What is a Pen Scanner?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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Also known as a wand scanner, the pen scanner is a compact scanning device that makes it possible to quickly scan a document for download at a later date. A handheld pen scanner can easily be used to capture text that the individual wants to preserve for later use. While scanners of this type were once very expensive, there are a number of models on the market today that are very affordable.

One group of consumers that makes use of pen scanners on a regular basis is college students. A pen scanner makes it easy to scan text found in printed study materials, much in the same manner that a highlighting pen was once used. The difference is that the student is able to scan the pertinent material that is likely to show up on an exam, save the text into a file, and then use just that relevant material when preparing to take the exam.

Businesspeople often make use of the pen scanner as an easy way to quickly make copies of important documents. For example, a salesperson may scan a contract just after a new customer has signed the document, save it as a particular file type, download the file to a laptop, and email the document to the home office. Since the higher-end scanners can capture cursive writing as well as print text, this means a copy of the signed contract is delivered immediately, and the provisions put in place at once.


One of the main advantages of a pen scanner is its portability. The device can easily be carried in a jacket pocket or a side pocket of a computer bag. The lightweight and small body of the scanner makes it easy for anyone to position the scanner and capture an image of the desired text. Since most of these small scanners today can capture text of a number of different sizes and fonts, the reproduction of the scanned document is perfect. Best of all, most models have at least one port that makes in possible to connect the device to a laptop and download the saved image within seconds.

The pen scanner of today is more sophisticated than the models that were available as recently as five years ago. Contemporary models offer such functions as the ability to read bar codes and numbers as well as text. They also can read documents much faster than older models, with some able to read as many as a thousand characters per second. A high end pen scanner can recognize fifty or more languages, making it an invaluable tool when dealing with an international business matter, or making copies of historical documents written in different languages. While the devices with the most features tend to be somewhat more expensive, brands that provide the most commonly used features are found at many electronics retailers, and are available for a modest price.


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