Here is a little more detailed information for you:
Yes most scanners with a USB connection should just jump and play almost immediately. Basically Windows will recognize the device and load any needed drivers. Then the scanned barcode data will read into almost any application that you can type into via a keyboard. You can use a handheld scanner gun or a wand device.
I can recommend this scanner to you if you are looking for something that is good and relatively inexpensive: Symbol LS2208, you can check it out at the CDW.com website - CDW Part:# 667179. This scanner also comes with a software programming utility that allows you to program the scanner in a variety of different ways if you need any more functionality other than just reading what is in a barcode ( for example: maybe you need to send an enter key after a scan of each barcode, or whatever).
Of course you are not limited to that particular make or model, there are several good manufacturer and models out there.
I use the LS2208 quite and it works well for me. I also have also purchased an ActiveX control that I use in MS Access to create reports and labels with barcodes in them. I got mine from a place called called Tec-IT, but again, there are many to choose from. Generally you can get a decent ActiveX Control for Windows Office Applications for $100.00 or less (U.S.).
So then as you see, you will be able to speed up all kinds of data input tasks by scanning data into Access tables and printing reports and labels for the data input
as makeshift as we are...we still are - TTH