What is the difference between pull and push scanning?

When it comes to network scanning on multifunction printers, it is often broadly divided into two separate categories. These categories are known as ‘push scanning’ and ‘pull scanning’, but what does this mean?

Check out the definitions below to help you understand the difference:


The retrieval of the scanned document is initiated at the user’s computer and is “pulled” from the scanner with software often included by the manufacturer.

The most common pull methods are Scan-to-hard-drive and Twain.


The scanned document is transmitted, or pushed, to a destination by the MFP using one of a variety of network protocols. This can be less straightforward and sometimes requires some knowledge on network protocols or assistance from an IT professional.

The most common push methods are FTP, SMB and E-mail scanning.

Look out for more posts on the methods of scanning available, which will help you choose what is the best setup for your home or office.