What is A Pen Scanner And How Does It Work?

Want the texts from your favorite storybook to come alive and tell the story to you out loud?Meet the brand-new pen of this digital time called “Pen Scanner” that scans the text and reads it back to you!

According to a study by Business Insider, most of the students prefer reading on screen rather than books. From highlighting important texts to transferring them to smartphone or PC instantly, pen scanners are the perfect tool to rely on.

So, for students and professionals, this type of pen is ideal for saving time and scanning important notes on the go!

Curious to know more about what is a pen scanner and how does it work?

Let’s give you some ideas about this digital tool that empowers you to increase productivity and be of great assistance to you in life!

What Is A Pen Scanner?

What Is A Pen Scanner

Pen scanners are often recognized as “Wand Scanner”.


Well, the way this pen reads a full line of text within 1 second is nothing less than magic, to be honest!

A pen scanner is basically an input device that scans the text from a book and transfers it into digital data for your convenience.

The scanned data can be uploaded to a PC, smartphone or any other digital device via USB or Bluetooth. The device is compatible with various computer applications such as Word, Excel, etc.

Anatomy Of A Pen Scanner

Anatomy Of A Pen Scanner

A regular ballpoint pen has a barrel that acts its body. On one point of the barrel, the nib of the pen exists. On the other end, you will find a clip with a retractable plunger attached to it.

When the user clicks the button on top, the ink tip get reveals with which you can write on.Pretty simply anatomy, right?

A pen scanner, on the other hand, has completely different parts and components than a regular pen!

As there are different types of pen scanner models out there, a lot of them come with some unique built and features. We are going to present you with a generalized version of digital pen scanners you will find in most of the models.

Scanning Window

Scanning Window

The scanner is one of the main components of this digital pen. To read each character, the device needs scanning technology installed in it.

The scanner is usually positioned at the end of the pen. To convert printed text into digital data, some models use OCR (Optical character recognition) for your convenience.

Connecting Component

To help the gadget store data and transmit them to a digital device, pen scanners provide connectivity options for you. It’s indicated by a Bluetooth sign that lights up whenever it gets connected to a device.

Depending on what model you are going to purchase, the device is going to use either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology to send the data digitally to computers or smartphones.

Power Supply

Pen Scanner

Pen scanners usually have a battery inside them that is rechargeable with USB. The battery-powered devices have onboard flash memory that can store data when you are scanning with your pen. You will notice a micro USB connector port for that purpose.

However, some models may not have that convenience and need to be connected with your PC via USB while in operation.



While most of the models don’t have any screen attached, some pen scanners come with an integrated OLED display screen for your convenience. The screen shows you the word and the definition of the word it’s scanning at the same time.



Depending on what model you are using, there may be several buttons on the pen scanner. The “On/Off” button powers the device on or off, the “OK” button allows you to confirm certain operations and the “Up/Down/Right/Left” option helps you move or focus the cursor in a different direction as you wish.

Speaker And Mic

Speaker is used for reading text out loud. However, if headphones are connected to the device, the speaker gets muted.

Some newer versions of pen scanners also come with a microphone that can be used to record voice memos. With the help of a microphone, you can record audio and save it on the device for later use. You can transfer also transfer the audio to your PC or smartphone at your convenience.

How Does A Pen Scanner Work?

How Does A Pen Scanner Work

Pen scanners don’t have the ability to read the whole document or a full article at a time!Instead, it works by scanning text snippets one by one, storing them in its memory and then passing the selected passages to another device.

For pens that don’t have any built-in storage, they need to be hooked up to the computer to perform the transfer process.

Different Features Of A Pen Scanner

There are lots of things a pen scanner can provide you with. But keep in mind, not all devices are built the same way. So, some features may be available in one version while some are not.

Ability To Convert Text Into Speech

Pen scanners come with the ability to reading the texts out loud while scanning. This feature allows you to listen to the texts while transferring data to your mobile or PC. Therefore, you get to learn and comprehend what the pen is scanning at the same time.

Translating Different Languages

Don’t know Polish language?

Not a problem! A pen scanner can translate the words for you!

Depending on what model you are using, this device can translate to any language you select once you slide the pen over your desired text. You can translate textbooks or master a completely foreign language in this way.

Recording Reminders

With a built-in microphone and speaker system, pen scanners allow you to record audio files. You can set reminders and save important notes in this way and retrieve the file anytime if you want to listen later.

Collecting And Exporting Data

Of course, the main purpose of a pen scanner is to collect and export data from printed text to digital devices!

All you have to do is to glide the pen across the printed text and the words will appear on the screen before your eyes instantly. Depending on what model you are using, a full-length text takes only 1 second to appear from texts to the screen.

Scanning Barcodes And Hand-Printed Data

Some models come with some special abilities like scanning bar codes and RFID tags. You can also use such pens to scan hand-printed data and upload them to your PC or other digital devices.

Scanning Small Images

Usually, pen scanners aren’t compatible with image-scanning technology. However, some models can scan small black and white images and save them in their internal storage or pass them onto a digital device according to your preference.

Searching The Meaning And Pronunciation Of A Word

Pen scanner saves your time by finding out the meaning of any word you slide the pen over. The built-in scanner in the device translates the words instantly. The device has an integrated dictionary that can also pronounce the looked-up word with a natural voice.

Required Software

Most operating systems automatically detect pen scanners allows you to import images from the device. However, manufacturers often include specific software to make things easier for you. 

The devices are typically associated with some kind of software (e.g. OCR) that can translate images to text. You can edit that particular text with the word processing software on your PC later.

Additional Accessories

Pen scanners often offer additional accessories that are necessary for operating the device. The accessories may include a USB adapter, stand for resting the pen in it, carry pouches, etc. If your pen uses a microSD card, then you may need a card adapter as an additional accessory.

To help keep the pen scanner clean and the contact image sensor dirt-free, some manufacturers also include cleaning cloth with it.

Tips For Using A Pen Scanner

  • To scan the texts, you should hold the pen upright properly. Holding the pen at a 45-Degree angle or less may result in failure to scan the texts correctly.
  • Only one line should be scanned at a time. the line should always be in the middle of two tips of the pen scanner.
  • You should slide the pen across the printed text in a fluid motion. Going too fast or too slow may result in missing words in the middle.
  • To keep an even motion on the paper, there shouldn’t be any excessive pressure on the pen scanner.
  • Before you begin scanning, make sure the device is powered on and connected properly.

Final Words

Pen scanners are a great invention for students, professionals, language learners and especially those people who are visually impaired/have learning disabilities.

These handheld devices come in a compact size that’s easy to carry and has an overall comfortable design. Now that you know what is a pen scanner and how does it work, hopefully, you will be able to save valuable time and use it wisely. 

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