A scanner is a device that converts an image from a printed page to a computer file.The most important type of scanner in this context is the flatbed because with it you can scan pages from books at a high resolution to a computer file which can be edited. Scanned documents can be accessed by assistive technology devices such as speech synthesizers, text enlargers, or Braille embossers.


Screen reader software programs that work in conjunction with speech synthesizers provide verbalization of everything on the screen including control buttons, menus, text, and punctuation. They can provide access to print materials and manuals after they have been scanned into a computer and make a computer accessible to someone with limited or no vision.

More useful information about scanning technology and (optical character recognition) OCR from Better Living Through Techology . . .

Technological Requirements

The most important consideration here is to ensure that the scanner chosen is compatible with the users operating system.

Some scanner examples:

HP ScanjetG3110

Canon CanoScan 600F

SARA Scanning and Reading device

Scanning Software

There are programs available which enable the scanner to scan a document - and then read the scanned text out aloud. Some programs are specially designed to aid people for low or no vision.

Basic settings for a scanner

Scanning an image with a scanner

How to use a scanner efficiently

Scan a document on an all-in-one printer/scanner

OCR Desktop (free version to download) (

screenshot of ocr desktop

OCR desktop. Source:

Some text help programs incorporate such a scanning function to help people with reading difficulties such as Dyslexia. Here are a few examples:

Kurzweil 1000 provides blind users access to printed and electronic materials. Scanned print documents and digital files (such as eBooks or email) are converted from text to speech and read aloud. The software speaks text aloud in a variety of natural-sounding voices that can be modified to suit individual preferences. In addition, it provides users with document creation and editing as well as study skills capabilities for note taking, summarizing and outlining text.

Kurzweil 3000 is a comprehensive reading, writing and learning software solution for any struggling reader, including individuals with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, attention deficit disorder or those who are English Language Learners. Kurzweil case studies . . .

Kurzweil 3000 main toolbars

Kurzweil 3000 Main scanning menu

Kurzweil 3000 Writing toolbar

Kurzweil product line:

  • Kurzweil 3000 Professional Color Provides for the creation and delivery of electronic documents. Documents can be scanned in color or black and white or opened from another application and saved into Kurzweil 3000 proprietary format.
  • Kurzweil 3000 Professional Black and White Provides the same features as the Color Professional product, but documents can be scanned in black and white only. Documents scanned in color using the Professional Color product can be displayed in color in the Professional Black and White and LearnStation products.
  • Kurzweil 3000 LearnStation Allows users to open previously scanned documents as well as other electronic documents. Kurzweil 3000 LearnStation provides the same reading, writing and learning tools as the Kurzweil 3000 Professional product.

Also have a look at OCR scanning

TextHelp Read & Write Gold is a literacy support tool designed to assist users of all ages who require extra assistance when reading or composing text. It also includes a scanner which scans text and speaks it out aloud. More information and videos about this product . . .

Scanning pen (generic)

Scanning pens come in different forms. The two main types are; dictionary pen, which gives definitions of scanned words, and a note taking pen, which will record the scanned text and allows it to be transferred to a computer.