A Scanner is machine which recognizes optical characters. It has a computer processor, a scan head and an output device. The scan head is used to read images which in turn is translated by the computer and produced in a usable form. For example, a scanner is used to read invoices that have been returned with the payment checks by a direct-mail marketer. The code on the invoice is picked up by the scanner that indicates how much was owed and which customer is paying.
It is a multipurpose tool that is used in the office. It reads the images as thousands of individual pixels or dots. The scanner does all this with the help of scanning software. The file which has the images then can be used to enlarge, reduce or store databases. It can also be transferred into an excel worksheet or a word document.
Scanners like digital cameras help the user convert slides and three-dimensional objects into files that can be posted on the internet, pasted into a brochure or inserted into a presentation. These images can be manipulated to fit in accordance to the space and size required.
A scanner can automatically convert information to digital files using optical character recognition software, so instead of giving money to someone to manually enter reams of data into the computer, we can use the scanner. A scanner can also help to create electronic filing cabinets for expense reports to invoice.
There are three main types of scanners which are used in the office. They are Flatbed Scanner which is particularly useful when required to scan more than one page of a document. Instead of copying each page individually pages from a book can easily be scanned. Sheet fed Scanner is very much like a fax machine. It can easily be adjusted between the keyboard and monitor as it is only a couple of inches deep. Lastly the Slide Scanner can only scan slides, though there are some new models in the market that can handle negative strips also.
There are scanners which are capable of reading preprinted specific fonts in alphanumeric characters, hand-printed letters or symbols or barcodes. Encoders are payment scanners. Document scanners are used to enter responses to direct-mail promotions that can read at speeds of 18,000 documents per hour. In order to read bar-coded information such as stock number and price, Wand scanners are used. As barcodes are used prices can be altered without doing any alteration with the price tags. This can be done merely by changing the instructions in the computer which interprets the barcodes.
Almost all the scanners can be connected by SCSI, USB, or ports that are parallel. The only difference amongst them is the speed at which they work. Common parallel ports are a little slower than the SCSI and USB ports. An automatic document feeder is of great importance for large data entry projects. All scanners come along with scanning software of different types.
The package usually has a color calibration software, driver program, and applications like image-editing programs or OCR. Cross checking the version of the software is also very important as sometimes we are forced to upgrade the software in order to use it to its utmost capacity. If it has the right software a scanner can also be used as a fax machine or a Xerox machine.
Buying a scanner does not hurt the pocket much, still people are going in for other equipments to keep in the office. A scanner can do much more than just scan a photograph, but is not being used to its full capability.