Many people rely on the flatbed scanners built into all-in-one printers for all their scanning, but if you’re scanning at all regularly, you can often get better quality results from a dedicated device. It needn’t cost that much, either, as the £65 Xerox 7600i shows.
There’s nothing particularly striking in the looks of the scanner. It has a gunmetal-coloured case with a cover that hinges to the back. The hinges don’t extend, which could make scanning from books and magazines awkward.
The device uses an LED light source and a Contact Image Sensor (CIS) scan head. Both these technologies have improved considerably in the last couple of years.
There are three re-definable buttons set into the scanner’s front edge, which by default link into the Visioneer OneTouch software, to scan directly to email, to a printer for a quick copy and to a custom device.
Xerox markets the machine as a portable device and it weighs only 1.62kg, so is easily moved. It will fit in most briefcases, so it would be feasible to take it with you, though it would be useful to have some way of clipping the lid shut, when in transit.
At the back, there’s just a single USB socket. The scanner is powered from this connection as well as transferring data through it.
One of its best features is the software bundle it comes with. While none of the applications is in its latest version, they are all full copies, not Limited Edition cut-downs. The software alone has a higher price than Xerox asks for the 7600i.
Xerox’s consumer flatbed scanners are made in collaboration with Visioneer, so it’s no surprise that OneTouch software is included. What’s more unusual are the copies of PaperPort 12 and OmniPage 17, both from Nuance.
PaperPort is a document management system which makes it very easy to scan single or multi-page documents – though with multi-page ones you’ll have to scan them a page at a time – and direct them to a variety of target applications.
It automatically detects the applications you might target and includes OCR to convert text for destinations such as Word or Excel. Much more sophisticated OCR is available from OmniPage, though, which can load page images from files and cameras, as well as from the scanner’s output and convert all to editable text.
OmniPage 17 is one of the most accurate applications of its type and once recognised pages can be saved in a wide variety of different formats, including searchable PDF.