Printers and scanners are entirely different devices where a printer is an output device while the scanner is an input device. The notable difference between them is that the printers process the soft copy and produces its hard copy. On the other hand, the scanner does the inverse of the printer where the printed hard copied material is converted into the soft copy.
Now, here the terms hardcopy and softcopy might be confusing for you. The hard copy refers to a printed form of the information generated by a computer or any device. In contrast, the soft copy is the electronic form of the information which can be viewed in an electronic device such as a type of file in a computer (for example, documentary or a text file in a computer).
Content: Printer Vs Scanner
|Basis for comparison
|Produces the output over a paper.
|Takes input from a paper.
|Type of the device
|Can work on any type of file extension.
|Some scanner can only work with printed documents.
|Digital document is rendered over the paper by creating an impact or charges on a photosensitive material.
|Illuminating lamp is used on the scan head to reflect the light on to the lens, which is then focussed over a CCD array.
Definition of Printer
A Printer is an output device whose work is to acquire the text and graphics output from the computer and transport the information over a paper. There is a wide variety of printers based on their size, cost, speed and complex construction. Generally, the cost of printers increases as the quality of printing ( in terms of the resolution) increases.
Due to the evolution in technology, the 3D printers are developed which are capable of producing the 3D prints of an object.
Types of Printer
Primarily, all the types of printers are first broadly classified in the two types, namely – Impact and non-impact printers.
- Impact Printer – The impact printers produce image over a paper with the help of electromechanical impact device same as the operation of a mechanical typewriter. Dot-matrix printers, line printers and daisy wheel printers are the various impact type of printers.
- Non-impact Printer – This is the other type of printer, which does not use the hammering effect to print the characters over the paper. Inkjet printers and laser printers fall in this category where the inkjet uses ink nozzles that eject microscopic ink drops. For understanding each type in detail, you can refer my previously written article difference between impact and non-impact printers.
Definition of Scanner
A Scanner is a machine that regenerates an image from a source object, generating an identical image for display or processing. In other words, it is an input device which helps in inserting the documents in the form of solid physical images or document and process them to store it in an electronic format that is stored in a computer (or electronic device).
The working mechanism of the scanner includes the analyzation of the image and process it in some certain manner.
Types of Scanner
There are various types of scanner, such as Flatbed scanner, sheet-fed scanners, drum scanners and handheld scanners.
- Flatbed scanner – This type of scanner includes glass bed below which the document is positioned so that the scanner head could easily move over the document. The scan head has a lamp that illuminates the document as the scan head moves with the help of a rotating belt, and the reflected light from the document falls onto the lens. The image is then focused by this lens on a specialized sensor known as a charged coupled device array which transforms the light signal to an electrical pulse that is delivered to a computer and further stored there. Flatbed is the most widely used scanner.
- Sheet-fed scanners – In these types of the scanner, the movable scan head is used where the paper document is inserted into a roller. These rollers help in rolling the paper inside and make the entire document undergo through a fixed scanner head.
- Handheld scanners – These scanners are different from the other types because it requires to manually operate the device on the document in order to scan it. However, the image quality of these scanners is not very good as compared to other scanners.
- Drum scanners – The highly detailed images are scanned by these scanners, which uses a photomultiplier tube for capturing the image. It has a glass cylinder over which the document is affixed and a sensor in the middle of the cylinder to bifurcate the light which is then reflected from the document into three beams. Every beam is passed through a colour filter to the sensor that converts the light into an electrical signal.
Key Differences Between Printer and Scanner
- The Printer is a device which renders the document over a sheet of a paper. On the other hand, the scanner is used for the inverse process, where the data over a sheet of paper is transformed into a digital document.
- A document before printing it and processing it for the printing process can be easily edited and altered while in case of the scanner, the digital document is altered after its generation by scanning the solid object.
- As we know that most of the software provides the options for printing the result, it produces, hence all the types of extension are supported by printers. In contrast, excluding handheld scanners, all the scanner works with some certain dimension of pages which included length, width and thickness of the paper.
- The working mechanism of an impact printer includes the generation of the impact over the paper. When it comes to non-impact printers, these include the tiny ink nozzles and resistive heating effect (in inkjet printers). In laser printers, photosensitive material and laser (to charge the photosensitive plate negatively) are an important part of it, after which with the help of toner the printing is accomplished. As against, scanners work with illuminator lamp, lens and charged coupled device array to convert the printed copy into a digital copy.
The working of Printer and scanner is completely opposite where the Printer is used for transforming the electronic document into a physical piece of paper. Conversely, a scanner takes the data from an object such as data over a paper is converted into an electronic document. Although, nowadays all in one device is also available, which is capable of performing all the function that could be performed by a printer, scanner and photocopy machines.