Scanners Articles

What Is A Single Pass Automatic Document Feeder Scanner?

what is a single pass automatic document feeder scanner

A Single-pass automatic document feeder captures both sides of a document simultaneously. That means you don’t have to flip the side of the document for scanning its other side.

It’s a great option for organizations with heavy scanning needs.

In this article, we will learn about what is a single pass automatic document feeder scanner and see how it can be useful for your business or personal needs.

However, before that let’s have a look at what is an Automatic Document Feeder.

An automatic document feeder (ADF) allows you to scan a batch of papers in one time.

Unlike regular flatbed scanners, you don’t have to put each document one by one on its panel for scanning.

It is excellent for personal use, or offices which have huge scanning needs in routine and putting each paper one by one on the flatbed surface is not only time-taking but costly too as it involves a lot of manual work.

So ADF can scan a batch of papers; let’s say 20-50 pages at a time and keep working while your staff is free to see other work in the meantime.

Note that while typical scanners with the ADF mechanism are sheetfed scanners like the Brother ADS 2200. You can find the ADF mechanism in flatbed scanners as well.

Definition of Single Pass Scanning

Single pass scanning is a mechanism for duplex scanning.

A single pass scanner can scan both sides of the document in one single pass through of the sheet.

You neither have to flip the side of the paper manually, nor is there is a mechanism to turn the page internally (RADF).

How A Single-Pass ADF is Different from A Reversing Automatic Document Feeder


RADF Mechanism [source: Wikipedia]

To understand what is a single pass automatic document feeder scanner, you also need to know what a Reversing Automatic Document Feeder (RADF) scanner is.

Both Single Pass Document Feeder (SPDF) and Reversing Document Feeder are kinds of Automatic Document Feeders.

They both are ADF mechanism for Duplex scanning. Meaning, they both allow double sided scans.

With the RADF, the paper goes in and the scanner scans one side of the document. It then reverses the paper with an internal mechanism to scan the second side. Essentially, this mechanism has two passes.

A Single Pass Document Feeder scanner, as the name suggests, scan both sides of the document in a single pass.

Why is this important? Well, single pass document feeder scanners are certainly faster. It may not matter if you have a small volume of document to scan.

But consider scanning papers in hundreds or even thousands of paper like books, an old stack of papers, some legal documents in bulk, then a single pass make more sense.

How To choose Between A RADF and SPDP

It depends on your scanning needs obviously, but if the choice is between an RDF and Single-Pass ADF, then our suggestion is to go for the single pass one.

Unless of course if you are getting a great deal on an RADF scanner and you are certain that you can live with the slower speeds of an RADF.

You must remember that even if your scanning needs do not require you to scan two-sided documents, devices like scanners are not bought every day. You would expect such a device to keep working years after and you may need to scan both sides in the future quickly.

So it’s better to cover everything while you are at it. A single-pass Document feeder will work just as good for one-sided documents too. And the extra cost is generally minimal considering the kind of benefits it will provide.

What Are Single-pass Document Feeders Good For?

Single-Pass document Feeder can be utilized in many ways for example:

Scanning in large Organizations:

Single-Pass document feeders are designed to cater to the needs of a large organization.

The basic purpose behind it is to facilitate large workgroups with huge scanning needs.

These are efficient and high-speed scanners that can deal with hundreds of papers within minutes.

So organizations or offices can make use of Single-Pass ADFs with minimum manual work involved.

Scanning Old Photos

These scanners are ideal for scanning old photos.

Digitizing old photographs is an excellent way to store and share your old family photographs.

These old photographs may have little notes, dates, or names behind to preserve the old memories.

Automatic Document Feeders are an excellent way for digitizing a stack of photos in a convenient way.

Related: Best Scanners For Polaroid Pictures

Scanning Books and Magazines

If your work involves digitizing books or magazines, then a single pass document feeder can be helpful.

Though there are specific scanners available for scanning books like overhead scanners or wand scanners, if you have an ADF with Single Pass mechanism then you can certainly scan books and magazines and create your digital library fairly quickly.

You will have to unbind the books and magazines though, but if you can do that, then the work becomes easy and convenient.

Saving Time

One of the huge pluses of Single-pass ADFs is that they are time-saving. Now time is essential for an office environment. Time = money if you are running a business.

The single pass ADFs are high-speed scanners that can scan many documents within a snap saving your time.

Repetitive Scanning

single pass scanner

Scanning a lot of document in a single pass is very convenient.

Flipping sides of few pages are easy, but if you have to repeat the job a hundred times, it becomes tiresome and boring.

Saving Money

By using Single-pass ADFs, you don’t need to pay extra for the manual work involved.

The scanner is efficient enough to deal with a lot of work without any external help, and that saves labor, time, and cost.

Scanning Old and Worn out pages

If you need to scan old and worn-out pages, then the single pass ADF saves you the trouble of carefully passing the document in the same feeder.

You don’t have to risk putting the same page into the feeder again for double sided scanning. The single pass ADF will capture both sides within a snap.


In short, to answer the question: What is a Single Pass Automatic Document Feeder Scanner?

These are basically scanners with two important functionalities. First, they have an Automatic Document Feeder, this allows you to batch scan.

Secondly, they have a single pass duplex scanning mechanism. Duplex is different from simplex in that the scanner can scan both sides of the paper in a single pass.

There is no doubt that Single-Pass ADFs are useful and bring a lot of efficiency and productivity to your workplace. You can manage your documents and paperwork more efficiently, and it helps you to go paperless with convenience and ease.

However, since they are expensive, they are usually preferred by those who have a huge scanning volume.