Get to Grips with Image Capture in Mac OS X

May 26, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you own a camera, scanner or any other imaging device that you can connect to your Mac, you might think that you need to spend money on iLife and use the iPhoto application in order to capture and edit images.

However, this isn’t quite true. While iPhoto is great to use and offers far more features, if your Mac is an older device or you don’t have the funds to stretch to iLife right now, you can take advantage of the native Image Capture app that comes as part of Mac OS X.

Using this tool, you can capture and apply basic editing to images from an iPhone or digital camera, or your scanner. Most usefully, it can also be used to manage photos and import them from your iOS device to your computer.

In this tutorial, we’re going to take a look at how Image Capture can be used to scan a document to your PC.

Get to Grips with Image Capture

Scanning with Image Capture

If you have a photo, magazine page or perhaps comic strip image that you wish to scan, Image Capture is a great way of digitizing and copying this information to your Mac.

Get started by opening the tool from Applications > Image Capture, and loading your scanner with the document you wish to scan. If your scanner is powered up, you should see it listed under Devices in the left sidebar.

Notice the drop down menu at the bottom of the screen – by default this will show Pictures as the location to save your scans to, but you can select any location by clicking the arrow, choosing from the other defaults or selecting Other…. You should also notice the Detect Separate Items checkbox. This is activated by default and will find items on the document that you are scanning that might appear to be separate from the main content but wish you also wish to scan. Detect Separate Items will save you having to cut these items down by automatically selecting them.

Click Scan to start the scanner, and a few moments later you should have the image scanned and ready to save!

Making Adjustments and Saving Your Scan

With the document scanned, you can begin to make some adjustments. For instance you might wish to narrow down the area that is being scanned to a specific section of the document. This can be done by clicking into the select area after the scan and dragging the selection box or adjusting the position of the handles.

Once scanned, the document will be saved in the default JPEG format in the specified folder, but via the Show Details button you can also adjust the resolution and scan type (for instance, switch between Colour and Text), give the document a new name and change the file format. When you’re happy with these settings, click Scan again to take a new scan that meets the new settings!

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