Scanning Images Made Simple In 5 Steps

by: Ismael D. Tabije

Have you just bought a scanner and is now in a fix because you don’t know how to use it? As long as you keep these basic things in mind, scanning pictures should be as easy as baking a cake or washing the car. The first thing to ensure is that the scanner glass is clean. When cleaning the scanner glass, which should be done regularly, avoid using commercial glass cleaners since they contain abrasives that could scratch the surface. Though it’s all right to wax your furniture, when it comes to the scanner glass, wax is a big no-no since it can leave smudges and smears behind. Instead you should use professional-quality lens cleaner. They’re expensive but worth it.

For maximum quality pictures, be sure to remove all superfluous items, such as staples and paperclips as all these can result in damage to your scanner. Also, always remember to first fan the paper to ensure that there are no papers sticking together, especially if you’re scanning multiple documents. And don’t forget to take extra care with odd-sized items. Odd sized items should be scanned separately, especially if they’re of different widths. And all small items like paycheck stubs should be photocopied before scanning or you should attach it to a standard-sized sheet of paper and then scan. The actual scanning can be done in five easy steps:

First Step: The first step to scanning an image is placing it on the scanner. Lift the lid and place the photo on the glass bed, image-side down. To scan your prints on a scanner, usually there are arrows on the scanning bed to indicate exactly where to place the photo. If possible, anchor the picture on a corner so it will be less likely to move. Now comes the part where you decide scanning resolution.

Second Step: Before you give the command to scan the image you need to select the scanning resolution required from the options given. To determine the best scanning resolution, you need to consider the resolution of the final output device and the type of artwork you are scanning. All artwork falls into two basic categories, black-and-white line art and continuous-tone images. So, set the resolution accordingly.

Step Three: Verify the basic settings for the scanner controls. For this, select the resolution of the scan based on the content of the image. For example, for Web or 150-300dpi you should set the resolution to 72 dpi for print. And the option should be set to "pixel."

Step Four: This is when you decide if you need to make any adjustments to the quality of the image. You can also make adjustments to the photo like, sharpening or cropping, or adjusting the brightness, contrast, and color balance. This facility is available in most scanning software or you could use an image-editing program.

Step Five: The next step is to save your scanned image. The photo can be saved in a folder on your hard drive or on to a CD or Zip disk, commonly in JPEG format. You can also save in a TIFF file which will give you a better quality, since there is less color compression. However the TIFF file will take up a lot more memory space than the other options.

Don't be scared to play with the different scan settings. If you don't like the results of a scan, you can always discard it and try again. A few trial-and-error exercises will give you the feel of the best settings.