Scanner Types


Once you’ve decided that you want to go paperless, you will need a good scanner for document management on your Mac.

There are 3 major types of scanners to choose from.

  • Flatbed Scanners
  • Sheetfed Scanners
  • Portable Scanners

And some devices are considered to be both portable and sheetfed.

Flatbed Scanners

epson all in oneI will start with the flatbed variety because it is a very common choice for home use.

Unfortunately, it is not the best choice for document management.

These are usually the big multifunction machines that combine scanning with printing, copying, and faxing – commonly referred to as all in one printers.

They are are characterized by a flip top with a glass surface on which you can place your document.

While convenient, there is a big disadvantage: Speed.

Typically these scanners are very slow. And for most, you will need to scan each side of a paper separately. So by the time you scan one side, flip it over, scan the other side – you have probably decided that this paperless thing is not for you.

Here are the most popular models of All In One Printers at Amazon.com.

Sheetfed Scanners

Fujitsu Scan Snap S1300This type of scanner is the best choice for home document management systems.

Although they are costly – they are an excellent investment. If you have to skimp somewhere – don’t skimp on the scanner.

Sheetfed styles have a smaller footprint than a flatbed, so they take up less physical space.

They also scan much faster than the flatbed – often scanning both sides of a page at once.

It is easy to quickly scan receipts, bills, notes, and anything else that crosses your desk.

However, you will not be able to use these for bound documents or pages from a book.

The Fujitsu scanners in this category make an excellent choice.

Here are the most popular sheetfed scanners at Amazon.com.

Portable Scanners

Fujitsu portable scannerA portable scanner is usually the sheetfed style – but small enough to take with you wherever you go. Often they are able to be USB powered – so they can plug right into your computer and not require an external power source.

The advantage of this type is the small size and also the cost. Many of this variety cost a bit less than the standard sheet fed option. But you will give up a bit of speed to gain portability. And often these smaller types will not be able to hold a stack of pages at once (meaning that you may have to feed each page through by hand instead of placing them in a document holder attached to the scanner.

Both Fujitsu and Neat Receipts make popular models in this space.

Here are the most popular portable scanners at Amazon.com.

Mac or Windows

Whichever style that you decide to go with – you will need to make sure that it is compatible with your operating system.

Most newer modes do work with both Mac and Windows – but don’t assume, double check.


Other Articles in the Series

Creating Home Document Management Systems that Work
Organizing Files on Your Computer

More On Scanning

Scanning from an HP All In One Printer to a Mac

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