Scanning is an essential in today’s office and there are many choices in single-purpose scanners and multifunction printers (MFPs), which copy, scan, fax and print. The most difficult aspect of buying a scanner or MFP is selecting the right one to fit the needs of your business.
Even if you confine the discussion of scanners to “office use”, small and mid-sized businesses have many and varied needs which would make one scanner or multifunction printer a better fit over another. In this first in a series of articles on how to get the most out of scanning, I’ll identify a few basic office needs and demonstrate what to look for to fit your business.
Let’s start with a quick definition. Basic office documents are mostly text with print on one side of a standard letter-size page. If you’re a single user who infrequently scans one page at a time then you’re in a fortunate position, an entry-level product with a flat bed scanner will likely meet your needs.
If you are scanning 3 to 15 pages at a time, look for a product with an automatic document feeder or ADF. This will significantly cut down on the time you spend standing at the scanner or multifunction printer. Many customers tend to look only at the print speed of an MFP. However, if you’re looking to scan more than three pages at any one time, consider the scan speed as well. You can easily choose the wrong product if you are doing a lot of scanning and don’t consider this point. If you purchase a scanner that’s too slow you’re bound to get frustrated. Select a product that will keep your office productive.
Are a lot of your documents double-sided? If so, you’ll be happiest with a product that has an ADF which supports two-sided scanning. This is sometimes referred to as a DADF or duplex scanner. And if you scan two-sided documents in large volumes, be sure to look for an ADF with two light sources or dual lamps. Generally this will more than double the scan speed.
Have a question on scanning? Include it in the comments below and check back in January for my next post in this series where I will cover scan file size.