Portable document scanners are useful tools that can be used for a variety of purposes. They come in a number of different forms, either as a separate device or in conjunction with your phone.
Depending on your needs, you can find a scanner that works for several functions, including scanning artwork, documents, and files necessary for business. A portable option can also be a great alternative when you simply don’t have the space for a larger, more traditional scanner.
What is a portable scanner?
Whether in an office or school setting, chances are you have used a scanner with one of your devices before. They are common in many all-in-one printers
, and you can find them in almost all offices. Scanners are often needed in the home and at the office because they can serve as a way to scan signed documents, images, and much more.
However, it’s only recently that scanners have been redesigned to move outside of their traditional spaces. All-in-one printers can sometimes take up a lot of room, and you may not need all of the functions that come with this type of device. Portable scanners strike a balance between providing the technology of a scanner without requiring a lot of space. They’re often more affordable than their bigger, multifunction counterparts as well.
As technology improves and files are more often sent digitally instead of through traditional mail, it is less common to need a full-sized printer. If you need a device that only offers scanning and can be taken with you on business trips and elsewhere, then a portable scanner could be the perfect solution for your budget and your work.
Top 10 uses for a portable scanner
You can use portable document scanners for a number of different purposes, but here are some of the main reasons you may use one for your home or business.
1. You need to scan smaller images
A portable scanner can be helpful when you are looking to digitally upload small photos or documents. Traditional scanning devices can usually handle a number of sizes, some of which may be larger than you need.
Portable scanners are usually designed with more standard sizes in mind. If you plan to work through archives of 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 photographs or you have letter-sized documents you need to scan, then a handheld document scanner can be incredibly helpful.
This can also save you time by avoiding having to crop images, which can end up being a hassle when you’re working with small pictures. In fact, you can often set the size of the document in advance so you don’t have to worry about going in and making changes to the size on another device.
Also, these scanners often have edge-detection technology. This can allow you to scan a number of photos without worrying about manually determining the type of files you’re adding to your computer. Plus, many scanners allow you to make resolution enlargements during the scanning process, which can save time by reducing the work you’d normally do after uploading the file to your computer.
2. Portability and a wireless connection
If you need to scan your documents in a location that isn’t your office or home, the idea of taking along your all-in-one printer can seem impossible. Not with a wireless portable scanner, which can connect to WiFi and perform its functions anywhere. This device can be beneficial if you don’t have a dedicated office but still need to send out a variety of documents.
One great example is the HP ScanJet Pro 2500
. It can handle up to 40 images at once and perform two-sided scanning. One of its best features, though, is that it’s only slightly larger than a typical piece of paper. It’s a breeze to carry around and super-quick to connect to the nearest WiFi connection so you can get your work sent out as efficiently as possible.
3. Faster scanning
Bigger devices often take more time to boot up than their smaller counterparts. If your device is an all-in-one, it can take even more time to start up. But with a portable scanner, you’re only performing a single function, so start-up time is minimal.
A faster scanner is beneficial for those who need to scan a number of photos or documents in one go. Whereas scanning was once a time-consuming process that had to be done individually, you can now insert a number of photos or documents into your scanner at the same time. This also saves time and cuts out the hassle of waiting for each scan to go through before inserting a new document.
4. Scan different types of documents
In the past, scanners were limited on the types of files they could reasonably handle. With portable designs, scanners can now take on a number of file types at once. Whether you need to scan books, photos, or even 3D projects, a portable document scanner can make the entire process easier.
It used to be impossible to scan these unconventional file types, but not anymore. This is a boon to creatives in particular, who may work with media that wouldn’t fit on a traditional scanner.
5. Send files straight to email or applications
Another benefit of a portable scanner is the fact that you can often send your files directly to those who need it. Whether you want to send them to yourself through email or to a client, you can do it without the extra step of attaching files from your computer or tablet. Not only can this save you the additional time that comes with scanning a number of different documents, but you don’t have to worry about missing any files or if they may be too big for your email server.
The development has also made it easier to organize the files you’re scanning. Instead of scanning files to your tablet or device and saving them in a folder, you can save them to a designated online space - like your cloud storage
. Or, if you plan to alter your file, it’s beneficial to send an image directly to your preferred software.
The HP ScanJet Pro 4500
allows you to scan your files to your favorite applications, including ISIS®, TWAIN, and Kofax VRS Pro®. You can also scan up to 60 images at a time, and up to 4,000 documents per day.
6. Oversized documents
Traditional scanners were originally designed to handle one type of document, which was printer paper at 8.5 x 11 inches. While you can accomplish a number of tasks through that type of scanner, it’s not always possible to create a digital file that can be sent with this as your only way to scan. This is especially difficult for graphic designers or artists because their work doesn’t always fit within the scope of what scanners could originally handle.
This is no longer an issue with portable scanning technology. Even if the size of the scanner has been meant to accommodate smaller documents, new applications and tech make it possible to make larger files scannable. With larger flatbeds and new programs, you can now send designs to clients in one whole file rather than a number of them. This software also allows you to make edits without having to launch a program like Adobe Photoshop, which can be helpful when you are on a tight deadline.
7. Skip the copy machine
Sharing files used to mean that you would have to make up dozens of physical copies of a report to provide to clients or coworkers. Now, with portable scanners, you can take one print and make all the digital copies you need. Instead of wasting paper and time, you can just send a file through email. This not only makes it less time consuming for you, but it also allows you to organize your files better.
These files are also saved for the future. As long as you have a way to store them digitally through cloud storage or on a hard drive, you never have to worry about them getting lost. If security is an issue, then you can create passwords to keep your sensitive information safe. A portable document scanner lets you skip the hassle that comes with paper files and helps you keep your documents in one location.
8. Easily create PDFs
In the past, scanners would create an image that was typically only available in a limited set of files types, such as JPEGs, PNGs, and others. This wasn’t always the ideal format for many documents, and it made it difficult to make any textual edits without manually typing the text. Some new scanners on the market have bypassed that process entirely, however, and allow users to scan files immediately to a PDF version.
This can make sending documents much easier because a number of images can be attached in one file and do not have to be sent separately. Even more, this can help with both organizing and sending files because they can be sent directly from a scanner and don’t require any additional software on a PC or laptop.
9. Integrated use with mobile phones
One of the most useful innovations within scanning technology over the past few years has been the integration of mobile phones. Many newer scanners offer the option of controlling them through an app on your phone. This allows you to take your device with you almost anywhere and to send files from your phone. You can also use these apps to spend less time editing files on your computer, and more time getting other things done.
HP® has a number of all-in-one devices that allow you to print and scan from a mobile device, including the HP DeskJet 3755
. This can be helpful if you’re away from your PC or laptop, or you need to have items sent directly to your phone so you can take documents with you.
10. Higher quality images
Portable scanners have changed the game for image capture in many ways, but one of the most useful is that images can now look better than ever before. You can scan items at a higher resolution, and also without obstructions you may have grown used to.
Remember how books, brochures, and magazines would be scanned with the spine visible? Not anymore. This is great for so many applications, but especially for reducing clutter and making digital copies of your files, work, etc.
Editing software used to be more complex as well. However, with developments in mobile apps and auto adjustments, even those with minimal photo-editing experience can make significant changes to images. This can reduce and potentially cut out the time and effort you once spent rescanning documents that didn’t look just right.
There are a number of ways you can use portable document scanners to your advantage. Whether you’re an artist looking to scan your entire project, a small business owner wanting to increase productivity, or something else entirely, a portable scanner can be just the right device to get the job done.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.
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