A few scanning tips


Related questions:

How do I send an image with email?

There are various SEND or EMAIL buttons or menus in some scanners, but if these give trouble with the email program you use, it is extremely easy to simply do it the standard conventional way instead, which I describe here   (it seems reasonable to want to see the scanned image first before you send it anyway).

You can send any file you created previously. Or scan a new image, normally like always, to create the size of image you want to send. Save that image file on your hard disk, like always. Remember the file name and the disk folder where you save it. Then use your email program's ATTACH menu to find that image, to send it with your email message.

The way you send any file with email is to "Attach" the file to the email text message. All email programs have a menu item ATTACH or ATTACHMENTS, and their toolbars often have this as an icon with a paperclip symbol to denote "Attach" a file. Attach means "Send a copy of the file with the message". Compose and address the email message in the conventional way, and then the Attach button or menu allows you to browse to find and specify the file(s) to send with that email message. A copy is sent of course, the file still remains on your disk. See your email program's Help menu about "Attaching files to messages".

AOL - The message composition window at the Write Mail option has an "Attachments" button at the lower left corner, under the body of the text you are typing to send. It will allow multiple files to be attached to that message.

Eudora and Netscape have paperclip toolbar buttons for Attach, and they also have a menu "Attach file". These do the same thing.

Outlook Express also has the toolbar paper clip Attach icon. Microsoft programs may call this Attach menu INCLUDE - FILE, but it is the same thing as Attach.

HotMail and Yahoo mail have an Attachments link used to find and attach a file.

In many cases, at least Outlook and Eudora, you can simply drag the file (from the Windows Explorer or desktop) to the email composition window, and you can see that it attaches itself automatically. Normally you can also drag it to the email program's icon, and it will open as a new message with the file attached. You can send the first try back to yourself (addressed TO your own email address) to test your procedure.

The image file to be emailed should be a fairly small file. A huge file can be dreadfully slow, both to send and receive. Printing does need larger files, but a video image should not be larger than the recipients screen, perhaps 800x600 or 1024x768 pixels. Don't scan for email at 300 dpi (way too huge for screen viewing). Scan at perhaps 100 dpi for email. Images scanned at 75 to 100 dpi will appear (in the rough ballpark of) near original size on most common screens.

Scanning a 6x4 inch photo at 100 dpi creates an image size of 600x400 pixels, generally large enough for email purposes (for screen viewing). This 6x4 inch 100 dpi 600x400 pixel image consumes 720K bytes in memory. Or scanning 6x4 inches at 75 dpi gives 450x300 pixels and about half the file size of 100 dpi.

Save the photo image as a JPG file for email. JPG compresson squeezes the data to be a very small file, which is fast for modems. It is usually around 1/10 the file size of other image file formats. There are quality losses due to this extreme compression, but a moderately high JPG Quality factor setting gives a decent quality image (see page 134), and still reduces this 100 dpi 600x400 pixel 720KB image to a JPG file size of about 75KB. It takes perhaps 45 seconds for a 28.8K modem.

Or if you already have the image in some other file format, just open that image, and use menu FILE - SAVEAS to save a copy as JPG.

A big exception - if the image is Graphics (or a scanned page of text), instead of a photo image, then it probably only has 2 to 5 colors in it. A GIF file in either line art mode (like text), or 16 color mode is by far the smallest and clearest file, for those situtions when line art or 16 color graphics is appropriate. JPG cannot handle these modes anyway, JPG must convert to grayscale or 24 bit color first (which is larger and less clear). But GIF is limited to only 256 colors, so it is NOT appropriate for photo images.

WinZip compresses files to be smaller, but JPG or GIF files are already compressed, so there is no additional advantage. Zip can however keep multiple files tidy in one transmitted file.

Some email servers may limit the maximum email file size, perhaps at about 2 megabytes. The email UUE or MIME encoding causes the number of bytes actually sent to be about 40% greater than the indicated file size, so email is perhaps 40% slower than the same file via FTP or a web site.

Some email programs like Outlook allow you to insert the image to be visible in the body of the message. But if you otherwise somehow insert the binary image file data into the body of the message as text, you only get lots of random gibberish hieroglyphics, like this:

caq S rq)x yzq O

That means you are viewing a binary image file in a text program, instead of an image program.

How do I clean the scanner's glass bed?

Use mild soap or an ordinary glass cleaner. Put it on a soft cloth, do not pour it on the glass. Whatever you do, do not get the "inch" ruler scales wet enough to damage them. The bottom of the rulers is often used for the scanner's internal calibration area before beginning a scan. Don't do anything foolish or excessive in that area. Don't get the glue wet either. Don't pour the cleaning fluid directly on the glass bed due to this risk. Instead put it on the cloth and then wipe with the cloth.

For the scanner glass, HP recommends a long list of brands of glass cleaners that do NOT contain ammonia. I don't know if it actually matters, I don't think the scanner glass is different from ordinary window glass, but still, I saw no reason not to switch for the bottle used with the scanner. Such glass cleaners clean well of course, except that you have to pay close attention to get it all off, else it leaves a film. You don't notice this film on windows or mirrors, but the scanner's bright light causes the scans to show it. It can cause some odd "oily" or speckled effects in your scans from such residue between the photo and the glass. Be careful to inspect the glass closely under the scanner's bright light to be certain all of the cleaner film is removed. Inspect the glass (down low from the side) in the bright light for streaks, to make sure you have removed all of it.

Microtek suggests using alcohol. They mean pure alcohol, and it evaporates. I've found that 50% rubbing alcohol is often poor for this. Rubbing alcohol often seems to contain something like lanolin, and the bottle I tried was smearing like I was scrubbing the glass with grease. Pure denatured alcohol is available at paint supply stores. Small bottles of pure alcohol are sometimes available at larger drug stores if you ask at the pharmacy counter.

Whatever you do, do not scratch the glass. Paper towels are rough, and can make fine scratches on optical surfaces (for example, you would never consider using paper towels on a camera lens), and a soft cloth should be used instead. It would be wrong to recommend it, but I admit that I do use the better softer paper towels on the scanner bed (I figure "how long before I want a new techy gadget anyway?"). But I apply them "easy" without much pressure. Whatever you use, crumple it up real good so that any grit hopefully can find a crevice to get into, away from the glass. Grit is a real issue, keep that in mind, and don't scrub hard.

To check your work, open or remove the scanner's lid, and scan a large area of "nothing". Don't put anything on the glass, simply scan nothing with the lid off or fully open. 100 dpi is more than enough. You will get an all-black image, there is nothing to reflect the light back to the scanner. View it both at Actual image size, and also view it reduced to fit on the screen. See any faint haze or cloudy areas?   Then you didn't do a good job cleaning the glass. White spots seen there may be dust on the glass, or may be noise. Dust is spots in repeatable locations, noise spots will vary from scan to scan.

Vernon Kinslow suggested: "An old clean diaper or an old clean T-shirt leaves very few lint specks. Also if you clean one side right to left and the other side up and down, if you leave a streak you can go straight to it and correct the problem." This is surely better than a paper towel, but any grit can still scratch.

Normally the scanner's top cover is removed very easily, for the purpose of cleaning the bottom side of the glass. You do NOT remove the glass, instead you remove the top cover of the scanner to access the glass. Be certain to unplug the power cord first. Stick to the purpose of cleaning underneath the glass and leave the rest alone.

Microtek and Umax models have two or four screws on the top corners, and on most models, the cover lifts off, and goes back as easily. In some cases, instead of lifting straight up, the cover has to first slide forward or backward slightly.

I am told by a user in Spain that the Epson 1640 parked carriage position interferes with sliding the top cover off, but that he started a scan, and then quickly turned off power after the carriage moved a few inches forward, then the top cover could be easily removed and replaced.

The HP 6200 is more tamper-proof. The end of a paperclip wire will remove the front screw covers, they just lift straight up. There are four T-10 Torx screws, one in each corner (Torx bits are in tool stores, easy to find).

Carl McMillan shows good photographs describing how to disassemble (for internal cleaning) the Canon 5000F and Canon 8400F and Canon 9950F scanners.

For what cleaning info is available, see Google of course.

How do I make a Windows wallpaper file?

First, you have to create the image the size you want it to be. Wallpaper can be as large as the size of your screen - dimensioned in pixels. CRT and LCD monitor screens are the size you set to be in the Windows Video settings - Which ought to be set to match the native size of LCD monitors, which are specified to be one of many sizes. For three common examples, some screens and monitors are 1280x800 or 1366x768 or 1680x1050 pixels in size. But there are many sizes, and this PAGE will tell you the size of your screen. The point is, any image to fit full screen size on your computer ought to be the same size as YOUR screen.

This wallpaper can be any of your existing images, see Resize about resizing your images to screen size.

Or, you could create it screen size by showing it full screen size, and do a screen capture of it. See next section below.

Previous Windows versions required these wallpaper images to be only BMP images (copied to the \windows folder to appear in the same menu). To convert to BMP, simply use menu File - Save As to save it as BMP type.
However, Windows 7 can use JPG files for wallpaper now (substantially smaller file), and expects them to be in the \windows\web\wallpaper\ folder.

Then to select it, RIGHT mouse click on the blank desktop, and in Windows 7, select Personalization. Or in Windows XP there, select Properties, then Background. Your file will now be present in the list of wallpaper images, and you simply select it to be active as wallpaper.

How do I capture images from the screen?

Some programs have a menu to capture displayed images from the screen, but it is very easy to do that manually:

Just pressing the PRTSCRN key in Windows will copy the screen to the clipboard as an image. Or, the ALT PRTSCRN will usually copy only the active window to the clipboard. Then you can paste that image into any photo editor (CTRL V key, or menu Edit - Paste). It can then be sized and saved to a file.

Or, Windows 7 has the new Snipping Tool that will provide control to do all of this screen capture (helping you to first mark the area you want to capture). It is at Programs - Accessories. Or just type SNIP into the Start search box to find it (and type SNIP in to the HELP for instructions).

Copyright © 1997-2010 by Wayne Fulton - All rights are reserved.
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