HOW  TO  SCAN  A  DOCUMENT  AND/OR  PHOTOGRAPH

In this section I will be showing you how to scan a document or photograph, as well as how to modify scanner settings, using the Windows 10 program called 'Fax and Scan'. In these examples I will be using the Canon MP499 Printer, Scanner and Copier (3-In-1, All-In-One device), which I bought about 3 or 4 years ago. It cost £60 back then and is rarely used, but when it is used it does plenty of work. This is a typical scenario with scanners in particular.


When buying a separate scanner, or all-in-one (printer, scanner and copier) machine, be aware that Print Heads and Scanner Components in general take a lot of wear and tear; purely because of the nature of the heads whizzing back and forth, the components being plastic, paper/roller problems and so on. With a scanner for example you need to pick one with good hinges, otherwise the door/lid will come apart after a while (especially if you have children and/or frequently use the scanner).

Another thing to be aware of is that Scanner, Printer and Copier software can be very heavy on the system and/or stupid! Meaning, some softwares scan the whole area as A4 even though you only want a 6 x 4 photograph area scanning for example. This means some softwares include the leftover areas, as blank/white space, which you will probably want/need to edit out. Better softwares just scan the 6 x 4 photograph area, like the Epson Perfection PHOTO scanner. So buying cheap can also mean cheap 'n' nasty software.

MODIFY  THE  DEFAULT  SCANNER  SETTINGS

Before scanning a document or photograph, you can modify the scanner's default settings so that you do not need to touch them again. You can still modify the default settings prior to an actual scan, but if you scan at the same resolution all the time and save the scanned files inside the same folder for example, why not set up default settings; so you just click on the SCAN button.

To modify the scanner's default settings, you first need to connect your scanner (or all-in-one) machine to the computer and then switch on the scanner. When you have done that, click on the START Menu button and then on the SETTINGS menu-item to bring up the SETTINGS control panel window whereby you then need to start typing the word SCAN.

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Fig 1.0 - Click on the START Menu button and then on the SETTINGS menu-item to continue

As you begin typing the edit box will automatically become active with the letter S and so on already inside it, so there is no need to click inside the edit box first. Once the word SCAN has been entered into the edit box click on the button/link called VIEW SCANNERS AND CAMERAS (Fig 1.1 below) to open the SCANNERS AND CAMERAS control panel window (Fig 1.2).

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Fig 1.1 - Type SCAN inside the SEARCH edit box and then click on the button/link called VIEW SCANNERS AND CAMERAS

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Fig 1.2 - Click on the PROPERTIES button to continue

When the SCANNERS AND CAMERAS control panel window appears (above), click on its PROPERTIES button to bring up the scanner's Properties window (below). On that window you can test (diagnose problems with) the scanner by clicking on the TEST SCANNER button.

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Fig 1.3 - Click on the TEST SCANNER button to make sure the scanner is working

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Fig 1.4 - The scanner has passed the diagnostic test and is working fine

Clicking on the EVENTS Tab (window) allows you to choose which program will be launch, if any are available, when you press the physical SCAN button on the scanner itself. In this example I have no Canon scanner software installed, just the drivers, but do have a program called PhotoImpact installed that can communicate with the scanner. Hence, I have chosen that program to be launched when I press the physical SCAN button on my Canon MP499 scanner. If you have multiple programs to choose from, on the ACTIONS drop-down menu, you could select the option called PROMPT FOR WHICH PROGRAM TO RUN. You can ignore the COLOUR MANAGEMENT Tab.

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Fig 1.5 - Choose which program to run when you press the scanner's physical SCAN button

After clicking on the OK button of the PROPERTIES window, so you are back on the SCANNERS AND CAMERAS window, click on the SCAN PROFILES button to bring up the SCAN PROFILES window (below). It is on that window that you can modify the existing default settings (default profiles) for both document scans and photograph scans. Selecting a profile (Documents or Photo) and clicking on the EDIT button will allow you to change that profile's resolution and file type for example.

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Fig 1.6 - Select a profile (Documents or Photo) and then click on the EDIT button

In this example I am editing the Documents profile. I have set it to be the default profile, which means clicking on the software SCAN button (as opposed to the scanner's physical hardware SCAN button) will tell the scanner I want to scan documents by default. I am not scanning a photograph when I press the software SCAN button - I am scanning a document.


I have also changed the file type from .jpg to .png and changed the print resolution from 300 DPI (Dots Per Inch) to 100 DPI. If you are only scanning for e-mail purposes a dpi between 72 and 100 is enough. In fact, the dpi is for printer purposes only. The scan will still be clear at 72 dpi for example. Even for screenshot purposes, 72 dpi (apple) and 96 dpi (windows) should be good enough. Anyway, when you have modified the Documents profile, click on the SAVE PROFILE button to continue.

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Fig 1.7 - Click on the SAVE PROFILE button when you have modified the Documents profile (settings)

With the Photo profile you should keep the print resolution at 300 DPI minimum, but change it to 600 DPI for example if you want your scans printed professionally. JPG is still the preferred image (Photo) file format for many professional photographers and photograph shops, even though PNG is popular for Internet use (i.e. in website design). Anyway, these profile settings can always be modified later, if need be, of course.

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Fig 1.8 - Click on the SAVE PROFILE button when you have modified the Photo profile (settings)

With the profile settings taken care of, close all windows so that you can then begin the actual scanning process. To scan a document (i.e. a letter, receipt or piece of paper) and/or photograph, lift up the lid/cover and place your document and/or photograph face-down on the glass. Now click on the Windows 10 START Menu button, click on the ALL APPS menu, scroll down the list of menu-items until you see the WINDOWS ACCESSORIES sub-menu, click on it and then click on the WINDOWS FAX AND SCAN sub-menu menu-item. Doing so will launch the program called 'Fax And Scan' where you then need to click on its NEW SCAN button to proceed.

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Fig 1.9 - Click on the WINDOWS FAX AND SCAN sub-menu menu-item to continue

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Fig 1.10 - Click on the NEW SCAN button to continue

Clicking on the NEW SCAN button (above) opens the New Scan window (below) where you then have another chance to modify the default settings before clicking on the SCAN button. If you want to preview what the scan will look like, or to see if the document was inserted the right way up!, click on the PREVIEW button first. And if you want the scan process to separate each image and section of text within the document and save the images as separate files, tick the option called PREVIEW OR SCAN IMAGES AS SEPARATE FILES before clicking on the PREVIEW or SCAN button.

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Fig 1.11 - Clik on the SCAN button to continue

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Fig 1.12 - The scan process is scanning the inserted Document

When the scan process has finished, any scanned document and photo files will be saved as image, image (2), image (3) and so on inside a sub-folder called SCANNED DOCUMENTS; inside the main DOCUMENTS folder.

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Fig 1.13 - All scanned documents and photos are saved into the SCANNED DOCUMENTS sub-folder, inside the DOCUMENTS folder.

Below I have explained some of the more common, general, scanner settings (terminology) as found in common scanner software these days.

DPI - Dots Per Inch

The DPI setting is normally set to 96 dpi for something that is scanned and destined for the computer monitor/screen (i.e. a photo for a web page) and 300 dpi for something that is destined for the printer (i.e. a Leaflet or Letter). You can adjust this to 600 dpi for example when requiring a professional printout. For example: If you design something that has really detailed artwork you might want to use 600 dpi instead of the normal 300 dpi. DPI, as its name suggests, is the amount of dots in one inch. The more dots per inch the better the quality. DPI also comes under the heading Resolution.

Image Type

Image Type might state the number of colours (i.e. 24 Bit Color, 16 Bit Grayscale, 8 Bit Grayscale and Color Smoothing) or might state PNG or JPG. Do not worry too much about what these settings are technically. Just remember that a graphics designer for example would use 48 Bit Color when wanting to scan/edit a colour photograph whereas the general public would use 24 Bit Color to scan/edit a, standard, colour photograph. 16 Bit Grayscale is used for black/white photographs that contain many shades of gray whereas 8 Bit Grayscale is used for black/white photographs that contain only a few shades of gray. And Color Smoothing is used for printing charts and graphs.

Descreening

Descreening is used in conjunction with the Document Type: Reflective setting to get rid of moirá patterns (lines and streaks) from a photograph. Moirá patterns are camera errors. For example: Taking a photo of a live tv screen with a digital camera might produce moirá patterns. As might a tv presenter with a striped suit on.

Backlight Correction

Backlight Correction automatically adjusts the amount of light that is lacking in shadows. Brightens up shadowed areas in other words. The settings to choose from are normally LOW, MEDIUM or HIGH.

Dust Removal

Dust Removal automatically tries to remove dust marks from a photograph. The settings to choose from are normally LOW, MEDIUM or HIGH.

Target Size

Target Size allows you to adjust the size of a scanned photograph before it has actually been scanned. So if you want your scanned photograph to be of a certain size, adjust the target size first and then perform the scan. The scanned photograph will then be trimmed to your required size, if possible.

Scanning Quality

Scanning Quality is usually a setting of BEST or DRAFT whereby draft is a rough scan and best is the proper scan. Draft (rough) scans are ideal if you are just wanting quick results for a template you are doing for example (i.e. a Photo Gallery website template). Quickly scan your photographs and preview them inside your template.

Color Restoration

Color Restoration automatically tries to restore a faded photograph so that it has its original, bright, colours again.

Document Type

Document Type allows you to select which type of document you want scanning - Photograph, Newspaper, Positive (Colour) or Negative (B/W) Film, Illustration, Magazine and so on.

Scanner software might also allow you to save a scanned document as a PDF (document/booklet) file , BitMap (image/drawing/photo) file, JPEG (image/drawing/photo) file or TIFF (image/drawing/photo) file. The TIFF file type/format is sometimes a requirement of a professional print service, in your local high street for example, as is the JPEG file type/format; but not so much these days. Photo shops are now switching to the PNG file format.


I have not mentioned every single scanner setting above simply because many of them are more advanced and technical and would take me a book to explain all of them. However, this should not stop you from experimenting a little with the scanner settings I have mentioned above, and perhaps a few I haven't mentioned, because doing so can mean the difference between a standard scan and a beautifully restored photograph scan. A lot of scanner softwares these days have a RESET button in them that allow you to reset the scanner, and/or individual scanner settings, back to their manufacturer's default setting(s). So do not worry too much if your experimenting goes wrong. Just remember which settings you changed and if necessary click on the RESET button.