We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is an Automatic Document Feeder?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An automatic document feeder is a device that feeds multiple sheets of paper into the bed of a copier, scanner or fax machine for automatic rather than manual operation. The capacity of the feeder can vary, and it can handle duplication of both sides of each document, not just one side. Many manufacturers of scanners, copiers, all-in-one devices, fax machines and so forth build an automatic document feeder into their design or sell an attachment for users who want to add one later.

Without a document feeder, the operator needs to manually feed each sheet of paper in or lay it out on the platen used as the bed of a copier or scanner. This can be time-consuming, and it can generate errors. A fax machine, for example, might terminate a connection if the user is too slow and fails to feed the next page in time. Especially if the operator needs copies of both sides, not just one, manual document feeding can be time-consuming and error-prone.

The automatic document feeder allows an operator to insert a stack of papers, program the machine and walk away while it copies, scans or transmits the information on the documents. Some machines use a reversing technology to pull data from one side and then the other, and others operate in duplexing mode to scan both sides. The automatic document feeder has guides to keep the paper in place while the machine processes the job, and these can be adjusted to accommodate different paper sizes.

Installation of an automatic document feeder does add bulk and can make the top or opening much heavier than other models. It is important for a user to be careful with a document feeder that is mounted to a swing-up top such as the kind used on many copiers and scanners. If the operator does not handle the top carefully, the document feeder might slam into the table or wall, and it might not work properly if the impact breaks something inside.

Errors can occur with an automatic document feeder. Very thin paper sheets might stick together, and thick paper might be too bulky for the device to handle. Textured paper or paper that has deckled edges can also jam. At best, this might cause a problem with the job, but it also could ruin the original. If paper is fragile, oddly sized, very thick or very thin, it might be a better idea for it to be fed through manually.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a EasyTechJunkie researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By allenJo — On Dec 13, 2011

@SkyWhisperer - The reality is that there are some devices for which you can only feed a page at a time. My flatbed scanner is one such example.

I can only lay one document at a time on the flatbed. I suppose that there are some scanners which have document feeders, but I haven’t seen them. Perhaps they are not for consumer use.

I have no need for it anyway, as I usually have only a few items that I need to scan.

By SkyWhisperer — On Dec 12, 2011

@miriam98 - That’s strange. I only get errors when I feed one sheet at a time into the printer. The paper gets squished and crumpled up.

I have a theory as to why this happens. I think there is a spring or something on the printer feeder that lets it know there is paper there. If you only feed one sheet then there isn’t enough weight so it messes the printing job.

I don’t know if that’s how it really works but that’s just my assumption. However, printing one at a time definitely creates problems. I’ve found that even if I only need to print one sheet I just load a whole stack of paper anyway.

By miriam98 — On Dec 11, 2011

My all in one printer has an automatic document feeder. So far, I say it’s a mixed blessing. Yes, you can lay stacks of paper all at once and let it print them unattended.

However, sometimes I get paper jams and at other times the papers get shifted diagonally so the printing is not straight. What I usually have to do to get best results is to hold the stack with my hand, as the printer sucks in at least the first few sheets.

This ensures that the stack is straight, and if I ever need to give a paper a little nudge I can do so. I definitely don’t load more than twenty sheets at a time.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.