What Is an ADF Scanner?


An automatic document feed (ADF) scanner has the ability to scan large volumes of documents in a short amount of time. The scanner reads each document and creates a digital image in a format that can be saved on a personal computer, shared on a network or sent in an email. The ADF scanner is a valuable tool for businesses that want to work in a paperless environment.


The automation feature of an ADF scanner differentiates it from a standard flatbed scanner. A regular flatbed scanner requires each document to be placed on the scanner one sheet at a time. With an ADF scanner, the input tray holds the stack of documents ready for scanning and zips each one through without oversight.

Media Types

An ADF scanner accommodates a variety of paper sizes, including cards, receipts and letter-sized documents. In addition, certain models scan textured paper, thick paper and two-sided documents.


The brand and style of automatic document feed scanner purchased will determine the exact speed of the scanning process. ADF scanners fall into three speed categories. The low-volume category offers speeds that scan 10 to 25 pages per minute; the scanners in the mid-volume category scan 26 to 40 pages per minute; and the high-volume models scan documents with rates reaching approximately 80 pages per minute.

Scanner Options

The automatic document feed scanner comes in a standalone unit used only for digital images, and certain styles of copy machines also offer the ADF scanning feature. A copy machine ADF scanner functions in the same manner as the standalone unit, but instead of creating digital images, it provides copies of the documents.

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