Saturday, June 11, 2011

Using a scanner on my Dell E520

Nine years ago, when I bought a Dell Dimension 4550, along with it I got an Epson Perfection 1260 scanner as I was sure it was something I was going to use a lot.
Truth be told, in the intervening years, I've hardly every used it and I think the last time was, at least, two years ago.
But this week, a need arose so I had to brush up on how to use it.
In Ubuntu 11.04, I used Xsane Image Scanning Program which is very feature-rich.
With the scanner hooked up to the computer and turned on, you can issue these commands:

scanimage -L

Both independently detect and identify your scanner, so if they don't pick up anything, you might be in trouble.
Anyway, supposing it is, using xsane is very easy. The only problem I had involved the "default" scan size (dimensions of part of scanner area to be scanned) was quite a bit smaller than the first photo I tried to scan.
Took me a while to find out how to rectify this but, as is normal, it's actually very simple once you know how.
The solution was to choose the Window tab for Xsane and then check Show Advanced Options.
Now a new window should open which allow you to define the "geometry" of the of the full scanner area to be scanned by selecting where all four corners of your chosen rectangle will lie.
Of course, there are many other options for defining your scan. I found it useful to select View>Show Resolution List as this permits you to choose higher or lower DPIs for your scan. Note that higher DPI (dots-per-inch) produce higher quality scans but quality comes at the price of size so watch your MBs.
It's also very useful to check Window>Show Preview as you can see how your scan will turn out without creating any files.
When you're satisfied, just hit Scan and wait.

In Ubuntu, I did not need to install any drivers so they must be included in the kernel. In contrast, in Windows XP on the same machine, no scanner was detected in Control Panel>Scanners and Cameras.
So I installed the epson695eu driver from here.
Installing the driver was straightforward.
After that, to scan involved using the Scanner and Camera wizard, which is fairly basic but does offer some preferences including the size of the area to be scanned.
A more complete scanning software, but commercial, is available for Windows called VueScan9. I tried out the trial version of this and it does add some interesting features but I wasn't tempted to buy it.

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