How to Use a Scanner for Any Document

How to Use a Scanner for Any Document Format | HTR

With scanners being in common use for about 30 years now, you might think you already know everything you need to know about scanning documents. Surprisingly, unless you're a tech professional, you're probably wrong about that.

Like most modern tech, there's a lot more to the scanner than meets the eye. Without getting too technical, there are actually several things to consider when scanning different types of documents.

For one, you need to consider the DPI (dots per inch) and the PPI (pixels per inch). You'll also need to know which file types are best-suited to different document type.

While some aspects are relatively straight-forward, not all scanner features are self-explanatory. So, just for you, here's a quick and easy how-to guide on how to use a scanner properly in our work environment.


Of all the documents you might need to scan, a text document is the simplest to understand and the least time-consuming. To touch back on DPI very briefly, this is what you'll need to consider in order to determine your document's resolution.

For text documents, the lowest DPI setting you can use and have it still be legible is 300 DPI. If you plan or reprinting your scanned text file, 600 DPI and up is going to be ideal. This is because subsequent printing and scanning will degrade the initial DPI.

The best file type to use for a text document is .PDF (portable document format), so be sure to save it as that. If you need to edit the text, that can be done easily with the OCR (optical character recognition) feature on your scanner.

Line Art

Line art is the oldest form of print imagery outside of basic text. Before photographs, colors, and shading, line art was used in newspapers and other printed forms.

When scanning line art, 900 DPI and up is ideal for print. If you are scanning line art for the web, using the 300 DPI or higher setting will suffice. Save your line art file as a .GIF.


Grayscale images are the next step up from line art. While they still don't use color, they use shades of black (gradients) to convey 3D images. 

For grayscale images, you'll want to use 600 DPI or up and save them as .PNG files. For text, use a DPI of 300-600 and save them as a .PDF. If you need to reduce the file size for web use, you can also save them as .GIF files.


Halftone images use small dots to create an image. While this technique predates modern printing, you might sometimes want to use it for aesthetic purposes.

You'll want to scan these at a DPI of 1200 and up in order to properly capture the halftone. For these documents, use the .PNG file type.


These days, color documents are the most common of all scanned images. 600 DPI is the lowest you can go for color images, but using a DPI of 1200 and up will ensure archival quality photographs. 300 DPI will suffice for web use, but either way, save them as .PNG files.

Color text files need only use 300 DPI and can be saved as a .PDF.

That's How to Use a Scanner from Hartford Technology Rental

That's everything you will need to know about how to use a scanner. Though it is pretty straight-forward, understanding some of the finer details might be a lifesaver when scanning something that proves a bit trickier than you thought it might be.

Now you know how to use one, but that doesn't mean you've got the right one for the job. If you're in the market for a top-quality scanner, look no further! With distribution centers in Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles and New York, Hartford Technology Rental offers a variety of scanner models to suit your scanning needs. Give us a call 888-520-5667 and our experienced Sales team can make sure you get the right one.