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What is an Autofeed Scanner?

Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

An autofeed scanner analyzes a black and white or color image, such as a document, photo, or negative, then converts it to a digital image that can be uploaded onto a computer. An autofeed scanner can generate a large amount of data in only a few seconds. While autofeed scanners vary in their resolution and sharpness, many are capable of very high quality image production.

What distinguishes an autofeed scanner from a typical flatbed scanner is the automatic sheet feeding feature. This feature makes the autofeed scanner resemble a small printer. Because of the attached sheet feeder, an autofeed scanner is also larger than a flatbed scanner. This can be a disadvantage if space is severely limited.

Some scanners are designed to scan film.
Some scanners are designed to scan film.

An autofeed scanner has a distinct advantage over a flatbed scanner when it comes to speed. With a flatbed scanner, the top must be opened and the document positioned on the bed each time an image is scanned. An autofeed scanner, on the other hand, can accommodate a huge stack of documents or photos. The items being copied are automatically and efficiently fed into the scanner one by one, scanned, and ejected, without the user ever having to lift a lid.

An autofeed scanner can convert a black and white photo to a digital image.
An autofeed scanner can convert a black and white photo to a digital image.

An autofeed scanner sometimes has a duplex option that allows the user to automatically scan both sides of a document without having to remove it, turn it over, and place it back in the feeder. An autofeed scanner greatly increases productivity when large quantities of work need to be scanned. These scanners are widely used in corporate environments.

In addition to scanning paper documents and photos, an autofeed scanner is capable of automatically feeding slides to be scanned. Some of these scanners are able to scan up to 50 slides unattended and are compatible with many film formats, including 35mm and medium-format film. An autofeed scanner with slide capabilities is commonly used in photographic, printing, design, and medical fields.

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Discussion Comments

anon1886

I need to know if the HP laserjet 1220 is an autofeed scanner. I can't find any info on this anywhere.

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    • Some scanners are designed to scan film.
      By: winston
      Some scanners are designed to scan film.
    • An autofeed scanner can convert a black and white photo to a digital image.
      By: stryjek
      An autofeed scanner can convert a black and white photo to a digital image.