How to Scan Photos Quickly


Like many people, you may wish to save your old photos in digital format but are putting off the job because you have so many photos. With a flatbed scanner, a bit of scanning and cropping software, this job can literally be cut down to size by following a few simple shortcuts. These corner-cutters still allow you to save all your photos in digital format, but reduce the amount of time you have to scan your photos to make copies of them.

Things You'll Need

  • Flatbed scanner
  • Adobe Photoshop or other image-editing software
  • Make a file folder on your computer in which to store your scanned photos.

  • Place the photos face-down on the bed of the scanner. You want to scan photos as quickly as possible, so place multiple photos---five or six, depending upon the size of the photos--on the scan bed. Leave a little room between photos.

  • Open your image-editing software.

  • Go to "File" > "Import." Pick your scanner from the menu. A pop-up menu should appear.

  • Click on 200 to 300 dpi if you plan on printing the photos. If you plan on publishing them on the web, select 72 dpi.

  • On the scanner, find the button to run a test scan and run the scan. This presents you with the opportunity to see if all of your photos made it into the scan without being cut off. If any are cut off, adjust them so that all the pictures make it completely into the scan.

  • Scan your photos. They may appear to be a little cock-eyed, but that's OK. You'll fix them later. A large photo file should appear in the work area of Photoshop.

  • Click "Save" under the "File" menu and name your file. Click "Save As" and rename your file something slightly different. Your "Save As" file provides you with a backup file when you get to the cropping stage.

  • Go to the floating palette on the left side of the screen and find the crop tool. (It looks like two triangles with the bottoms cut off.) You'll use the crop tool to cut each individual picture from the group (see Resources section for a picture).

  • Click and drag over the first picture that you want to separate from the group.

  • Adjust the crop tool so that it fits exactly around the picture. You'll find the "positioning handles" on the sides and corners of the graphic that appears.

  • Hit your "Enter" key on your keyboard. Your image-editing software will cut off all the photos surrounding that one, but don't panic.

  • Click "Select" and "All."

  • Click "File" and "New." You'll create a new document by clicking "OK." Don't adjust anything.

  • Click "Paste." A copy of your newly cropped photo will appear in that new document and will fit exactly.

  • Save the new file in your folder.

  • Click on your original picture and click "Edit" and "Undo." Your old scan should appear with all the pictures intact. If you forget this step, don't panic. Remember, you have a copy of the original file.

  • Repeat the cropping process until you've made new photos from each of the cropped photos and saved them in your file folder.

  • Load up the scan bed again to scan a new batch of photos and start the process over.

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