How to Scan a Photo From Printer to Computer

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Updated November 17, 2022

Many modern top-performing printers can perform various tasks that go above and beyond simple print jobs. This includes the scanning of documents. Even if you’re using the best printer for photographers, some photos may need to be scanned and then digitally enhanced for specific cases.

The opposite of this is printing on photo paper, such as A4 photo paper, for quality prints. Moreover, did you know you could do photocopying with a printer and not just scanning?


  • Modern printers, such as multifunction printers, tend to include the ability to scan documents and transfer them to a computer or related device.
  • Find your printer’s scanning interface, which may require a bit of menu diving in order to locate.
  • Place the document on the printer’s platen, close the lid, set the file type you are converting to, and press start.

What is Scanning?

Scanning is a process by which a physical document, such as paper, is transferred into the digital realm. This can be highly useful for saving photos, important documents, emailing resumes, and the like. To enjoy faster scanning, read this guide to learn how to maximize the overall speed by adjusting your printer.

Scanning a Photograph From Your Printer to Your Computer

If you’ve recently asked yourself, “Why won’t my printer scan,” there’s a chance that the device is faulty or the software isn’t properly set up. Each printer will differ in how one scans a document to a computer or related device. However, we have assembled some universal tips and guidelines to follow.

Check Your Printer

Not all printers can scan documents. Generally speaking, multifunction or all-in-one printers tend to include a scanner. If you are unsure if your printer can scan documents, find the instruction manual and look it over for a section on scanning. You can also Google your particular make and model to see if a scanning option is available. As previously stated, multifunction printers usually have scanners, but some modern standard inkjet or laser printers can also have a scanning function. So, if you’re in need of a scanner, too, you’ll want to read our HP OfficeJet Pro 8620 review.

Insider Tip

Try to familiarize yourself with the entire scanning process before you begin.

Find the Scanning Interface

If your printer can indeed scan documents, you will need to manually begin the process by finding the scanning interface. This interface will differ depending on the make and model of your printer. We recommend going through the instructions and finding the pages on scanning, or you can always YouTube, a video tutorial of your individual printer model. In rare instances, there could simply be a “scan” button right on the exterior of the printer itself. Try to familiarize yourself with the entire scanning process before you begin. If you want simpler scanning, check out our Brother DS-720D review, a top-rated scanner/printer.

Complete the Scanning Process

Once you have the instructions sorted out, it is time to begin the scanning process. Each printer will differ as to actual instructions, but you will typically begin by placing a document on the printer’s platen. A platen is the glass surface accompanying the printer in which there is enough room for standard-sized documents. The platen will also be used to make photocopies of your printer boasts that feature. Once the document is resting on the platen, close the lid, set the file type you want the document to be saved as, and press start. If all went well, the document should have been scanned and placed in the relevant folder of your computer. Also, resetting a printer cartridge will help prevent ink waste.


Why can’t I connect my wireless printer or scan over the network?

Some printers need to manually be plugged into a computer in order to send a scan through, even if the printer is wireless. Though, many printers can handle wireless scanning. Check your Wi-Fi connection.

What do I do if I can’t find my pictures after scanning and saving photos?

If you are unsure where the scanned documents went on your computer, try to do a search using the file type of the document.

How can I make the picture bigger for scanning?

You don’t have to. Simply scan the picture as is and then zoom the document to your desired size once it has been transferred to the computer.

STAT: JPEG is not a good format for scanning, because it a lossy compression format, and you will always lose some data when saving to a JPEG, even if you save it at 100% quality. (source)

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