Don’t be alarmed. ADF isn’t a hashtag for some new social media trend; it’s not a new rock band, or an airport code. In the world of print imaging, ADF stands for automatic document feeder. Having seen and entered a good number of product specifications in my time at gap intelligence, I have lost track of the numerous questions we have received for this unassuming copier and printer accessory. I am here to clear up some of the misunderstandings of the ADF.

What is an ADF?

An ADF or automatic document feeder sits on top of the device, whether it is a copier, printer, scanner, or fax, and can feed multiple sheets of paper one at a time. It can be a standard or an optional accessory to a printer or copier. If it is an optional accessory, then an ADF usually replaces a platen cover. A platen cover is a flat cover that sits on top of the scanner area of the device. Without the ADF, one would need to individually scan each side of a document manually. That means lifting the platen cover and setting down the document. Then scanning it, opening the cover again to flip the document, and lastly scanning the other side. This is not the most efficient use of time in busy offices.

What are the different types of ADFs?

There are several different types of ADFs. We will address the most commonly used options in the printing devices that we track at gap intelligence. A general ADF feeds a document on the top of the device to eliminate the need to lift up the cover in order to copy or scan a document. Its function is to simply feed multiple sheets into the device one by one.

The two most common ADFs are the DADF and RADF, both of which can duplex paper (i.e. print/scan on both sides) but in different ways. A DADF is a duplexing document feeder that allows a document to pass through once in order to scan both sides of the sheet. The document is fed into the feeder, and since it has the ability to scan both sides of the document in a single pass, it is generally faster in speed. This is particularly true for two-sided documents. An RADF on the other hand is a reversing document feeder. It feeds a sheet through and scans one side. It then flips the document to scan the other side. So the document does not go through in a single pass, but instead has to reverses the sheet within the feeder to capture the other side of the document.

RADF paper path

For the most part, brands identify this accessory by similar names. Please see the table below to see how brands describe this accessory. In addition, we list how gap intelligence identifies the ADF in our Pricing and Promotions (P&P) Reports for printers and MFP-copiers.

Brand descriptions for ADFs
When we are unable to identify the type of feeder due to a lack of signal words such as reversing, dual, or single pass in the product datasheets, then we categorize unspecified ADFs as a general ADF in our product specifications. If we obtain more information at a later date, then we update our product specifications with the new information we collected.

So now that ADFs have been defined, please let us know if there are other specifications you would like more information about.

For more than 16 years, gap intelligence has served manufacturers and sellers by providing world-class services monitoring, reporting, and analyzing the 4Ps: prices, promotions, placements, and products. Email us at or call us at 619-574-1100 to learn more.