Using The Scanner(s)

Besides the dedicated scanner described below, you can also scan documents and have them sent by E-Mail on/with the departmental copy machine.

There is a scanner located in room 3.120, this scanner is an HP device connected to the (Linux) machine gallus.

Some device specific remarks:

  • the buttons on the scanner itself do not work ... they are Microsoft Windows-only buttons.
  • before starting the actual scan, the lamp is warmed up. This might take a while ... while warming up, one of the buttons is blinking ... as long as this button is blinking, you just have to wait ... your scan will begin shortly (upto a couple of minutes, depending on the temperature ;-)

Scanning Pictures

Pictures can be scanned using 3 tools.
  • xscanimage is a basic scanner software. It is limited to a few basic device settings (brightness, contrast, resolution, ...) and can generate the output only in the PPM format.
    These settings are usually all you need to properly scan images of all kinds.
    And by using the pnmto* tools, you can easily transform the PPM format to almost any other format you can imagine ;-)
  • xsane is a more advanced scanner software. It has the same basic functions and procedures as xscanimage, but a lot more whistles and bells. This might come handy, but it can just as well add too much complexity. xsane can scan to a variety of output formats directly.
  • simple-scan is an application that is designed for 95% of the users who just want to connect their scanner and quickly have the image/document in any appropriate format. You can easily have multi-page scans in a single PDF document with no trouble at all.

Because the basic operation of these commands is the same and the more advanced functions are out of the scope of this document, only xscanimage is explained more in depth below.

You can also use GIMP to scan and then directly manipulate the image. Use the File -> Acquire menu to select which back-end scanning program you want to use to scan the image (not to file, but directly into GIMP).

Using xscanimage

  • Use the xscanimage command to start the application.
  • Open the Preview Window.
  • Select the scan mode: Binary, Grayscale or Color.
    If you don't know what these are, you probably want Color ;-)
  • On the Preview Window, Acquire a preview.
  • Select the region to scan using the left mouse button. This region is marked by a dashed rectangle on the preview window. By default, the entire scanner area is scanned.
  • Select the resolution: the higher the resolution, the bigger the file; the size of the region to scan (in pixels) and the size of the resulting file (in KB) are shown on the main window.
    When scanning an image to put on the web, a resolution between 70 and 100 usually is quite sufficient.
  • If you want and know what you are doing (or want to get to know it ;-), you can set the brightness, contrast, color options, ... you might have to experiment a little to find the best values for your image.
  • Select the file name for the scanned image. xscanimage can only scan to the PPM format, but using the pnmto* tools, you can transform this to any other format supported by them.
    It might also be best to scan to a local file first (on a local file system like /tmp) and only after having scanned all images, copy them to the desired directory using your favorite file transfer program (cp, scp, sftp, tar, ...). Scanning directly to a file in your home directory over the network might be slow.
  • Press Scan to scan the image using the given settings to the specified file.

For those who know what they're doing, there are the Preferences -> Advanced Options.

Be sure to also check out the Preferences -> Preview Options. It might be best not to activate the Preserve Preview Image because this makes xscanimage preserve that image across different scan sessions, by storing it as a file on disk. Such a file might be big and it is usually useless to keep the preview image of a scan session for future use.

Make sure to Save the Device Settings to use the current settings as default for future use of the program.