Handheld Scanner

Flatbed scanners are popular for copying entire pages but they are too large to be portable and they need to be connected to a computer. A handheld scanner can be used without a computer and it fits into a pocket or small bag. It is also known as a pen scanner because it is used just like a highlighter to select certain words or phrases. The internal memory can store many pages of text, which can be uploaded to a computer and pasted into any text editor. Some models can also give the definition of words and even translate them into other languages.

Many people like to highlight parts of books, magazines, and letters that they find interesting. A handheld scanner can do that without marking the paper. The most common models resemble a large pen with a camera lens and rollers at the tip. They often have side controls and a connection cable at the other end. Some models even have a small screen for reviewing the scanned text. The tip of the scanner is placed at the front of the text and moved over it. The rollers help the scanner move in a straight line and prevent any sideways movement that would cause reading errors.

Sometimes it is necessary to copy entire pages with a handheld scanner. Using a pen scanner for this would be a slow and awkward task, and it would lead to many errors. The portable page scanner is another type of handheld scanner that copies an entire line of text instantly. It resembling a roller ruler and is moved vertically down the page, not across and down like the pen scanner. Scanning photos and diagrams with a portable page scanner is also much faster and accurate. It is larger than a pen scanner but is still compact enough to be carried around in a small bag.

The text stored in the internal memory of a handheld scanner needs to be moved to computer or memory card before all the memory is used up. If it is not moved, it will be overwritten by new scanned text. A scanner can be connected to a computer by either a serial, infrared, Firewire, or USB connection. USB is the most common method and it allows the batteries inside the scanner to be charged while it is connected to the computer. Most scanners come with a USB cable included in the box so there is no need to buy one.

A handheld scanner can also be used as a portable dictionary. While the number of word definitions is usually limited, there are more than enough for it to be useful. Once a word has been scanned, its definition is shown on a small screen. It may even be spoken back through a speaker on some models. The scanner may also have a thesaurus for showing the synonyms and antonyms of the word, and a language translator that can convert text between several major languages.

Learning to use a handheld scanner requires a bit of time and patience. Running it over the paper very quickly will lead to errors because the software cannot process the scanned image fast enough. Going to slow will also produce errors, so it can take several attempts to find the right speed that produces text with no errors. Once a suitable speed is found it should be used every time. Failure to read a single character can cause the software to misspell a word or not even recognize it, so it is also necessary to have the paper completely flat before starting.

Scanning handwriting has always been a problem because every person has a different style of writing. Optical character recognition (OCR) software is often not able to identify characters from the lines and curves in handwriting. Cursive writing is notoriously difficult to recognize but printed characters produce better results because they are closer to what the software is expecting. For now, typing is probably the most effective way of copying cursive handwriting into a computer.

This Handheld Scanner Review is Written/Updated on May 15th, 2009 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Handheld Scanner”

  1. Cheta says:

    Hi, thanks for this post. I am a frequent traveller and have been looking for a mini scanner over the past few months, but all I have found in stores are those types where you have to feed the A4 paper through. Do you know any brandnames that make the handheld that you can use on books? that would be a great help. Thanks in advance! Cheta

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