Basic Instructions for Scanning Photos and Documents for Archiving or Restoration

Posted on September 13, 2016 by Jennifer Stingley at
Categories: Digital Photo Restoration, Document Preservation, Photo Preservation, Resources, Scanning Techniques

Note: These instructions currently apply for anyone using a computer running on Windows Vista, or Windows 7. We will do our best to add directions for both Mac users, and those using older and newer versions of Windows, as soon as possible.

Scanning documents and photos for archival purposes (and, optionally, restoration) can be an extremely daunting task when you’re unsure of the best process to use. In this post, we’ll go over very basic directions to help ensure you get the best results possible, with the least amount of stress and difficulty.

  1. Make sure that your scanner bed (the glass plate inside your scanner) is clean. If not, be sure to check your owner’s manual for cleaning instructions before proceeding.
  2. Open Windows Fax and Scan, a free program that should have been included with your computer when you bought it:
    • Open the Start menu.
    • In the search bar, type Windows Fax and Scan, and then hit Enter.
    • Find Windows Fax and Scan in the search results, and click to open the program.
  3. On the screen that first appears, click “New Scan”, as shown in the image below.
    Using Windows Fax and Scan: Step One: New Scan
  4. You may be asked to choose a device – click on the scanner you’re going to be using, and click OK.
  5. Next, you’ll be greeted by the screen pictured below (some of the settings may be different at first, but we’re going to adjust them in just a minute).
  6. Determine which of the following suits your needs, and adjust the settings in the interface accordingly:
    • Documents should be scanned at 300 dpi, and saved as JPG files
    • Photos being scanned solely for archival purposes can be scanned at up to 600 dpi, although 300 should be fine, and saved as JPG files
    • Photos being restored should be scanned at no less than 600 dpi (and up to 1200 dpi), and saved as TIF files
  7. Once your settings have been modified, click the OK button, and wait until your scan is complete!

We hope these directions have helped you to learn the basics of scanning photos and documents using Windows Fax and Scan. Have questions or tips? Please comment below!

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Please feel free to use this article, in its entirety, in any way you see fit, so long as you include the byline in any copies, and properly cite it if used as research material.

To cite this post:
Jennifer Lynn Stingley, "Basic Instructions for Scanning Photos and Documents for Archiving or Restoration," Ancestor Archaeology, 13 September 2016 ( : accessed [22 October 2018]).

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