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How to Scan Legal Size Documents: A Detailed Guide

Whether you work in an office or you are a freelancer, scanning legal-sized documents is something that you may be faced with daily. Now, as you would expect, by investing in a high-quality machine, you shouldn’t have any issues with the different options and sizes when it comes to scanning documents, photos, IDs, cards, bills, and receipts.

Still, for a new user, this can be all so confusing, especially if the manufacturer’s instructions aren’t detailed enough. So, to help you come up with the perfectly scanned legal-sized documents and stay productive at work, we have listed a few tips and tricks that you might find handy. Let’s take a look at how to scan legal size documents to make your life a lot easier.

What to Do If the Platen Is Not Large Enough?

There are a couple of issues that you might be having when wondering how to scan legal size documents. Among the most common ones certainly is the size of the glass platen – flatbed scanners usually don’t offer an adequate surface for scanning legal-sized docs. What this means is that you will have to use the Advanced Document Feeder to complete the scanning process. In that case, make sure that the ADF option is selected, or your scanner will not be able to register the page that is in the tray.

A good alternative is to print-out the legal-sized document into a few letter-sized sheets, and once you have done that, scan those separately. Then, software such as OmniPage 11 can help you merge the multiple letter-sized images into a single document. If your office has a photocopier, you can use it to copy the larger page into a letter-sized one, as long as it offers an adequate platen.

What Scanners are Suitable for Legal-sized Documents?

On the other hand, the method that will require the least effort is investing in a proper scanner. Now, you have to understand that as most flatbed scanners don’t feature a platen that is large enough, you will have to go for other options. Frankly, investing in a wand scanner or a sheetfed scanner can go a long way towards your success.

Still, be aware that using a wand model for scanning a legal-sized document can be quite demanding when it comes to ensuring a wrinkle-free document. Why? A scanner of this type may be able to accept the dimensions of such a document, but you will still have to keep steady and work your way slowly until the whole document is scanned.

Advantages of Using a Document Scanner

Now that we have suggested a few methods on how to scan legal sized documents, it is time that we go ahead and discuss a few benefits of using this machine in the first place. While it is present in most modern offices and you probably have one at your home as well, did you know that a proper document scanner can do much more than simply digitalize a sheet?

The first thing that we love about using a document scanner is that there will be no need for document storage once most of the relevant information is on your computer. Investing in a couple of scanners and photocopiers is a great way to modernize your business. Apart from increasing the security and safety of your documents, you will also be able to keep track of the documents that your employees are looking at the most. In case you need to prove that you comply with relevant laws when it comes to your business, sending in an electronic document is a great alternative to the traditional method.

You can back-up all the documents on cloud storage, which will allow you to stay worry-free when it comes to keeping all the documents in one site.

Not only will the confidential documents be safer, but you will also act eco-friendly as you will not be printing as much as you did before. Furthermore, cooperation with your employees will be improved, with everyone relevant having free access to the scanned documents.

You will also reduce the space in your office that was previously used for storing important records and documents. Furthermore, you will also be improving the overall productivity, as well as saving money and time, given the fact that the storage cost and the responsibility of your employees would be decreased.


Honestly, there is not a single reason why you wouldn’t get yourself a proper document scanner. A good one will allow you to scan and digitalize documents of any format, including letter, medium and legal-sized documents. Additionally, these don’t take as much space in your office, and you will free up a lot of space that was previously used for document storage. Overall, a document scanner is a great investment that you will not regret! We hope that this guide has helped you in your quest to scan legal size documents.

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