INFO: What is Scanning

Scanning is the process of converting images or documents into an electronic format. Once in a digital format you can edit, store, and share it with friends, family, or colleagues.

Many of us are familiar with digital cameras that don't require film but save photo information as data. What can you do about the old photos you have from before digital cameras, or documents you want to save on the computer? Each of these can be saved into a computer format through scanning. All-In-One printers have the ability to scan photos, documents, or any other kind of document you may want to put into a computer.

Scanners are like a combination copy machine and digital camera. You place the picture or document on the glass, close the lid, and when you start the scan, a light bar moves across the item, and the reflected light is captured. In a very basic sense, the capture process works very much like a digital camera; the reflected light is captured by a CCD (charge coupled device) converted into electrical charges, and these charges create the digital file that is saved to your computer.

When scanning, you have more control over the output of the image than you do with a camera. You can ask the scanner to try and identify the text on a paper, so you can edit or change the document.  This is called Optical Character Recognition or OCR. You can ask the scanner to make an exact copy of the image point by point without any compression. This is called a TIFF image, (Tagged Image File Format). You can ask the Scanner to save the image in a compressed format often called "JPG" or "JPEG". You can also ask for the output to be in the popular Adobe™ PDF format for documents. Each of these formats lets you do different things with the scanned image.

Here is a table to help you with common uses:
Use Object Scan type Scan Size
Email Photo JPG 640x480 or small
High quality print Photo TIFF Maximum
Document for email Letter Adobe™ PDF Medium or light
Document for editing Printed instructions OCR (character recognition) default