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How to Connect Your Surface to a Scanner

When you need to send somebody a copy of a paper document, the Surface gives you two options: You can simply take a photo of it with your Surface’s built-in camera. Or, if the Accounting Department requires higher-quality images for your Las Vegas expense receipts, you can scan them with a scanner.

Your Surface’s Scan app, found on the Start screen, ignores many older scanners, unfortunately. But if your scanner is relatively new, the Scan app is a refreshing change from complicated scanner menus.

Follow these steps to transform a sheet of paper into a computer file:

1

From the Start screen, open the Scan app.

Shown in the margin, the Scan app appears on the screen. Don’t see the Scan app’s icon on the Start screen? Slide your finger upward from the middle of the Start screen to see the All Apps screen, then tap it from there.

If the Scan app complains that your scanner isn’t connected, make sure you’ve connected the USB cord between your computer and the scanner and that the scanner is turned on.

The Scan app lists your scanner’s name and the file type used for saving your files. (The default PNG file type is widely accepted by most programs.)

If the app doesn’t recognize your scanner, your scanner is too old. You’re stuck with the scanner’s bundled software — if it works — or, unfortunately, buying a new scanner.

2

To change the settings, tap the Show More link.

The app’s default settings work fine for most jobs. But tapping the Show More link lets you customize your options for scanning certain items:

File Type: If somebody requests a scan using a particular file type, like TIFF, Bitmap, OpenXPS or XPS, chose it here. Otherwise, stick with the default PNG.

Color mode: Choose Color for color items, including color photos and color magazine pages. Choose Grayscale for nearly everything else. Only choose Black and White for line drawings or black-and-white clip art; grayscale works better for everything else.

Resolution (DPI): The default resolution of 300 dots per inch works fine. Higher resolution scans (larger numbers) bring more detail but consume more space, making them difficult to e-mail. Lower resolution scans show less detail but create smaller file sizes.

Save File To: The Scan app normally creates a Scans folder in your Surface’s Pictures folder, where it stores your newly scanned images. If you prefer a different folder, tap this to choose it.

3

Tap the Preview button to test your scan.

The Scan app makes a first pass and shows you the results.

If the preview doesn’t look right, make sure you’ve made the right choice for your job. If you need to make different choices, go back to Step 2. If the preview shows a blank white page, make sure you’ve unlocked the scanner as described in the scanner’s bundled instruction sheets. (Unlocking usually requires sliding a switch or turning a knob.)

If you’re scanning a smaller item that doesn’t fill the entire scanner bed, look for the circle markers in each corner of the preview scan. Drag each circle inward to surround the area you want to copy. That crops your scan to remove the boring white space.

4

Tap the Scan button.

The Scan app scans your image with the settings you’ve chosen in the previous steps and then saves your image in your Pictures folder’s Scan folder. Then it places a menu atop the screen with two options, View and Close.

5

Tap View to see the scan; tap Close to close the menu.

View splits the screen, showing your Scan app on the screen’s left side, while the Photo app displays your scanned item on the right side.

To rotate a photo in the Photos app, slide your finger up from the screen’s top or bottom edge to fetch the Photo app’s menus. Then tap the Rotate button, shown in the margin, until the photo faces the way you want.

To close the preview window, find the three little dots separating the Scan app’s window from the Photo apps window. Then slide the dots to the right, pushing the Photo app off the screen. That leaves the Scan app on the screen, ready for more photos.

The Scan app works well for fast, easy scans. But it relies on the simple, built-in Windows software, which doesn’t understand a scanner’s built-in control buttons like PDF, or AutoScan.

If you want your scanner’s buttons to work or you need finer control over your scans, skip the Scan app, head for the desktop, and install the scanner’s bundled software. (On some scanner models, Windows Update installs the scanner’s bundled software automatically as soon as you plug in the scanner.)

You can only install the scanner’s bundled software on a Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2. It won’t work on a Surface RT or Surface 2.

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