A few scanning tips


HP PrecisionScan LT

The Hewlett-Packard scanner family is uniquely designed to fully automate the scanning process. About every model has a different PrecisionScan software version, each version is quite different, addressing different user needs and skills. Within one model, the different scanner suffix variations, like 4200C, 4200Cse, 4200Cxi, are the same model scanner and PrecisionScan version, bundled with different application programs.

This section is a look at the PrecisionScan LT software with the HP 4200 scanner. It is not an actual scanner review, nor an evaluation of the hardware, it is a look at the software that you use to scan an image. In most scanner families, most or all models use the same software, but HP packages the hardware and software in specific combinations.

The PrecisionScan LT (3200, 4200) and PrecisionScan (5200) software is very automated.   The goal is to scan the image automatically without requiring the user to understand many details. Not everyone will want to give up user control to this extent, but many will enjoy the ease of use.

PrecisionScan LT includes integrated OCR software from Caere. There is also a HP ScanJet Copy Utility that is a convenient "scan and print" copy program   Adobe PhotoDeluxe 3.0 is included too. The Help is quite good, much of it is in a question and answer approach that should cover most issues.

There is a button on the front of the scanner, push it and the PrecisionScan LT startup screen appears. Or you can start PrecisionScan LT as a regular program from the Windows Start button. Or you can use the FILE - ACQUIRE menu in image programs to start PrecisionScan LT.

This screen applies only to the PrecisionScan LT software. Other models are different.

On this first screen, you select a destination for the image, typically a program or a file. Most of your image and text and fax and email programs will be there. If not, you can always output the image to a disk file, or use the clipboard. All the usual image file formats are offered, plus text and RTF, and also FlashPix.

The "Start a New Scan" button is the Preview scan, which also analyzes the image and determines its type and location on the scanner bed. You can change that type with the Output Type selection:

The Settings menu allows you to specify that the output page image will be the original size (for photos for example), or scaled to fill a specified dimension, or scaled to a given percentage of the original size.   The selected size is shown, in pixels (video screen), or inches or cm (printing). The "Scan in Color" can disable automatic selection of color mode for B&W documents.   The resolution is automatically set appropriately for the destination and mode that you select, for example, for OCR or fax. The Settings menu also allows you to change the default resolution in most cases.

Basically, you choose a destination, adjust size if desired, and click the Scan button. There are no user adjustments for image contrast and color balance, this is all done automatically by PrecisionScan LT. You can disable the automatic sharpening but it has no other adjustment. There are very few controls at all that are associated with the image, the automation takes care of it. Any subsequent image changes can be done in the provided Adobe PhotoDeluxe. Even image mode and resolution and sizing is selected automatically in the software, but there are overrides for these fundamentals.

This is the HP ScanJet Copy utility, common to all current PrecisionScan versions/models except the 3200. It provides one button copying, like a copy machine, but in color too. You can configure the HP Button Manager (in Windows Control Panel - Scanners) to start this utility instead of PrecisionScan LT.

Copyright © 1999-2004 by Wayne Fulton - All rights are reserved.

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