Categories: Definitions

What is a Scanner? – Definition, Function, Properties and Types

Definition Scanner

A scanner is a device that optically scans images, handwriting, printed text, or an object; and converts it to a digital image. Most of the scanners used in offices are different types of desktop flatbed [scanner], where we place the document on a glass window for scanning.

A [scanner] is a device used in computer science, electronics, and medicine for the exploration of documents or images, spaces, and the human body. And also, this instrument helps to obtain images or information about an object. The first scanner was the MS-200, created in 1984 by the company Microtek who developed it as an accessory of the Apple Macintosh.

How does it function

A computer [scanner] is the most popular [scanner]. This peripheral uses light to convert images into a digital file. This file can be edited and modified on the computer.

Properties of a scanner


One of the essential features of a [scanner] is the resolution that it is capable of capturing. And also measured in dots per inch. This value is of the utmost importance for people who wish to print their documents and scanned photos. It must correspond to the capabilities of the printer to use the selected quality.

Color depth

The color depth is an important concept that refers to the number of bits needed for the representation of the color of each pixel. The higher the color depth, the more colors the [scanner] can capture.


For the capture of documents, optical character recognition is essential. A process that the computer must perform on the scanned image to identify alphanumeric characters and also convert the file to a text document. This process helps the user to enter it manually.

The [scanner] is trendy as an image capture device with a rapid rise to the peak and a fall to an unexpected rival: the mobile phone. Although the camera of a phone cannot offer the same precision when scanning a document, and also most people prefer it to a traditional [scanner] since it occupies less space. So they always have it with them and thus eliminate the need to buy and keep another device.

Types of scanners

Barcode scanner

A barcode [scanner] is a machine that can “read” a barcode. The [scanner] records the code in question. And also sends it as an electrical signal to a decoder that displays the data. 

Scanner for diagnosis

In medicine, there are different kinds of scanners, such as X-rays, magnetic resonances, ultrasound, or ionizing radiation. And also, these devices offer images of the inside of the organs, bones, etc. Scanner studies are very important for the diagnosis and treatment of numerous health disorders.

Body scanner

The body scanner is a security device that allows a person to get checked without establishing physical contact. Through high-frequency radio waves, the scanner can show the objects that the individual wears under his clothes.

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Kamran Sharief

I write about technology, marketing and digital tips. In the past I've worked with Field Engineer, Marcom Arabia and You can reach me at

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Kamran Sharief

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