How to Scan Slides
So, you’ve got a bunch of slides that you need in your computer, and you need to know how to scan slides. Don’t worry, it’s not hard, although exactly how you’re going to do the scanning is going to depend on what scanner you’ve got, so we’ll show you how to do it using the two most common methods: with a slide scanner and with a flatbed scanner.
The method for either one starts the same, which is going to be the same with any how to scan slides tutorial; you need to prep the slides. The old computer saying is garbage in, garbage out, and this applies here. It doesn’t matter how great the picture is or how fancy a scanner you have; if you have dirt, dust or hairs on the slide, those are going to get scanned too.
So step one is to clean your slides. At a bare minimum, you should wipe them down with a clean cloth rag. What you don’t want to do is to use something that is going to leave particles on the slides, like a paper towel. You also need to make sure to handle them carefully so you don’t leave finger prints. You may also want to organize your slides at this point, if you’re scanning in enough stuff that organization is going to be an issue.
The next step, actually, also applies to both kinds of scanners; you need to clean the device. Both of them should be given a quick blast of air from a compressed air can. Don’t just blow on them, since you’ll end with saliva and possibly the remains of your lunch on them. It’s not a bad idea to rub down the glass scanning surfaces with a mild glass cleaner and some kind of lint free clothe beforehand, either.
Types of Scanner
From here, the how to scan slides tutorial splits, so you’ll want to read the one that applies to you. Or both, if you’re curious.
Slide Scanner – Since this is what they were designed for, there isn’t much to it. You need to put the slide in the scanner, then hit the start button. From there, you’ll be asked to put the slide in frame and then save it to whatever file you want.
On many slide scanners, you can set them to do both of these more or less automatically. Many can even handle stacks of slides at a time. One thing you absolutely need to make sure of is that you have a high enough resolution; you’ll want at least 2400 dpi.
Flatbed Scanner – This where you really need to ask how to scan slides, because the process isn’t necessarily straightforward. For one thing, you’re going to need a transparent materials adapter, which is basically a white plastic insert that allows you to scan slides and negatives.
One you do, you need to scan the slides in, which you can do in fairly large numbers, as many as the scanner will hold. Once you do, you need to use your computer to frame each slide and then save it as its own file.
That, in a nutshell, is how to scan slides. You can add lots of different details to the process, but if you want to get started now, this is how you do it.