Scanning in the labs

Photo, document, and film scanners are available in most computer labs. Follow these instructions for general-purpose scanning on a Mac.

Load your originals

Sheet-fed/document scanners are for paper documents only.

Place the page(s) face-down and head-first into the feeder tray. You can load multiple pages at once, and they will be fed through the scanner one-at-a-time.

Epson GT-S50 document scanner

For a flatbed scanner, place your photo or document face-down on the scanner bed.

Epson Perfection V750 Pro open with white backing card in place

If you are scanning transparent materials:

  • Borrow a slide or negative holder from the Lab Assistant.
  • Slide the white card out from the underside of the lid before scanning.
  • Return the white card to the scanner when you are done!

Use Image Capture

Image Capture application iconThe Mac OS X utility, Image Capture, is suitable for most scanning tasks. Photo students, however, should follow their instructors' preferred workflow for class assignments.

After you start up Image Capture, click the scanner name under Devices, then click Show Details at the bottom of the window. A preview ("overview") scan and options will appear on the screen.

If you move or replace materials in the scanner, click Overview for a new preview.

Customize your settings

The settings available will vary slightly, depending on the scanner model.

Image Capture in overview mode

  1. Basic image or document parameters:
    1. Scan Mode - Choose Flatbed for opaque media, and Transparency for slides, film, negatives, etc.
    2. Kind - Choose to scan in color, grayscale, or black & white (for text).
  2. Scan dimensions and resolution:
    • Resolution - The level of detail of the scan, in dots-per-inch.
      Original material Recommended resolution
      text document 150 dpi
      photograph 300–600 dpi
      slides/negatives 2400–4800 dpi
    • Size - The dimensions of the scan area. Uncheck Use Custom Size to scan an area equivalent to standard paper size, e.g., US Letter. Leave this checked to select specific areas of the flatbed to scan.
  3. Document name and location:
    • Scan To - Where the images will be saved.
    • Name - Enter a title for your saved file(s).
    • Format - Choose a file type for your scan. JPEG is good for most images, and PDF is best for text documents.
  4. Image adjustments:
    • Image Correction - Adjust brightness, tint, temperature, and saturation.
    • Unsharp Mask - Adds definition to edges.
    • Descreening - Removes Moiré from half-tone printed originals.
    • Backlight Correction - Reduces shadows in backlit images.
    • Dust Removal - Removes dust marks from the originals.
    • Color Restoration - Automatically restores color to faded photos.


Once your settings are in place, click Scan. The scanner will run again, and a complete file will be saved in the Scan To location.

If you make multiple scans, each subsequent filename will have a number added to it, so earlier scans aren't overwritten. If you use PDF for the format, several scans can be automatically combined into one multi-page document.

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