-up times, 3-second previews, 1-second scanning, and auto-scanning. Others also have built-in movie converters and scan to email and searchable PDF files.

If you need this type of job, be sure to find one that works for you.

Advantages of a flatbed scanner

There are many advantages to choosing a flatbed scanner for work or home. Firstly, with dual-hinged covers, the scanners allow you to scan documents, books thicker, and even 3D objects. Second, flatbed scanners allow you to set the document correctly via visual markers.

Also, with built-in film and negatives holders, memories of yesteryear can be scanned in a modern digital format – and by removing the cover, it can function as an improvised digital camera by taking a picture of a 3D object.

Disadvantages of a flatbed scanner

Flatbed scanners have two major drawbacks. Firstly, if you plan to scan many documents since each scan has to be done individually, this may take time – but a paper-based scanner is the recommended alternative. Some scanners can also be quite large – especially A3 models – but they can easily be stored on their side because they are usually skinny.

The flatbed scanner’s death was announced very early with the digital camera revolution – especially since today’s scanners have developed much higher colour depths and resolutions. Its ability to digitize 35mm films and negatives and scan documents for email has made the flatbed scanner more important in the modern home and office than ever before.