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How to Use a Scanner

How to Use a Scanner

Using a scanner is a vital tech skill. From storing your child’s favorite drawing to the cloud to getting a clear copy of a legal document so you can send it by fax, the perfect scan is essential. If you own an HP scanner and have questions about how to use it, this step-by-step tutorial can get you scanning documents in no time.

How to scan from printer to computer

Your HP device is designed for an easy scan-to-computer process, but there are some steps that help make the process go more smoothly. Follow these tips for best results:
  1. Make sure that your HP Scan printer software is updated. If you aren’t sure, or you don’t have the printer software installed, go to the HP Customer Support site. Search for your device’s model and download the software and drivers
  2. Check to see that the scanner is either connected to your computer with a USB cable or via the local wireless network
  3. Open the HP Scan software. Choose the Scan tab, then click Scan a Document or Photo
  4. Check to see that your settings are set for the project you want to scan. You can choose to scan as various file types, such as PDF or JPEG. You should also set where the scan will take place, either in the scanner flatbed or through a document feeder tray
  5. Select Show Viewer After Scan in the checkbox
  6. Go through the additional settings, such as color or black-and-white and page size
  7. Click More if you want to view advanced settings and change the resolution, orientation, or destination of the file after saving
  8. Load the documents, if you’re using a feeder tray. If you have a glass scanner bed, put the item you want to be scanned face-down according to the guide printed on the edge of the glass
  9. Click Scan and wait for a preview to appear on your computer in the HP Scan display preview
  10. If you have additional pages, scan them one at a time by clicking Add pages, then placing the next item in the tray or on the scanner glass. Click Scan when ready
  11. Continue scanning pages until you are finished
  12. Edit each scan by double-clicking each preview to crop, rotate, or adjust the brightness. You can access additional editing featuring by clicking More
  13. When you have finished scanning everything that you would like saved as a single file, click Save
Note: If you have a multiple-page document that you want saved as a single file, choose to save it as a PDF file. JPEG or other file types will save each page as an individual file.
If you cannot find HP Scan software for your device, it may be because it is too old. Scanners and multifunction printers from before 2010 use the HP Solution Center Software. The steps for scanning are similar.

How to scan and email a document

Once scanned, the document can be easily uploaded to the cloud for storage. You can also upload it as an email attachment and send it to anyone in your email contacts list. If saved as a common file format, such as PDF or JPEG, you can also send it to your friends or family through social media or text.
There’s an easier way to scan to email as well. Start by making sure your email is configured to be used with a local email client, such as Windows Mail, Microsoft Outlook, or Mozilla Thunderbird. Once set up, you can select Scan to email as an option when scanning through the HP Scan software in step 4 above. Your saved scan will be sent to your local email program to complete the final steps.

How to scan to Word document

Scanning is most often used to create an image of a photo or document, but what if you want to know how to scan a document into Word so you can edit it later? By choosing to use the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software that comes with your HP device, you can convert the letters from an image file to text. To use this feature, choose Save as Editable Text (OCR) as the output for your scanned file.
If your printer or scanner didn't come with this feature, you can purchase third-party OCR software to take scanned PDF files and convert them to text.

How to scan with an all-in-one scanner with fax

If you have an HP all-in-one or multifunction printer that includes a scanner and fax, then you can skip a few steps when scanning documents to send via fax. Instead of scanning to a computer, you can simply use the fax function to scan and then fax automatically. You’ll need updated software and a connection to a phone line to do this. In the end, you can save significant time by having a printer that does it all from one location.

Additional scanning tips

For best results, don’t use the feeder tray to scan photographs because they can get caught in the mechanism. If you have a document that’s larger than what the scanner bed or feeder tray will hold, use the HP Smart app to scan with your smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device. This also works to scan items with your computer webcam.
If the file sizes for your scanned items are too large, you can adjust the resolution to get a smaller file size. This is useful when emailing scans because many email servers can’t handle file sizes that are more than a few megabytes.
If you weren't sure how to use a scanner before, these tips should have you on the right track. While each HP model will have slightly different instructions for capturing the right quality of the scan, the software included with your device is designed to take the guesswork out of the process.
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.

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