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In Computer Literacy for Windows, author Garrick Chow walks through the skills necessary to use computers comfortably, while improving learning, productivity, and performance. This course focuses on the Microsoft Windows operating system and offers a thorough introduction to computers, networks, and computer peripherals such as printers, digital cameras, and more. In addition, basic procedures with software applications, the Internet, and email are covered.
Now let's take a look at the basics of using a scanner with your computer, once you've connected the scanner and have installed the drivers and software. Most likely your scanner software came with its own scanning and image editing applications, but since there are so many types of scanners and scanning software, we are going to use the scanning application built into Window 7 Professional Enterprise and Ultimate. If you don't have any of those versions of Windows, you can still take the principles covered here and apply them to other scanning software as well. Let's begin by clicking the Start button > All Programs, and then finding Windows Fax and Scan.
This is the built-in app for faxing and scanning documents in Windows. To start scanning, click the Scan button in the lower left-hand corner to go the scanning portion of the application and then click New Scan. That opens the New Scan window. First make sure your scanner's name appears up here at the top of the window. If you have more than one scanner and want to select one other on the currently selected one, you can click Change to locate it, but I only have the one scanner right now so I will leave it as it is. Next is the good idea to click the Preview button. This fires up your scanner and gives you an overview of the entire scan bed, so you can select the portion that you actually want to scan and keep.
For this example, I have just placed a CD cover on my scanner and now we see everything the scanner sees. This dotted line represents the areas that will be scanned. Now I don't really need to scan the entire area, so I will drag in the handles of the rectangle, so it just selects my CD cover. You can actually place your cursor along the sides of the dotted line as well to drag them up and down or left and right. All right, so let's go through some of these menus. First we have the Profile menu where you can choose what type of item you're scanning.
Photo is the Default, and basically it means you want to scan in color. You can also choose Documents to perform a grayscale scan of a text document or to create a grayscale or some call it black-and-white version of the colored document. By selecting Documents, you'll generally create a smaller file, so if color isn't an issue, you can choose it. If your scanner has more than one way to scan, for example, some scanners have a document feeder so you scan multiple pages at once, you can select your source from the Source menu but I only have the Flatbed in this case. Next we have Color format, File type and Resolution.
The default settings for the Color format are determined by whether you chose Photo or Document from the Profile. Notice if I choose Documents, Color format changes to Grayscale or if I switch back to Photo, it changes back to Color. But you can also choose your own settings here by choosing Color, Grayscale or Black and white. For the File type, you might want to choose TIF, for the highest resolution and quality scan. JPEG is generally used for photos, for emailing or posting to the web and same goes for PNG.
Bitmap or BMP isn't really used too often these days. As a rule of thumb I generally go with TIF for high quality files and JPEG or PNG for smaller file sizes. Next you have the Resolution menu. Resolution affects both image quality and file size. The higher the resolution, the more image data is captured by the scanner, but also the larger the file size will be. Resolution is expressed in DPI or dots per inch. The more dots, the higher the resolution. So if you want an all-purpose scan of the photo or document, 300 DPI is a good place to start.
That will give you the resolution you need to produce a good-looking print out of your scan. If you intent to email a scan photo or put it on the web, you can still scan the 300 DPI, but you'll need reduce the resolution and file size in an image editing program like say Photoshop, before you send it off. And images for the web are generally around 72 DPI. But I don't recommend scanning at that level. Ideally, you want a higher quality scan, so you can grab lots of color and detail from the image, before you then reduce the DPI through software. But if you are on a rush, or don't know how to use image editing software, you can scan at 72 DIP when you want to deliver your scan images over the Internet.
I am going to switch mine back to 300. The last two options are Brightness and Contrast sliders, which gives you a bit of control over the appearance of the image. Now you won't see a live preview of what the sliders are doing. You have to click the Preview button each time to see the effects. In fact, anytime you make a change here, your current preview will disappear and you'll have to click Preview again to see the effect of your changes. You might have noticed when I switch from Photo to Document in the profile, my preview disappeared. Fortunately my selection areas stay the same though. Now as far as the Brightness and Contrast sliders go, you might want to use these to lighten up a particularly dark image, but they are not really going to be that much help.
You will be better off leaving them as- is and then using dedicated image editing software to make your adjustments. Some scanners offer software with more powerful image adjusting tools too, but again, I'll leave those settings as is most of the time and use dedicated image editing software. All right, once you have made all your selections in here and you're ready to scan, click Scan. So now my scanner is scanning for real and applying all the settings I have selected. And once the scan is done, the scan image appears in the main Fax and Scan window here, and there it is. Let me make this a little bit bigger so you can see it.
Now when you're using other scanning software, you maybe prompted to select a location on your computer to save the file. Here in the Fax and Scan software, it just ends up stored here. Now with the file selected, I can click commands like Forward as Fax, Forward as E-mail and Save As, to save my file to another location on a computer. For example, maybe I want to save a copy of the image to my Desktop,so I have a version to play around with in my photo editing software. So I can click Save As. I will choose save this to my Desktop. I will call this GTE for Goodnight to Everyone, which is what the album in this case is called, and I will click Save.
And I will minimize Windows Fax and Scan, and I can see the file sitting here on my desktop. If I want to I can right-click on it. Maybe choose Open with Adobe Photoshop CS5. And there is my CD cover that I can now work with here in Photoshop. So that's the basics of scanning with a built-in Windows Fax and Scan software.
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