Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Scanning without fancy software

Yesterday, it was my responsibility to get our first week's materials digitized. I could have gone in to campus and used the equipment there, but I have a scanner at home and since the originals were in books, a sheet feeder wouldn't have helped me at all. What I don't have at home is the Adobe suite of software. I'm used to using Acrobat Professional to create good quality pdfs that are still a small file size. Without that, I was left with just the scanner software itself (Epson). My first document went fine, though it was a bit large at just over 1 mb. The second document, however, checked in at over 1.5 mb and that kept me from being able to upload it to the class blog site. So, I checked all my settings and noticed that the resolution was at 300. I reduced that to 150dpi and voila! a file under 1 mb. I suspect that I could do slightly better with Acrobat. The key is to make sure that you're scanning as text, not as a photograph and that your resolution is not too high. In theory, I could bump it down to 72 (screen resolution) but since it's likely that students will print the documents out, I wanted to make sure the printouts were readable. The Epson software allowed me to scan multiple pages and even rotate them all before saving the document, so it may not be the fanciest software in the world, but it works.