Stuartli 09:09 22 Sep 2003

A scanner, if this is what is meant, converts a photograph, book page or even, in some instances, a 3D image into a digital file, which can then be manipulated using appropriate software in a variety of ways.

In the case of text, an optical character recognition (OCR) program is used and the pages can then be stored in file form or edited in a word processing program. It saves a lot of time typing out text if this is needed for any reason.

You can buy basic flatbed scanners from around £30-£35 upwards - film scanners, usually for 35mm negatives, are much more expensive as the resolution requirements are very much higher.

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