Is Scanner An Input Or Output Device? Explained

scanner input or output
Quick Answer
A Scanner is an Input Device.

A computer setup has several input and output devices that are mainly used to obtain the information after processing.

While parts like CPU, Graphics card, Or RAM may not act as input or output devices, the devices that are connected to the computer externally either fall into the Input or Output device category.

One of the most frequently used devices is the Scanner which is generally used in offices, departments, schools, etc. as it has several benefits when it comes to obtaining digital copies of a document.

In this post, we will look at why we categorize a scanner either into the Input or Output device categories.

What Is A Scanner?


A Scanner is an electronic device that converts a hard copy of an image or a document into a digital signal.

This allows the document or the image to be stored on a computer from where it can be edited or sent/uploaded to the required place.

Generally, a scanner is used in schools, colleges, and departments(offices, banks, etc.) where the hard copies of the students or employees need to be stored on the server in a digital format.

Scanner has existed for several decades and has evolved for different purposes in this course. A scanner is connected to a computer via a USB cable or a wireless/Bluetooth connection.

Is Scanner An Input Or Output Device?

A Scanner is a Digitizer and a photographic device. A Digitizer is a device that converts analog sound or light signals into digital signals.

When the scanner is provided with a hard copy of a document or an image, it converts the analog signals it receives to digital signals. Therefore, a  Scanner is an Input device  as it takes input from the users.

After converting the signals, it stores the digital copy on your computer from where you can edit the file as you wish.

An input device is something that always takes input from the user and converts it into a required format to send it to output devices such as a monitor, printer, or speakers.

Types Of Scanners

Scanners can be categorized into various types according to their technology and uses. While the most common one we use is a Flatbed scanner, there are different types of scanners that are used in commercial places for different needs.

The following are the most widely used types of scanners-

  1. Flatbed
  2. Drum
  3. Film
  4. Sheetfed
  5. Handheld

The Flatbed scanner is the most common scanner used and is generally used in homes, schools, and offices. This scanner features a glass pane where the user needs to put a document for scanning.

flatbed scanner

A Flatbed Scanner

Once the scanner is active, the sensor and light source scans the whole document to produce a digital copy. Sheetfed scanners are similar in operation but are used for high-volume businesses.

Sheetfed scanners provide black and white scans with low resolutions and are stationary scanners like flatbeds.

Drum scanner provides the highest resolution scans of documents and uses a Photomultiplier tube that is very light sensitive. Drum scanners are much more expensive and are generally used in commercial graphics production.

The Film scanner is used for converting the roll films into digital format and needs the expertise to have great control when scanning. These are very expensive and only a few companies produce film scanners.

Handheld scanner is mostly used in commercial places to scan objects quickly. A good example of a handheld scanner is a barcode scanner which scans the barcodes on the objects to register into the computer.

barcode handheld scanner

A Barcode Scanner

When the object is placed in front of a handheld scanner it identifies it and stores its information as required. Unlike the Flatbed or Drum scanner, it is not stationary and is generally very small in size.


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  5. Is Microphone an input or output device?
  6. Is Monitor an input or output device?
  7. Is Speaker an input or output device?
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