How to scan oversized documents

Scan Large Documents Using Regular Scanner

Sometimes you need to scan blueprints, posters, photos, and similar records of ample size. You may need a soft copy for saving them or to use them for different purposes. Though you can scan oversized documents in a wide scanner of the professional type, not everyone can afford high-end scanners with large screens. However, you need to put in a lot of manual effort to turn it into one piece.

Both of these solutions are not practical enough to use frequently. These days you have a helping hand from third parties such as an application or software. They can help your flatbed-scanned humble image parts to turn into a fabulous single document.

You might already own a scanner suitable to scan A4 size, but now you need to scan larger documents. Even an inch larger than your scanner size cannot be scanned straightaway. Here I will let you know how to scan oversize documents using your existing scanner. After reading this guide, you will understand how to do it correctly and with less effort. All you need to do is use the folding method or apply the stitching method with the help of software.

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Fujitsu scansnap ix1500

For Large Paper Documents

When your document is larger than your scanner, you can scan it using a carrier sheet or folding it in half. Say you need to scan A3, and your scanner is for A4, then you can apply this method. You can do it in two ways, i.e., by using a carrier sheet and without using it. Each of them has various challenges and advantages as below.

How To Scan Oversize Documents Without Carrier Sheet

Simply folding it in half is equally effective as using a carrier sheet. The difference is in placing the sheet into the scanner. Without a carrier, there are high chances of messing up the angle, resulting in skewed documents. You need to be extremely careful in sending the paper inside and setting the side guides so that the paper remains as straight as possible.

It is the best method when you have a scanner that does not allow carrier sheets or does not have one handy but need a scan urgently. When done with caution, this is the simplest possible method in which you do not need extra accessories or third-party software. Mostly it is possible to merge documents scanned in this manner using the scanner provided software itself.

Scanning with paper folded mode without a carrier sheet

This pertains to the insertion part. The merging process is the same as the carrier sheet method once the scanning is done.

How To Scan Oversize Documents With Carrier Sheet

The carrier sheet, when scanned along with the half-folded document, helps in merging both sides of it. However, your scanner should be compatible with the carrier sheet, and you may need to buy carrier sheets separately. They are an inexpensive solution when compared to a high-end scanner.

Process Of Scanning Using The Carrier Sheet

Follow the below instructions for achieving document parts that produce perfectly scanned parts. Carrier sheet scanned documents help you in the effortless merging of the documents.

  • Bind the carrier sheet and the document by folding the document into half and put the side that needs to be scanned to face outside. The folds must be smooth and tight without creases.
  • Usually, carrier sheets have a pattern that helps in aligning the document. For instance, the Fujitsu scansnap ix1500 scanner has a black and white pattern on top with a thick line in the right corner placed vertically on the upper side.
  • You need to place the document in the carrier sheet, as mentioned in your scanner’s instructions. Most of them recommend placing the document without leaving space in the upper right corner of the carrier sheet.
  • Load it from the indicated end here for the Fujitsu scanner. It will be the patterned side going in as the lead edge.
  • Make sure the side guides are also aligned with the carrier sheet on both ends. Scan the document.
  • It will either be prompted for saving or automatically saved in the predestined folder, depending on your scanner settings.

Merging The Scanned Images

Now comes the merging process. There are two cases of document merging. They merge automatically when you have content such as text, images, or tables on the fold line. When the fold line is blank, you need to merge them manually.

The merge is possible only when the orientation and size of both documents are the same. Open the folder containing the images, select the documents to be merged, and apply the merge option. There may be several settings involved in this process, and you need to follow the instructions depending on your software.

Note: Always check your carrier sheets for any stains, dirt, or scratches as those marks can appear in your scans.

For Extra Large Color Documents

Some tools can give you a large image output using your home scanner.PT Stitcher, PhotoStitcher, PTgui, Adobe Photoshop, or Adobe Elements are a few examples of stitching programs available for this purpose. Instructions may differ in each of these options, but they smoothly guide you through the process. For instance, the stitching feature in Adobe products is called “Photomerge.” The rest of the software mentioned is dedicated to photo stitching programs.

Scanning in pieces and merging using Adobe Photoshop

Let me explain to you the process of how to do it in a step-by-step manner.

Step 1: Scan

Prepare your large document to scan it in smaller pieces depending on the image you planned to scan and the scanner you have. Make sure that 30% of the image is overlapping, using which they will be joined later. Approximate measures will do, and no need to work accurately here as in the manual case since the program will automatically fix the joining issues such as distortion, skew, and discrepancies.

Step 2: Prepare

It’s time to use the software. Open the software and add the scanned images to the program using the plus button or just drag and drop them. Load all the scanned images that you need to stitch together.

Step 3: Stitch

Now that you are ready to combine the documents by loading them proceed to the next step. Look for the combining option in the toolbar and click on it. The software automatically combines all the scanned images into a single document. Before doing so, it prompts for selecting the mode where you pick the appropriate option. The software identifies the joining ends of each document and combines them flawlessly using the extra overlap you allowed. It finds an optimum join by eliminating the unwanted, repeated data once it finds the perfect alignment between them.

Thus, images will look similar to the original document as any distortions and color differences of brightness or contrast are all adjusted by the software automatically.

There are few other ways, such as getting them scanned at a service-provider or taking the help of a friend who has a large scanner. Another method is to photograph it part by part and add it together. Clicking them in equal brightness is one task and joining them is another, which you might end up spending a lot of time and energy. Yet, the results are not guaranteed to be acceptable.

Few Tips And Tricks For Different Types Of Papers That Need To Be Scanned

Papers we use for scanning may not be ready right away for us to scan. In that case, a little preparation will help in processing them successfully.

  • Fragile documents in a crumbling state either get damaged or stuck in the scanner if sent in bare. It is better to place those in a carrier sheet.
  • When scanning large papers that are weak at folds, use a documented tape. They are designed especially for adding strength without obstructing the details. That way, they do not tear or give away while folding them and running through the scanner.
  • Make sure you flatten the original folds of a large document properly without creases. Only then make new folds according to the required size tight and creaseless.
  • Always choose the optical resolution possible with your scanner rather than the interpolated for good quality output.
  • Transparency drawings might not be suitable for direct scanning as the lines below may show up when folded. So, adding a white background paper before folding can give appropriate results.
  • Check your settings for proper paper thickness and resolution.
  • Also, color settings such as monochrome, greyscale, and color should be chosen depending on the document.
  • Especially for color documents, make sure the settings are of a merge-friendly format, meaning the color profile can identify maximum colors.

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You can use both flatbed scanners and automatic document feeder scanners for the above purposes. I hope the above methods answer your doubts on – How to Scan Oversize Documents? While these methods are feasible when you already have a scanner, you scan large documents once in a while.

However, if you need to do loads of such scanning, consider investing in large format scanners that will take away the extra labor and save your time. If you are considering buying a scanner, then going for a larger scanner is better in this case. Even if you need to scan larger documents than the wide format scanner, it will take fewer passes than an A4 scanner.

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