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Beginning Scanning

Scanner Setup

If you are setting up your scanner for the first time, consult the setup instructions which came with the scanner. Usually you will be asked to intall the scanning software first. Then, if you have not already done so during the install, plug in the scanner, attach it to the computer with the included USB cable, and turn it on. Open your scanning program.

Scanner Settings

Figure 1

Figure 1 shows the scanning application that I use, but the points that we make here apply to all scanners. First the Document Type is Reflective, meaning that we are scanning a photograph. The other option is Film, which is slides or negatives. Choose either Reflective or Film, depending on what you are scanning.

The Document Source is Document Table. In my scanning program that is the only option. Then Auto Exposure Type is either Photo or Document, depending upon what you are scanning. If you had chosen Film for Document Type instead of Reflective, you would see Film Type under Document Type, and your choices for Film Type would be Positive Film (a slide), Negative Color Film, or B&W Negative Film. Choose the correct one.

Next you see Image Type of the image after it is scanned. The choices are many, but if you are scanning a B&W photograph choose 16-bit Grayscale, and if you are scanning a color photo choose 24-bit color. If you are scanning a document, choose the same as for photos. You will then see Resolution. Choose at least 600 for photographs (300 for large documents) and 2400 for slides or negatives. For Target Size I always use same size as the original or larger.

Photo Placement

Believe it or not, proper placement of the photograph on the scanner window is important. The upper-right hand corner of your photograph should go in the upper-right hand corner of the scanner glass, usually indicated by an arrow. The photo will be cradled in the corner, assuring proper alignment. This is important because adjusting the alignment of your image in an image processing program after it is scanned is time-consuming, and will cause loss of image quality.

Once you have closed the cover of the scanner click the "Preview" button. The scanner will try to automatically determine the size and position of the photo, and put a box around it. If you have not put the photo in the upper-right hand corner, the scanner will probably not know where to draw the box. If you scan without the box the scanner will have to scan uneccessary white space before getting to the picture. In addition, it tries to determine the correct exposure for the scan, and additional white space negatively affects the result.


If the scanner does not put a cropping box around the photograph, you will need to manually draw one by dragging your mouse from the upper-left hand corner to the lower-right hand corner of the preview image. This is important because you don't want to scan the entire 8 1/2 by 11 scanning area. This is also your opportunity to crop the photo if you want to. Use your mouse to draw a box around the area that you want to scan, as shown by the dotted line in the image above. Click the Scan button when ready.