Forewarned is forearmed - have your answers READY!

The best way to ensure that you buy the right scanner is to have more answers than questions.

Make a check list

Whether you are buying for the home or the business, the salesman will probably ask you at least some of the following questions - which you should have the answers for:

  • What tasks do you need the scanner to perform?
  • What type of computer do you use? (i.e., PC or Mac)
  • What is the configuration of the computer to which the scanner will be attached? (i.e., CPU, RAM, hard disk, etc.)
  • Which operating system do you use? (e.g., Windows XP, Mac OSX, Linux)
  • Which types of documents or items do you wish to scan? (i.e., pictures, slides, transparencies, books, documents, forms)
  • How many scans do you expect to do per week?
  • Who will be using the scanner? (i.e., novice, professional, student)

Have some background information memorised or close to hand. The following part of the guide is a brief overview of commonly available scanner technologies, what they do, how they work, and their associated options and software.

Common types of scanners

Handheld Barcode - as used at supermarket checkouts and in warehousing.

Flatbed Scanner - looks like the top of a photocopier - found in homes and offices

Slide Scanners - dedicated scanners for scanning transparencies and slides - as used by print shops, graphics artists and photography buffs

Drum Scanners - Super high resolution, very expensive technology used by professional print shops and pre-press industry

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