What are the different types of Scanners and their Uses? 

A scanner is a general term for tools and services focused on scanning something. Its purpose varies depending on the type of the exact scanner. That’s why it may be used not only in the IT industry but also in other spheres of life. For instance, in stores, offices, production, hospitals, and so on. 

Anyway, such an instrument has much more functions than most individuals expect. There are different types of scanners that may be useful for people at work and school, for personal needs and domestic tasks, etc. Let’s find out more about this tool and the categories of scanners. 

The definition of a computer scanner

Nowadays the term “scanner” is mostly used with an attachment “computer”. It allows us to avoid healthcare and other fields that use scanners for other meanings. For instance, MRI is a medical machine that scans the human body to create detailed images of organs. At the same time, an attachment “computer” covers all the widespread types of scanners. 

A computer scanner is an input device that transforms something from a physical condition to a digital format. As a result, the object will be converted into a set of pixels and be readable on any electronic gadget that is able to display pixel content. It could be of different sizes and functions as well. 

People use electronic scanners more often than they think. For instance, a real estate agent scans property documents, a doctor scans patient records, a bank employee scans a client’s ID, and so on. There are many examples of how modern scanners simplify our job duties and improve our lives. 

Why with such a wide usage and the long list of benefits we should pay much attention to the computer scanners classifications. Let’s find out more about the different types of scanner apps and devices. 

Flatbed scanners

A flatbed scanner is the most standard type you have definitely seen in every office. The most popular materials for such machines are documents, journals, photos, thin books, etc. A scanner uses optical lights to capture the file section by section to create its digital copy. You need to place a document on a glass bed and press the button to start the scanning process. repeat these actions till you make copies of all pages you need. 

Mobile scanners

Mobile scanners mean software installed on smartphones to make a person more productive by having only one lightweight application on the iPhone. A scanner app for documents is meant to manage different files. For instance, the popular iPhone scanning software is capable of scanning docs on your smartphone, saving files as PDF, JPEG, text, and so on. It also allows measuring the length and area, identifying the same objects automatically, and helping you find anything you need. 

Code Scanners

Such scanners scan unusual content. They aren’t compatible with typical paper documents but are able to recognize QR Codes and Barcodes. These elements look like a set of bars, lines, squares, and spaces. This is the way QT technology generates any type of content inside codes, for instance, links, images, texts, videos, audios, etc. As a result, QR Scanners differ from other examples but they are extremely popular nowadays including as mobile software. 


If you need to make many copies of papers then scanning sheets on a flatbed scanner is a very bad idea. It will make you place a new sheet many times before you can finish the work. In such a case, experts recommend using an automated document feeder. This type of machine has a special section (a feeder) to make scans faster. So place enough papers in a feeder, run the process, and wait while a machine ends its job. 

Overhead scanners

Such machines are created to scan elements that aren’t flat. They include one or several digital cameras so a user may work with shaped materials. Among them may be big books, stone carvings, thick journals, manuscripts, etc. The final content will be saved to the computer’s memory so a user can work with it later. 

Handheld scanners

Traditional flatbed scanners and automated document feeders aren’t portable at all. So if you need to have a classic machine by hand then pay attention to the handheld models. It makes a copy of a file you need by an individual pressing a button. Then the digital copy of the document will be stored on a flashcard till you manage it. Millennials may think that a handheld scanner is a “parent” of an iPhone or another smartphone that can capture any image with one click of a camera. 

As you may understand, this is not a full list of available types of scanner. There are other machines like negative scanners, large format scanners, drum scanners, and so on. But now you know the names and main particularities of the most popular ones. 

One Comment

  1. I’m glad you wrote this post! I’ve been wondering about scanners for a while now and I’m glad you clarified the different types and their uses.

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