A SilverFast Scanning Secret

A technical post: the solution to a scanning problem that has been puzzling me for a while:

How do I scan a one inch wide image so that it appears as a one inch wide image in my publication?

Scan Dimensions

I use a the versatile SilverFast SE Plus scanning program to operate my CanoScan 8800F scanner which takes care of all the settings for you – ideal if you’re scanning a batch of slides or if you always print your images to a consistent size but my drawings are all different sizes and I couldn’t understand why they were being doubled or tripled in size by the SilverFast program.

Here’s how to do it. In the Scan dimensions dialogue:

  1. Set Format to Custom.
  2. Set the Preset for your output. In my case 300 ppi is the one that I use for print.
  3. Set Res. to the same size, in my case 300 ppi (I find that I can’t set this slider to lower than 150 ppi)

If all that has worked, the Width and Height Inputs and Outputs should be identical and Zoom should be 100%.

The kind of resolution I was getting (detail at 300 ppi).
The resolution I was trying for (100 ppi).

What had confused me about this dialogue was that if I chose a preset option in Format I couldn’t set the output resolution manually and that was why I was ending up with unpredictably magnified scans of my drawings.

I’d normally scan at 100 ppi and output at 100 ppi for the web, but, as that seems to be impossible with my set up, I’m scanning everything at 300 then reducing the resolution in Photoshop. This has the advantage that if I do ever need to print an image, I can revert to the original high res scan that I’ve saved in folder labelled ‘Artwork’.

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