Photos, slides and film represent precious memories to many people. Fires, natural disasters and moving losses take a toll on your collection of keepsakes. Instead of taking the chance you’ll lose irreplaceable family items, digitizing your collection gives you a way to keep everything safe and sound on your computer, an external hard drive, CDs, cloud storage, or other forms of backup media. Many printers sold these days are all-in-one models that include a scanner. You might be tempted to use a digital camera or smartphone to take pictures of your photos and slides, but this won’t approach the quality any scanner can output.
If you have a large collection, especially older, damaged slides and photos, it’s worth considering digmypics.com or another professional scanning service. The specialty software and professional scanners work well for items in poor condition. For other scanning situations, your computer and a scanner benefit from these five Windows applications.
This scanning software is easy enough for beginners to use, with advanced features that give experienced users enough to work with. One reason this scanning software is great is that it comes with 2,100 drivers for popular scanners. Don’t put off your scanning project because you can’t find your scanner’s drivers online. VueScan gives you a few output formats, depending on the items you’re scanning and your preference. Choose PDF, JPEG or TIFF. This software also includes optical character reader (OCR) features, although it’s not a focus of the program.
2. Windows Fax and Scan
If you don’t want to install an application, Windows has a built-in scanning software that provides you with a good variety of features. You can adjust the file type, DPI, brightness, and contrast of your scanned image. You can also crop it and perform other limited editing techniques. While it’s basic software, if you are just getting started with your scanner, and you want to learn the ropes, this is an easy software to do so with.
3. SilverFast Ai
This scanning software is one of the highest-end applications you can pick up for your scanner, outside of enterprise-level solutions. You control an incredible amount of variables for each scan. It has dust- and scratch-removal features, so if your photos and slides are heavily damaged, it fixes everything up automatically. You can let the software do the adjusting itself, or control colors, sharpness and other scanned elements.
4. Xerox Scan to PC Desktop Professional
This software is another professional-level software designed to take on scanning projects that involve a lot of written documents, such as magazine articles and newspaper clippings. If you want to scan and save important documents, as well as have the text automatically created for you, Scan to PC Desktop is a powerful OCR application. It also supports a number of commonly used cloud storage services, so you don’t have to upload the files to a cloud backup location yourself.
5. ABBYY FineReader
This scanning software is another OCR-centric selection, but it has a few key differences from other OCR software. It’s used for more than just making copies of your documents and transcribing the contents. It creates versions of the documents you can edit. It also works with printed photographs for categorization purposes.
Read more about photo scanning with our blog article covering the importance of photo resolution for scanned images here.
Have more photo scanning tips? Leave them in the comments.