How To Scan Something On A Printer

The act of scanning a document or image has become an essential part of everyday life, whether at home, work, or school. Scanning provides an easy way to convert physical documents into digital files, enabling individuals to store, share and access these files with greater ease and security. Despite the emergence of newer, more advanced scanning technologies, the traditional scanner built into printers remains a popular choice due to its affordability, accessibility, and ease of use. It’s essential, then, to understand how to utilize a printer-based scanner effectively. This article will discuss various tips and techniques to make scanning with a printer as seamless as possible.

*Content Outline*


1. Choose the Right Scanner
2. Prepare the Document or Image
3. Scan From the Printer or Computer
4. Set Your Preferences
5. Save Your Scanned File

**Choose the Right Scanner**

When selecting a printer with scanning capabilities, it’s essential to choose according to your intended usage. A high-quality scanner comes at a higher price, but it is crucial if you need the most accurate image reproduction. For more basic scanning tasks – such as text documents and less detailed images – a lower-priced printer with scanning capabilities may suffice.

Additionally, consider whether an all-in-one printer (combining printing, scanning, and copying) would be more appropriate for your needs. All-in-one printers are an excellent choice for those with limited space or budgets, while standalone scanners may provide higher quality and more advanced features.

**Prepare the Document or Image**

Before scanning, it’s essential to ensure the document or image is as clean and legible as possible. Remove any dirt, dust or stray markings to prevent these from appearing in the scanned copy. If the document is damaged or faded, it may be necessary to make any necessary repairs or adjustments before scanning to ensure optimal results.

For images with fine details, ensure you are scanning the original rather than a low-quality photocopy. A higher resolution image will provide a more accurate scanned representation.

**Scan From the Printer or Computer**

Most printers with built-in scanners can be controlled both from the printer itself and your computer. When scanning from the printer, ensure the document or image is loaded correctly and follow the prompts on the display screen. This method is often more straightforward, but may not offer the same level of customization and settings adjustments as scanning from your computer.

To scan from your computer, ensure that the scanner driver is correctly installed, and the printer is connected. Open the scanning software on your computer and follow the prompts.

**Set Your Preferences**

Customizing your scanning preferences is essential for obtaining the best possible results. Image resolution is a crucial setting that determines the overall quality of the scanned file. Higher resolutions will result in more detailed images but may require more storage space.

Choose between color and grayscale, depending on whether the document or image has any color information. For text documents without color, grayscale is sufficient. Additionally, adjust any other settings such as brightness and contrast, if necessary.

**Save Your Scanned File**

Once you have successfully scanned your document or image, it’s essential to save the file in the correct format and location. Common file formats for scanned images include JPEG, PNG, and TIFF, while PDF format is popular for text-rich documents.

Choose an appropriate file name and location, so the scanned file is easily identifiable and accessible. It’s also a good idea to ensure the file is backed up to avoid accidental loss or corruption.

In conclusion, learning how to scan something on a printer involves an understanding of the different components and features available. By selecting the right scanner, preparing your document or image properly, and utilizing the appropriate settings, you can ensure your scans are of high quality and meet your specific needs.

**Step By Step Guide**

1. Preparing the Printer and Document
– Ensure the printer is plugged in, turned on, and connected to your computer either through a wired connection or wirelessly.
– Open the scanner lid and place the document or image face-down on the scanner glass, aligning the document with indicated guides or edges.
– Gently close the scanner lid to avoid any damage to the glass or document.

2. Launch the Scanning Software
– Open the scanning software pre-installed on your computer by searching for it in the Start Menu (Windows) or Applications folder (Mac).
– Alternatively, you can use third-party scanning software if you prefer, or even open the scanner directly from certain applications, such as Adobe Photoshop.

3. Adjust the Settings
– Select the appropriate scanning preferences based on your needs. Select the correct input source (usually “Flatbed” for traditional scanner-based printers), desired resolution, and choose the correct color mode (i.e., whether to scan in color, grayscale, or black and white).
– Customize any advanced settings as needed, such as brightness, contrast, or sharpness.

4. Preview the Scan
– Before completing the final scan, perform a quick preview scan. This step allows you to check the document’s alignment, cropping, and settings without taking up as much time and storage space compared to a full-resolution scan.
– Make any necessary adjustments based on the preview scan, and preview again if needed.

5. Complete the Final Scan
– Once satisfied with the preview, initiate the final scan using the scanning software. Depending on the resolution and complexity of the document, this process may take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.
– The scanned file will then be saved to your computer or directly to a software application, depending on your chosen settings and preferences.

**Pros and Cons**

– Scanning allows you to convert physical documents into digital files, making them easier to store, share, and access.
– Digital copies offer enhanced security and protect against accidental damage or loss of the physical document.
– It saves paper and contributes to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
– Scanning and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology make it easier to search through documents and edit text.

– The initial investment in a scanner may be more expensive than necessary for some users.
– Scanning may be time-consuming, particularly when preparing and adjusting settings for each document.
– Scanned images can sometimes be of lower quality than the original document, particularly when scanned at a low resolution or if the document is damaged or dirty.


1. **What is the difference between a flatbed scanner and a sheet-fed scanner?**
A flatbed scanner allows you to scan one page at a time by placing the document or image on the scanning surface. In contrast, a sheet-fed scanner can automatically feed multiple pages through the machine, one page at a time. Flatbed scanners are typically more versatile and better suited to scan delicate or oddly shaped documents, while sheet-fed scanners are more efficient for multi-page documents.

2. **Can I scan documents or images to my phone or tablet?**
Yes, you can often scan documents or images directly to your mobile devices by using specific scanning apps or third-party software, such as Adobe Scan or Dropbox. Most manufacturers also offer their scanning apps that are compatible with their products.

3. **Do I need to empty my email inbox before scanning documents directly to email?**
Not necessarily. You only need to ensure you have sufficient email storage space available for the scanned files you plan to send. Most email providers have generous storage limits, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to empty your inbox entirely.


Understanding how to scan something on a printer is essential for business and personal use, offering benefits such as digital file storage, organization efficiency, and environmental consciousness. By following a step-by-step guide and considering the pros and cons of various scanning methods, you can make informed decisions about which techniques and tools will work best for your needs. Furthermore, answering common scanning-related FAQ’s allows individuals to navigate issues and questions that may arise throughout the scanning process. With practice and experience, scanning documents and images will become second nature and an indispensable part of your daily life.

Inksaver Editor

We're a group of people who love printers and scanners. We want to share our knowledge with you, so you can spend less time researching and more time printing and scanning!

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