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What is Document Imaging?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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Document imaging is an essential element of doing business today. As a means of creating electronic copies of important papers, diagrams, and pictures, document imaging helps to ensure that business paperwork can be saved and archived safely. Here are the basics involved with document imaging, including storage and distribution of the saved images.

Paper document imaging is very simple. All that is really required is a quality scanner, a USB cable to connect the scanner to a computer, and then scanning software that will allow the saved image to be named and stored. While document scanners used to be somewhat expensive, good quality units are available today at very reasonable prices. This makes document imaging possible for both businesses and in the home.

Once the software is loaded on the hard drive, and the scanner is recognized by the system, simple place the document face down on the scanner screen and press the start key to initiate the scan. Working in a manner similar to a copy machine, the scanner will create an image of the document, working from one end to the other. When the page is completed, it will be possible to use the software to name the scanned document and then store it on the hard drive of the computer. Alternatively, the scanned document can be loaded on a CDR or uploaded to a server for storage and retrieval.

Advantages of document scanning are plentiful. One, creating an electronic copy of valuable documents ensures that even in the event that the original is lost, it can be recreated by printing out the electronic copy. Second, valuable archives from years past can be captured and preserved, since document imaging creates an copy that will not fade, yellow with age, or turn brittle over time. Last, document imaging makes it very easy to share copies of paper documents with remote locations.

For example, if a sales associate is out of the country and needs to see a copy of a client contract, there is no need to accrue the expense involved with making a paper copy and mailing it by a courier service. Instead, the scanned document can simply be emailed or placed on a network the associate can access. What used to take days now only takes a few minutes to accomplish with document imaging.

Document imaging has changed the way many companies store important documents, as well as made it much easier to retrieve data when needed. Whether the documents consist of pictures, contracts, or building schematics, the images of important papers are preserved and available whenever they are needed.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon81664 — On May 02, 2010

thanks EQoverIQ. I think I'm going to have to get a programme. sjttv

By anon81148 — On Apr 30, 2010

It's true that document imaging is very useful as it can help companies become paperless in the office and help the environment, therefore helping the planet.

Its worth noting that for large scale scanning that a feed scanner is usually quickest to feed the documents through, especially for A4's.

By EQoverIQ — On Jul 08, 2008

stjjv, in order to edit your scanned photos, you'll need some sort of photo editing software. if you have microsoft, you may have the picture it! software already installed on your computer. this program will give you the basic tools needed to fix red eyes, cropping, converting to black/white, etc. you may have another photo editing program installed on your computer which should work just as well. if you want to get more serious about it, you can purchase a program like Adobe Photoshop, which has a lot more bells and whistles. your scanner may even have come with a photo editing program as part of a software bundle. good luck!

By stjjv — On Jul 08, 2008

Hi, I am trying to scan documents into the computer via my photocopier/printer/scanner. However when I scan it is saved in either TIF image PNG image JPEG image or Bitmap. But none of these images will then let me fiddle with the image - to change font or color etc. Is there a way that I can do this or do I need to get a separate scanner?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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