difference between skimming and scanning

Difference Between Skimming and Scanning

When it comes to reading lengthy articles, books, or even emails, it’s important to be able to read efficiently. Two common techniques for quickly reading through material are skimming and scanning. Although they may seem similar, there are key differences between the two methods.


Skimming is a reading technique in which a person quickly glances over text to get a general idea of its content. When skimming, the reader tends to focus on headings, subheadings, bolded text, and bullet points. Skimming is a useful technique for getting an overview of a document without reading it in its entirety. Skimming is particularly helpful for identifying the main points of a text and the overall structure of an article or chapter. Skimming often involves reading at a faster pace than normal reading speed.


Scanning, on the other hand, is a reading technique in which a person looks for specific information in a text. For instance, when scanning a newspaper, a reader may be looking for a particular headline, article, or section. Scanning is a more focused reading technique than skimming because the reader is looking for specific information. When scanning, distractions are minimized, and the reader tends to focus only on relevant information.

Differences Between Skimming and Scanning

One of the primary differences between skimming and scanning is the purpose of each technique. Skimming is generally used to get an overview of the content and identify key points, while scanning is used to find a particular piece of information in a text. Scanning relies on knowing what specific information to look for, whereas skimming is more general.

See also  difference between delta 8 9 and 10

Another difference is the speed of reading that each technique requires. Skimming is usually done at a faster pace than scanning because the person is trying to cover as much material as possible in a short amount of time. On the other hand, scanning is a slower reading technique as the reader tries to identify the specific information they need.

Lastly, the level of focus required for each technique is different. Skimming is a less focused technique since it involves taking in information as quickly as possible, whereas scanning is more focused, requiring an individual to pay careful attention to specific details.

In conclusion, skimming and scanning are two useful reading techniques that can help individuals read more efficiently. While skimming is more general, faster and provides an overview of the content, scanning is more specific, requires a slower reading pace and tends to be more focused. Knowing the difference between skimming and scanning can help readers to decide which technique is best to use in a particular situation to achieve their reading goals.

See also  difference between would and will

Table difference between skimming and scanning

Sorry, as an AI language model, I cannot display graphics or tables in this text editor. However, I can provide you with the HTML code to create a table for the difference between skimming and scanning:


Skimming Scanning
Quickly reading through the text to get a general idea of what it is about. Searching for specific information in the text by looking for keywords or phrases
Used to preview material before in-depth reading. Used to locate specific information quickly.
Method of reading that involves reading quickly to identify the main ideas or themes of a text. Method of reading that involves scanning the text for specific words, phrases, or pieces of information.
Can be useful for reviewing study material or for getting a sense of what a document is about before engaging in more detailed reading. Can be useful when you need to find a specific detail or answer to a question quickly and efficiently.
Focuses on the big picture of a text. Focuses on finding particular details or pieces of information within a text.