March 7, 2016

Scanning Documents

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

Years ago, few PC users bothered with a scanner. It was a separate device you had to purchase, and unless you were scanning photos for artwork or working in a legal office, you probably didn’t need one. Today, most computer printers also pull duty as copiers, fax machines, and scanners. Scanning is something available to anyone.

A scanner is a visual input device. It uses the same technology as a digital camera, but the image is pulled from a flat source and not the real world.

I wrote about scanning in an earlier blog post. The technology today (3 years later) is pretty much the same, though my new scanner program, as well as my all-in-one printer, automatically crops the images scanned.

As far as Word is concerned, anything you scan can be inserted into a document just like any other picture. I recommend that you scan the image and save it to the PC’s primary storage device. You can save it in the Pictures folder or in a specific folder if the image is for a specific project.

If possible, I recommend saving the image file in the TIFF format for use in word. TIFF files are large, but they store enough detail to make them useful for many purposes. If you plan on scanning an image for other purposes, such as sharing on the Internet, choose the JPEG or PNG image file formats instead.

In Word, follow these steps to add the scanned image to your document:

1. Position the insertion pointer to the spot where you want the picture to appear in your document.
2. Click the Insert tab.
3. In the Illustrations group choose Pictures.
4. Use the Insert Picture dialog box to locate the scanned image.
5. Click the Insert button to add the picture.

The image becomes part of the text when you follow these steps. If you want the image to appear behind the text or float on the page, refer to my book, Word For Dummies, for details on picture layout options.

A question I’m often asked via email is how to get text from a scanned image into a document. The best way to do that is to scan the document and use OCR software to read text. The text is then saved as a plain text file, which you can insert into a Word document. If you just scan the text as an image, then you’ve gone down the wrong path.

I go over the OCR process in Wednesday’s blog post.


  1. I do remember an application that when you scanned a page as a JPG would analyse the image and pick out text which then could save as a text file. One of my contemperaies at uni scanned a little known book in its entirety and submitted it as an assignment got a low mark as I recall!, I think the software was called ‘Textbridge’ never used it might be useful now…

    Comment by glennp — March 7, 2016 @ 3:09 am

  2. I’ve only had to scan a document once. I forget why I just didn’t retype it, because that’s what I pretty much had to do after it ran through the OCR software.

    It looks like Textbridge is no longer available, but it was very popular in the day.

    Comment by admin — March 9, 2016 @ 8:06 am

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