Document Imaging & Scanning Part 1 of 3: Get the Terminology Right

Microdea 2020-10-29 14:00:00
Microdea on Oct 29 2020

Shedding some light on the most common terms associated with document imagingSo you have decided to embrace document imaging! Congratulations! 

You will come to see that there are many different options available to you as you venture down the path of evaluating scanning hardware and it can be quite confusing. Don’t worry, you are not alone.  You are going to read hardware specification sheets that have, at first glance, confusing terminology such as ADF, DPI, DUPLEX, SIMPLEX, PPM, and FLATBED.  These are all terms used in the document scanning hardware industry to identify scanning speeds, capacities, image qualities and abilities to scan documents single or double sided.

Let's break it down and define these terms:

ADF – Auto Document Feeder. This refers to the tray that holds the pile of paper you want to scan. Instead of loading a scanner one page at a time (who wants to do that?) the ADF capacity indicates how many pieces of paper you can load into the scanner’s feeding tray all at once. Please keep in mind that overloading the tray beyond its rated capacity will likely cause documents to jam and more than one document to be pulled into the scanner. Make sure you evaluate how many pieces of paper you want to scan in each session and ensure you select a model with a suitable ADF capacity.

ANNOTATIONS -  The edits, updates or removal of content from a document. These are overlaid the document and written in a different font and/or colour to make it easy for readers to recognize that changes have been made. 

BAR CODE - A unique combination of lines or pixels that can be read by an optical scanner. This allows documents to be indexed faster for workflows and retrieval. 

DPI – Dots Per Inch. DPI is a measure of resolution used when converting paper to electronic images through your scanner. For printed text or images, the more dots per inch, the higher the resolution and image clarity. A common scanning DPI falls between 200 x 200 and 300 x 300. Though many scanners can scan at higher DPI ie. 400 x 400 and 500 x 500 please keep in mind that the higher the DPI, the larger the electronic image file size will be and could impact the amount of hard disk space your imaging server will require to store the images.

DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT - A system or software used to make storing, retrieving, and routing various types of documents more efficient. 

DUPLEX - Duplex scanning is a feature that allows the automatic scanning of a sheet of paper on both sides. Devices without this capability can only scan a single side of a sheet of paper at a time.

SIMPLEX – Simplex scanning is a feature that allows the automatic scanning of a sheet of paper on one side only. Some devices offer DUPLEX scanning allowing you to scan a sheet of paper on both sides at the same time.

OCR- This stands for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and is a technology that converts non-digital or analog text into a digital format. 

PPM - Pages Per Minute. PPM is used to measure the scanning speed of the scanner under a certain configuration. Most scanners include a PPM rating for both black and color scanned images. These speed measurements are typically listed in the printer's technical specifications. While a higher pages per minute rating does indicate a faster scanning speed, this measurement can be misleading. This is because manufacturers measure the maximum PPM in the fastest scanning mode, which provides for the lowest image quality.

FLATBED – similar to a photocopier, this is a scanner that provides a flat glass surface to hold pages of paper, books and other objects for scanning. The scan head is moved under the glass across the page. These types of scanners are very helpful when needing to image damaged paper or odd sized documents that will not go through the ADF.

Before you pick the right scanner, you should consider your daily, monthly and annual volumes and pick a model that will allow you to meet your current needs and also allow you to grow as your volume increases.

Happy scanning!

Up next in this series:

This blog post was contributed by Ryan Sparrow, Sales Support Engineer at Microdea.

Check out this Procurement Guide to help plan your scanning approach. 


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