Hints and Tips

Scan images only once

If you want to try different ways of processing a negative or slide, you don’t need to scan it more than once. The raw scan data for both preview and scan is kept in memory. Just adjust the settings and use the File | Save image command on the File menu to save the image once more.

Be discriminating

The best way to save time when scanning in a lot of photos is to first make some hard decisions about what you scan. A good rule of thumb is that you should only scan one out of five pictures from a roll of film. Most people can go through a set of 36 photos or slides and quickly see the 7 or 8 that they would like to scan.

Of course, if these are the only existing photos of your parent’s wedding, then you probably want to scan them all. Otherwise, be discriminating - nobody needs to scan out of focus pictures of a cousin’s friend’s back garden from 10 years ago (smile).

Use JPEG files

Save disk space by scanning all photos and slides using the JPEG file format. Few people will see much difference between JPEG files and file types such as TIFF and BMP, but JPEG files take up only 10 per cent of the disk space of these other file types. With VueScan, set Output | JPEG file to do this.

Back up to CD

After every day’s work, burn every image you’ve scanned to a CD, label the CD, and then make sure you can read the images from the CD. Burn two sets of CD’s, keep one set for yourself, and store a master copy separately.

Alternatively, upload the images to a cloud service, and for good luck use two different cloud vendors.

Only use the master copy if your main copy has problems, otherwise don’t touch it again. If friends or relatives want a copy, make them a copy from your main copy.

CD’s can fail, wear out, get scratched, get lost, get eaten by the dog - so always keep two copies! Cloud vendors can go out of business - use two different ones.

Use default options

The default options have been designed to work well with most images and on most systems. If you’re having problems scanning, reset all the options to their default values by choosing the File | Default options command from the File menu. Now try changing one option at a time and re-doing the scan.

It’s also a good idea to reset to defaults whenever you start a new job. This means you can start with a clean slate each time.

Use TIFF if archiving or editing files from VueScan

Each time an image is saved as JPEG, some information about the image is lost, even at the highest quality (and lowest compression) levels. This effect is compounded if you save a file, then make some changes and save again. So if you plan on editing or otherwise modifying your images at a later date, JPEG isn’t the ideal choice

Instead, use TIFF, which stores all of the data of an image without any loss, even when compressed. TIFF is a good choice for archiving files, and for image operations in image editing applications like Photoshop(TM). The downside of TIFF is the file size. Even when compressed the files are much larger than JPEGs.

Burn TIFF files to high quality CD-R or DVD disks for permanent archival.

Reduce Input | Media size on flatbed scanners or Crop | Preview area on film scanners to reduce scan times

A lot of time involved in scanning is taken up with the movement of the scan head (for flatbed scanners) or the media holder (for film scanners). The following tip will produce quicker scans.

Position the media in landscape orientation on the scanner (place the long edge of the photo, for example, against the short, bottom edge of the scanner). This reduces the area that needs to be covered by the scanner head. You can read our suggestions for the best scanners for things like photos here

Scanning text from paper for use with OCR software

To get the best results when scanning printed documents, set Input | Media to “B/W text”. This will ensure the result is limited to black and white, which will reduce noise. Typically OCR packages expect TIFF file format; set Output | TIFF file. You may also find the Output | TIFF multi page and Output | PDF multi page option useful, as multiple pages will be saved in a single file.

Turn off rotation if scanning with limited memory

If you save images that are significantly larger than the amount of memory on your computer, set the Input | Rotation to None. This will make the cropping much faster.