Scanners Articles

How To Scan A Double Sided Document (Step By Step Guide)

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Scanning both sides of a document has become quite easy with the latest scanners that are equipped to read both sides of the paper at a time.

But not all scanners can capture the two sides of your document simultaneously, and this article is designed to show you how to scan a double sided document with different scanners.

Double Sided = Duplex

Note that Double Sided scanning is also know as duplex scanning which is different to simplex scanning. Most printer manufacturers mention duplex as a feature that you need to look for.

This is in contrast to the term “simplex” which stands for single sided scanning.

How to Scan a Double Sided Document with Different Types Of Scanners

Let us see how scanning double sided pages would work on different types of printers.

Related: Best Printers With Built In Double Sided Scanners

1. Using a Flatbed Scanner

Epson Expression Premium XP-600...

Here will look at how to scan a double sided document with a flatbed scanner.

Generally, an average flatbed scanner is NOT ideal for double sided scanning since it is not efficient.

Why is that? It's because most average flatbed scanner lacks an Automatic Document Feeder as well as the SheetFed mechanisms.

Basically, if you want to scan both sides on a flatbed scanner, you would need to do so manually i.e scan one side, open the cover, flip the document, scan the other side.

HP ScanJet Pro 4500 fn1 Network Scanner...

However, there ARE EXCEPTIONS. Some flatbed scanners most certainly come equipped with a single pass automatic document feeder. Meaning, it can duplex scan in batches.

What is the catch? Well, these advanced flatbed scanners with ADF are expensive.

2. Using a Sheetfed Scanner

Brother High-Speed Desktop Document Scanner,...

A sheetfed scanner can be duplex or simplex, so let’s see how it works in both these types of scanners.

Scanning Both Sides With A Simplex Scanner

With simplex scanners, scanning both sides can be inconvenient and time consuming, but still, it can be done:

  1. 1
    Feed the documents into the scanner and let it process.
  2. 2
    The scanners only capture the images of the document, and if these are the double-sided pages then the pages will be saved into your computer or any folder as 1,3,5, and 7.
  3. 3
    Now for the other side, put the pages with the reverse side and let it process.
  4. 4
    Save the files as PDFs and once the process is complete.
  5. 5
    Use the option of PDF Interleave for rearranging the documents.
  6. 6
    The pages will be arranged, and thus both sides of documents will be scanned.
Scanning Double Sided Documents with a Duplex Sheetfed Scanner

Scanning two sides with a duplex scanner become easy and convenient as they are designed to capture both sides of the paper in a single pass.

  1. 1
    Feed the document into the feeder.
  2. 2
    You may refer to the manufacturer’s manual, but usually, you need to go into the configuration settings of the scanner and select the option of scanning a two-sided document.

Rest is easy, these scanners use two lens to read the read the documents from both sides simultaneously.

3. Overhead

ScanSnap SV600 Overhead Book and Document...

Overhead scanners are another excellent choice for scanning both sides, In fact, if you want to scan a book or an uneven document, then overhead scanners are by far the best.

They are operated either by the press of a button or with a pedal.

Some scanners like the Fujitsu Scansnap SV600 can even automatically detect the turning of page and perform the scan as the page turns.

Unfortunately, a good quality overhead scanner can put a serious dent in your wallet.

4. Wand Scanners

VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Document Scanner...

Wands scanners are affordable, versatile and portable. Unfortunately, they are not the fastest scanners around.

If you want ease of use and you want to scan double sided documents on the go, then wand scanners are the best.

They are small and compact so they can easily fit in your backpack.

Double sided scanning with wand scanners is fairly simple and straightforward. Wand scanners work with an internal memory that saves the scanned documents to be transferred to the computer later.

The downside is that scanning straight requires meticulous handwork. Therefore, it is prone to scanning errors.


Therefore, the answer to the question: how to scan a double sided document, depends upon the type of scanner you get.

If you are looking for the fastest double sided scanner, then single pass sheetfed scanners are the way to go.

If you are looking cheap scanner that has a high scan quality, flatbed is the way to. However, they require manual flipping.

If you want a portable and a compact scanner, we recommend the wand scanners.

Lastly, if you want to scan books and other odd shaped documents, we recommend overhead scanners.