Scanning with Image Capture

You can use the Image Capture app to scan documents and pictures instead of any software that may have come with your scanner. This can extend the life of scanners with incompatible software and may give you more features.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Scanning with Image Capture.

You may already be familiar with the app on your Mac called Image Capture. Image Capture can be used, for instance, to pull photos off of cameras or phones without having to go through the Photos app. But you can use it for other things as well.

I'm going to run it here by just using Spotlight here, searching for Image Capture and hitting Return. You can find it in the Applications folder if you want. It will come up with a list of devices. In this case there's my iPhone. But also under Shared, I see now, I've got one and I show it and there's my scanner. My scanner shows up under Shared because it's a shared wifi scanner. If you have it hooked directly to your Mac it may show up under devices.

If I select it I can now, it will just do this overview scan of what is on the scanning bed right now and you can see, there it is. I can expand this window quite a bit which I'm going to want to do to see more detail. So let me expand it this much. Now I can really see the detail in here. Notice a couple of things.

First of all you have this high this High Detail to show details button. If you didn't see all this happen when you first selected the scanner click Show Details to bring that up. Second is it automatically detected that there's a region with something in it and it outlined it. Now you can just accept that and go to scan right now which is what I'm going to do or you can adjust this by dragging the corners here to adjust the edges. You can also select multiple items. So I can click and drag here and you see I've selected a second area. So now if I hit scan it will actually scan two separate files and you can do as many as you want. You can select existing ones and just hit the Delete key to delete them.

So I can scan this in. I've got lots of options here. I can go between the document feeder type scanner and a flatbed. I can go color, black and white, or even lower quality than black and white for just text documents. Select a resolution. I can even rotate what I've got here which is something I'm going to want to do because you can see this image is rotated on its side. The Auto selection, I can select one of these now and it would reset everything. I can determine where I want to scan to or I can select any folder I want. Give it a Name and I select a Format. So for images jpeg is great and there's other image formats as well. If you're doing documents you may want to just go to PDF which will give you a PDF document with the image inside it which is probably what you want if you're scanning a document and not a picture. You also have some image correction which you can use here with the brightness, tint, temperature saturation, that kind of thing.

So let's go and change the rotation angle to 90 degrees. I can also click and drag this handle here to rotate it freely. But I'll do 90 degrees and once I've done that this is going to mess up the selection so I'm going to reselect by grabbing the corners. So now with the 90 angle it should scan this the right side up. I'm going to hit scan and it will scan just this region and put it in a file. It's 300 dots per inch jpeg and stick it on the desktop and there it is. I will also see it here under scan results. Hit the magnifying glass there to jump right to it in the Finder if I'm not sure where it was. I can double click it here and it will open up in Preview and there's my scan. You can see I could even have gone tighter here at the top and right sides because there's a little bit of white space in there. Or I can just continue here in Preview and crop it a little bit more.
Of course I can use that jpeg in anything I want.

Doing this in Image Capture is really handy. You may get software that comes with your scanner that sometimes may have more capabilities. Sometimes it may have less. So you may want to look at using Image Capture. Also some scanners they may not even have software or at least software that's even up to date with the current version of Mac OS and Image Capture might be the way to do it.

There's also some cases where you need to install the scanning software in order for the scanner to be recognized by your Mac. But once you do you now have the option to either use their default software for scanning or simply use Image Capture which may be a quicker, easier way with more features. So you should definitely look into at least trying Image Capture out with your scanner to see whether or not you like it.

Comments: 10 Responses to “Scanning with Image Capture”

    2 years ago

    You mentioned and used 300dpi. Of what use are the higher resolutions, and how would I know if/when I want to use one of them?

    2 years ago

    The resolutions are literal. So 300dpi gets your 300 dots per inch. 150 gets you 150 dots per inch. The higher the resolution, the more detail you get. The more detail you get, the closer the image will look to the real thing on your screen and when you print out. 300 is probably overkill for most documents. But it is pretty standard for photographs. 600 is even better for photographs, at least if they are high quality prints you are scanning.

    Brant Merryman
    2 years ago

    You can also use Preview.

    Philip Noguchi
    2 years ago

    Can you use an iPhone with scanner software with Image Capture?

    2 years ago

    Philip: there are lots of good scanning apps, which usually take a photo and then straighten the page in post processing. But there’s nothing special I can think of to hook them to your Mac via Image Capture, other than using it to download the photos like with any other photo you take.

    Kirk Edgar Aplin
    2 years ago

    I gave up on the apps that came with my scanners years ago. They all seemed klunky, PC oriented, and didn’t work well with my macs. Image Capture has done everything I’ve wanted to do including scanning images, negatives, and documents. I recommend it to anyone who has a Mac and asks me how to scan with it.

    2 years ago

    Gary. I use and like Image Capture. I see your phone was connected but mine is not. How do you connect a phone to Image Capture and what would be the advantage of doing so? Thank you!

    2 years ago

    Andrew: Your iPhone will show up, but it needs to be connected with a cable, not with Wi-Fi. One use is to grab photos or video from your camera roll before you sync it to Photos. For instance, grabbing a work-related video off the phone before syncing personal photos and videos to Photos.

    Danny C Davis
    2 years ago

    Thank you, Gary, for the excellent tutorial. I had no idea that Image Capture could be used for scanning. I had been using an app called HP Easy Scan to work with my outdated HP scanner but IC gives me more options.

    2 years ago

    It is just as easy to use System Preferences> Printers&Scanners. Click on Scan> Open Scanner. An “overview” automatically starts to scan a draft and then gives you all the same options to make adjustments (Kind, Resolution, Auto detect enclosing box etc.) When these are adjusted to the type of scan, click on Scan. Most folks forget to set “Scan to” so they can find the scan later.

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