Scanning is part of what we do here on a regular basis, not only when our customers request it, but also in connection with our own work. It’s the best way to get elements which exist only on paper into digital form, where they can then be edited and incorporated into our designs.
Scanning services here are always handled by a member of our staff. We do not offer self-service scanning here. Over time we found that scanning is too complicated for most clients to figure out without needing help, which completely defeats the purpose of “self-service”. We’d rather help you get things done right the first time and save us both the hassle! Below you will find some information about scanning your documents and photos here. Each of the “sections” relates to a decision that will need to be made before the scan project is started.
The resolution at which your project should be scanned at depends on what you are scanning and how it will be used. Simple text documents (both color and black and white) can be scanned at 200 dpi. This keeps the file size low without affecting readability. On the other hand, high-resolution photographs should probably be scanned at 600 dpi. This creates a large file, but when dealing with photos, detail is often more important than file size. Exactly how much detail you want to capture from your original is the deciding factor as concerns the resolution setting. There is a middle ground, as 300 dpi and 400 dpi scans are also possible here. Unless you alert us that a specific resolution is required, we will make the decision about resolution for you based upon your art or documents. One more thing about resolution — you never get it back. It’s pretty easy to compress a high-resolution file but it is impossible (without the help of a graphic designer) to turn a low-resolution scan back into the original.
How you will use your scan dictates what file type you should select. Text documents are commonly saved and shared electronically as PDFs. Color images are often saved, shared and integrated into graphic design projects as JPGs (jpegs). There are many other formats available (and we can create files of many different types upon your request) but these two are the most common. Sometimes our clients will have the exact specs they need for their scanning project, such as with government forms and attachment requirements. When clients give us this information up front, everybody ends up happy with the result.
Size and shape of the original will dictate whether it can be scanned using a document feeder or whether it must be hand-placed and cropped. Standard size papers (such as letter, legal, tabloid) which are in good condition can be scanned using the machine feeder. Photos, drawings, news clippings or articles, and odd-shaped documents must be hand-placed. This is the only “setting” that affects pricing here. With the additional labor involved with a hand-placed vs. a machined scan, pricing is higher. With either method, the more scans you get, the less you pay per scan.
Saving and sending the file
Some people would like us to create a separate file for each scan, page or set. Other people want all scans saved in one file. Either way is fine with us. With respect to sending the file(s), we can email them (if the file size is small enough for your email server), save them to provided media such as a flash drive (thumb drive, usb drive) or CD, or we can burn a new CD for you. We may soon offer flash drives for sale here because they’ve become so integral to the exchange of graphics elements that it just makes sense to have them available.
Hopefully this post will answer all the questions you may have about document scanning here. If not, feel free to ask in the comments or in person.