What is a scanner for and what is the difference between scanning and copying

Before you scan a particular document, it would be nice to know what the term “scan” means. By it is meant a process that allows a copy of a text / photograph to be obtained by means of a scanner in a digital format in order to enter them into a personal computer. Due to the rapid improvement of scanning technology in recent years, it has begun to be used for volumetric objects. Thanks to this, 3D scanners appeared on the market.

More about scanning

To answer the question of what the scanner does when it starts scanning the original, you need to consider how it works. Let’s take a flatbed scanner as a reference, which is the most common option these days.

  • At the first stage, the scanned document is placed on the special glass of the flatbed with the side to be scanned.
  • Under the glass, in turn, there is a special movable lamp. Its movement is regulated by the so-called. stepper motor.
  • The light that is reflected from the surface of the object by means of a whole system of mirrors hits the CCD, which has an increased sensitivity.
  • Then it is transmitted to the ADC and only then reaches the computer, where the scanned document is converted into digital format.
  • For each certain step of the engine, a certain strip of the object is scanned.
  • At the end, all stripes are combined into one common image using special software.

What is the difference between scanning and copying?

If scanning is a process aimed at obtaining a copy of a document in digital format, then copying is a process designed to obtain an exact copy (or a series of copies) of a document in paper form.

In addition, in the first case, a scanner is used, which allows you to scan any text or photo, in the second – a special copier.

First of all, I would like to note that both of the above processes are based on the method of reading the image from the surface of the paper carrier using special photosensitive elements. However, the goals pursued in each of the processes are completely different. Thus, scanning allows you to create a digital file of a specific document, and copying produces only a printout. The combination of these two processes in one machine, called a multifunctional device, became possible precisely because the method of processing the original document in them is identical.

If we talk about the differences in more detail, then after saving the scanned image as a file to disk, you can work with it further, for example, send it by e-mail, send it via messengers over the Internet, open it in programs that allow you to recognize and edit text, etc. etc. As for copying, this process, of course, cannot provide such broad opportunities. The fact is that with the resulting copies it will be possible to perform only the same actions as with the original itself.

In addition, when working with a device such as a scanner, it is imperative to have a connection to a personal computer. Before direct scanning, you should make all the necessary settings for this process and determine the folder where the scanned document will be saved. For any scanner model, as a rule, proprietary software is attached, which provides the ability to edit the finished image.

But a copier or just a copier does not need to organize communication with other office equipment, because is a fully automated device. A simple copier model, in fact, has both a printer and a scanner in its body. As for the settings, for example, the number of copies, you can set them directly from the panel located on the machine itself.

Thus, it can be noted that the scanning process is a more economical option than copying. The fact is that it does not require consumables – in this case, you only need the original document, which will later be converted into a digital file. Obtaining paper copies is the same costly method as printing itself, because it requires not only paper, but also a cartridge with a dye.


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