Scanners Articles

What Is A Wand Scanner? (+ How To Use One Properly)

Wand scanners are also called handheld scanners due to their design and size.

They are quite peculiar little machines.

They are small and portable scanners that you can easily carry around.

Wand scanners are excellent if you need to digitize document on the go. They can scan negatives, photos, documents, books anything with a flat surface and convert them into digital data.

In this article we will talk about how does a wand scanner work.

It’s a bar-shaped scanner that usually runs on batteries. The scanner works with a detector array which consists of tiny light sensors formed into the line.

When you roll the scanner over a flat surface, it illuminates it with a light, and its smart sensors pick up the data or text as a set of points of light.

The rollers on the surface of the scanner touch the page and measure its length, allowing the scanner to scale the image correctly.

Once the information is captured, it works similar to any other type like a slide scanner.

Its electronic circuitry converts the point of lights into color or grayscale signals and turns them into digital data.

Electronic circuitry assigns a number value to each color like blue, red, or green and saves the digital file to an SD card.

How to Use a Wand Scanner To Scan a Document In 13 Steps

The video above  shows how the VuPoint Magic Wand works.

As we have just noted, a wand scanner works by sliding it over a flat surface.

Let’s see how it works in detail.

The following steps may or may not be relevant to all wand scanners. However, most wand scanners have more or less the same functionality.

Therefore, without further ado, lets see how does a wand scanner work.

  1. 1
    As this portable scanner works on batteries, so make sure it includes the required battery or if it has a rechargeable battery then make sure that it is charged.
  2. 2
    Turn on by pressing the power button on the scanner.
  3. 3
    Make sure the SD card is in its slot, if not, insert it in its slot on the scanner to save the scanned information.
  4. 4
    You can set date and time so that your scanned files show the correct time stamp.
  5. 5
    Press the resolution button and select your required resolution for scanned pages. It should depend on what you want to scan. If you want to scan a photo, then set the high-resolution result, and for normal book pages or documents, you can set low resolution. Keep in mind a high-resolution file will take more space and if you need to scan a few documents, you don’t need it at all.
  6. 6
    Place the document on a flat and hard surface like a table.
  7. 7
    Place the scanner over the paper with LCD screen face up so you can see the image of the page. Set the length width as you require. The portion of the page you want to scan should be between the width markers of the scanner.
  8. 8
    Press power/scan button and while holding the paper to its place with a hand slowly slide the scanner evenly over the surface of the page.
  9. 9
    Press the power button again when you reach the end of the document.
  10. 10
    Now you can see the scanned page on the LCD screen (if it has a large one), make sure it is scanned properly before you leave the premises.
  11. 11
    Back when you are at your computer connect the scanner to the computer with a USB cable.
  12. 12
    Transfer the file from SD card to the computer and save it as your required file format.
  13. 13
    You may need to run it through an OCR software if it is a text file to convert the file into an editable text file. Not all wand scanner comes with OCR, and most of them required the document to be converted through computer software.

What Are The Advantages of Wand Scanners?

Now you know how does a wand scanner work typically. However, it is also important to learn the advantages and disadvantages of these machines.

Wand scanners offer a lot of advantages. Some of them are listed here.


Unlike the large drum scanners, wand scanners are portable devices that occupy less space. They are perfect for carrying around.

They can easily fit into any laptop bag or handbag with their slim and smart design.

If you need scanning anywhere, they are easy to carry and use.

Affordable Price

Wand scanners are not very highly priced devices. They have simple designs and can come at a very affordable price.

Even if you can’t afford an advance flatbed or a powerful sheetfed scanner, the wand scanner will cater your basic scanning needs.

On the Spot Scanning

Wand scanners are perfect for on the spot scanning needs. Some libraries don’t allow taking books out of the building, and if you carry a wand scanner, you can easily slide it over the surface of the book and make your own e-notes.

These scanners suit students and salesperson who require scanning on the spot.

Good for Scanning in Bulk

Wand scanners are easy to use and are excellent to scan many documents in a snap.

All you need to do is to slide it over a surface and rest. You can manage your work more efficiently.

Technology Keeps Improving

You may feel an ordinary wand scanner would not produce excellent scanning results. Due to the demand and usefulness of wand scanners, now they are coming in improved versions with better technology, image results, and file management.

What Are The Disadvantages of Wand Scanners?

Wand scanners may have several disadvantages too. Some of them are listed here.

Short Reading Zone

Wand scanners need to be right on the top of the page for capturing all the details.

Little too far away and the results will not be accurate. Though wand scanners are coming with better reading zones and some of them can scan from a reasonable distance.

It actually depends on the quality of the scanner on how steady your hands are.

Not Hands-Free

It is all manual work. You can’t use it hands free, and it needed to be handheld.

If you need a lot of scanning, then it can become tiring.

Need to Slide the Scanner with Accurate Speed

You need to roll the scanner on a surface with accurate speed. Too fast and the scanning results will not be accurate.

So wand scanner can be extremely useful, and in certain circumstances, they are the best available option like scanning library notes or creating invoices right on the spot.

Their easy to use and portable design make them perfect for students.