How to Scan Double Sided Documents

1800 Office SOlutions Team member - Elie Vigile
1800 Team

Scanning is an easy and convenient way to take real-world papers and move them into your digital space. This makes them easier to organize files and keep track of. Scanning double sided documents can be challenging though.

It is important to note that you may sometimes see 2 sided papers referred to as duplex. The two terms mean the same thing period duplex or double-sided both refers to papers that have printed on both sides.

These kinds of duplex papers can be easily scanned using most scanners and copiers. How easy will depend on the particular scanner or copier that you are using?

Home Scanners

Most home scanners can make scanning 2 sided documents a bit more challenging. Home scanners are typically designed to scan a small to moderate a number of documents. These are great for when you have one or two papers that need to be scanned. If you have a large stack of documents a home scanner can make the work cumbersome.

Flatbed Scanners

Unfortunately, flatbed scanners can only scan one side of a paper at a time period this means that you will need to manually flip the paper over and scan it the second time to capture the second side.

Flatbed Scanners

For obvious reasons, this is not the ideal way to scan 2 sided documents. If you only have one document it’s not a big deal, but if you have a whole stack of papers you may want to look for a more efficient scanning option.

Sheetfed Scanners

If your home scanner happens to be a sheet-fed scanner, the situation maybe even worse. If you feed a stack of papers into a sheet-fed scanner, it will capture pages 1, 3, 5, etc rather than capturing the pages in order.

Sheetfed Scanners

This means you’ll end up with two digital documents. One document will have odd-numbered pages and the other document will have even number pages. You can use a PDF interleave option to arrange these documents, but you will want to be comfortable with that feature in your PDF application.

Overhead Scanners

Overhead scanners work similarly to snapping a picture using your smartphone. This makes them great for odd-shaped documents or odd-size documents. It also means that the quality of the scan is never as great as flatbed or office scanners.

Overhead Scanners

Overhead scanners do make it easier to flip the paper as you scan each page individually. This allows you to avoid the interleave option on your PDF application but will require that you constantly flip the paper.

Wand Scanners

While wand scanners are very portable and work with a wide range of document sizes, they can be challenging to use. You must hold them very steady and move them at a steady rate to capture the document without smearing it. This is the biggest drawback to wand or bar scanners.

Wand Scanners

Office Copiers and Scanners

Luckily most large office copiers have scanner features built-in. Typically, you can go to the main menu of the copier and choose scan and send or scan and save. The exact options may vary depending on the brand of copier and scanner however the basics should be the same.

Once you’ve decided if you want your scans to stay on the copier so that you can print them from there or to be emailed to you, you can decide what other specific settings you want to use.

If you choose to scan and send your papers via email, you will then be able to choose settings like the contrast between colors and the number of sides. This is where you want to select the option for 2-sided scanning.


If you have just a few papers that need to be scanned on both sides, any scanner can do the job. Just know that you will need to flip the paper and scan the front and back separately.

If you have a larger number of papers to scan, you may want to find an office-style copier or scanner. This may end up requiring that you take it to a professional, but it will certainly make the process less cumbersome.

Most office scanners allow you to change the setting to specifically work for 2 sided, or duplex, documents. This will allow you to scan very large numbers of pages efficiently.

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