There are hundreds of scanners on the market and the price/performance of these peripherals changes constantly. The scanner manufacturers mentioned are ones that have been tested with our Remark Office OMR software and are popular with our current user base. We do not advocate one manufacturer over another, but are simply trying to give you a feel for what is out there and what people are using. If you are looking for a scanner, your best bet is to do your homework; talk to the manufacturers, read reviews, find the features you will need, and then find the best price.
The scanners supported by the Remark Office OMR software are image scanners, ones that produce an image of the item that is scanned. For software applications such as Remark Office OMR, the software then looks at that image and outputs data. When purchasing a scanner, there are several items to consider, including speed, price (your budget), duplex capabilities (scanning two sides of a piece of paper at once), automatic document feeder (ADF), the size of paper that can be scanned, and how the scanner will be used. For Remark Office OMR purposes, you want a scanner that can handle document scanning well. An Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) is a must. An ADF minimizes the operator interaction by allowing you to scan a stack of forms at a time. The scanner processes all forms in the feeder before you have to become involved again. If you will be using your scanner for other applications, make sure that the scanner you purchase has the features needed by the other applications. Some popular scanning applications include graphics (scanning pictures), OCR/ICR (scanning and processing characters and handwriting such as invoices and other forms), and document management (scanning and storing paper documents to disk). Most scanners are now color capable. While you do not need to scan in color in Remark Office OMR, it may make a big difference if you are going to be scanning pictures for a brochure, for instance, with the same scanner. The resolution of the scanner should also be considered. Resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi). In general, as resolution increases, so does image quality. Remark Office OMR normally needs only 200-300 dpi which can be produced by virtually any scanner. Again, if you plan to use the scanner for other purposes, high-resolution capabilities may be important.
The speed at which Remark Office OMR can process forms is largely tied to the speed of the scanner being used. The speed at which a scanner can scan pages is measured in pages per minute (ppm) and/or images per minute (ipm). If your scanner can only scan five pages per minute, there is no hope of Remark Office OMR reading more than five pages per minute. When choosing the speed, consider your overall form volume, as well as how many forms you will scan during a single scanning session. You can then determine the speed you require to do the job at hand.
Scanners are connected to the host PC through a cable, typically using USB. Communication between software and scanner is through a “driver.” There are several different scanner communication protocols that can be used to control scanners. Remark Office OMR supports the most common protocol, TWAIN. The TWAIN protocol is widely supported in all scanner types. Most scanners currently used by Remark Office OMR customers ship with a TWAIN driver. When you connect your scanner to your computer, you install the manufacturer’s TWAIN driver. The scanner can then “talk to” software applications such as Remark Office OMR.
Scanners come in three basic categories: High-End, Mid-Range and Low-End. We consider a high-end scanner to be a scanner capable of scanning more than 60 pages per minute (ppm). They will often accommodate larger paper sizes, as well, allowing you to create items such as 11×17 booklets.
The mid-range of the scanning world includes scanners in the 20-40 page per minute (ppm) range. Many scanners in this range have duplex scanning capabilities. Scanners in this class are very popular with Remark Office OMR users.
When it comes to low-end scanners, keep the old adage in mind, “you get what you pay for.” Low-end scanners likely scan at rates of 10 pages per minute or less. If your scanning volume is low, a low-end scanner may be all that you need. However, many (but not all) low-end scanners are geared more toward scanning graphics and are not necessarily well suited for document scanning. Many of these scanners do not even have an optional ADF, which makes them unlikely candidates for use here.
There are many scanner manufacturers in the marketplace, and as with anything, quality varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. We test many scanners and get feedback from our customers about what scanners they are using. The following manufacturers are popular with Remark Office OMR users:
There are many multi-function printers available today. These printers can scan, fax, print, and copy, all from one unit. The scanning capabilities on these systems may vary. MFP devices are typically either supported by Remark Office OMR through a TWAIN driver, or they may be free standing, network-based devices that are directly supported by Remark. With an MFP not directly supported with the Remark software, you may scan forms and save them as image files using another scanning application. Depending on the system, you can drop your forms into the scanner and with the push of a button, have the forms scanned and the resulting images sent to another location where Remark Office OMR can then read them. If the MFP is connected to a computer, you may be able utilize its TWAIN driver to scan directly into Remark Office OMR.
The following MFP manufacturers are popular with Remark Office OMR users:
It is important to note that if you are looking for a dedicated scanning system, a regular image scanner connected to a PC running Remark Office OMR may be your best bet. However, if you are looking for a larger, automated solution or need to purchase equipment that can be shared across your environment, a MFP may be a good solution for you.
For more information, it is advised that you contact the scanner manufacturer or your local reseller. Shop carefully, as price varies from store to store and website to website. Feel free to contact other users on our Remark Facebook page to learn more about their experiences with particular scanners. If you are considering the Remark software and already have a scanner, try out our demo.