Significant Terminology in the Scanning World

scanning documents

From the surface, office scanners do not appear to be the most complicated devices. Once you read a description of the features of a particular device, however, you might find yourself left scratching your head not knowing which device to purchase. Here at Document Systems, we want to make sure our customers understand the significance of scanning terminology, so we have put together a list of important words to know when considering an office scanner:

Scanning Definitions

PPM: Pages Per Minute

PPM is the measurement used to determine the speed of a scanner. Depending on the configuration of the scanner, different PPMs might be offered. Often, a scanner’s PPM rate will be different for various settings, like black and white versus colored images.

The PPM rate of a scanner can be misleading, however, because most manufacturers will provide a PPM based on the fastest setting of the scanner, which might not be the setting you use because it can lower the quality of the image.


If a scanner is marketed as having duplex scanning, it means that the device can scan two sides of an image at the same time. With this feature, two-sided images can be scanned quickly by removing the need for scanning both sides of the image separately.


If a scanner has simplex scanning, only one side of an image can be scanned at a time.

DPI: Dots Per Inch

DPI is the measurement used to determine the resolution capabilities of a scanner. The higher the number represented by the DPI, the higher the resolution and clarity possible when scanning. Common examples of DPI include 600 x 600 or 1200 x 1200.

ADF: Auto Document Feeder

The ADF refers to the tray built into a scanner which allows the device to scan a stack of images or documents, rather than manually scanning one at a time. The ADF feeds multiple files through the machine with the touch of a button, saving employees time and energy.

With these definitions, you are set to find which scanner is best for your company. To learn more about scanners or to browse our products, contact Document Systems today!