How to Scan Photos Into a Computer

By Ann Johnson

When you scan photos into a computer, you are creating digital images, which can be edited, uploaded to websites, sent to family and friends in emails, and easily used in a variety of other ways. Special hardware is required to scan photos into a computer. Desktop scanners come in a variety of styles and designs, yet many operate in a similar fashion.

Step 1

Hook up a scanner to your computer. A desktop scanner typically has two cords. One is an electrical cord, and the second is a cord that connects to your computer.

Step 2

Plug the Universal Serial Bus (USB) plug into your computer. Normally, the cord that connects the scanner to the computer has a USB plug. Find an empty USB receptacle in your computer and plug in the cord. After you hook up the scanner to the computer, you will need to plug the electrical cord into an outlet and turn on the scanner.

Step 3

Download the scanning software onto your computer. The scanner will usually include a CD or DVD with software to manage the scanner. Insert the disk into your computer's CD or DVD drive and follow the instructions that come with the owner's manual to download.

Step 4

Start scanning photographs when the scanner setup is complete. Lift the lid to the scanner, lay the photo to be scanned facedown on the glass portion of the scanner and close the lid. The glass should be clean; be careful you do not scratch or damage the surface.

Step 5

Press the button to begin scanning the photograph. On some scanners, there are buttons that instigate the scanning process. On the scanner in the photo, the button with an icon that resembles a scanner is pressed to scan a photo.

Step 6

Choose the desired options in the menu that pops up. After you push the button to begin the scanning, a menu may appear on the screen, where you can make choices on what you want the scanner to do. Since you are scanning a picture from the glass on the scanner, that option is checked.

Step 7

Check the type of file to create. Photos can be saved to your computer in a variety of file formats, such as GIF, TIFF or JPEG. In this instance, the JPEG option is chosen in the drop-down menu.

Step 8

Choose the size of the image to create. If you are scanning your photo to use for printing, you will want to increase your ppi to 300. If you are planning to use the photo on the web, it won't be necessary to increase the size.

Step 9

Check the option to preview the scan. This will allow you to see the scan before you actually save it to your computer.

Step 10

Click the "Scan" button or link, after you have finished choosing your options.

Step 11

Adjust the border of the photograph. So you don't have to edit later, you can pull the corners of the image in or out to edit the perimeter of the picture.

Step 12

Click the "Scan" icon to complete the scan. The new digital image will be saved on your computer's hard drive. Read the instruction manual that comes with your computer to determine the default location where the images will be saved.

Step 13

Click "yes" or "no," depending on whether you want to scan more images or if you are finished.

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