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Scanner Calibration 101

Your scanner has put in years of hard work. It handles everything you run through it – not only reams and reams of paper, but insurance and credit cards with embossed characters, too. And it does it all without complaint.

So why are you getting black streaks down all your scans, all of the sudden?

There’s actually a simple solution. Recalibration usually does the trick. By recalibrating, your scanner “learns” the full range of colors by defining black and white.

Step 1. Do you still have the calibration sheet? It looks something like this:

The card scanner sheet is on the left, the document scanner sheet is on the right.

If you do have your sheet, continue reading. If it’s been misplaced or you used it to take a phone message on or something, we’ve got a solution for you, too. Just follow the instructions with a clean white sheet of paper (the brighter, the better) instead of a calibration sheet.

Oh, and by the way, if you want calibration sheets, you can get some here.

Step 2. Open your primary scanning application. The one you scan from all the time.

Step 3. Open your scanner settings. Different scanning applications have different methods for accessing it. For instance, in Windows Fax and Scan, from the New Scan window, you’ll need to click the “Change…” button, then “Properties” in the ensuing window. From there, click the “Advanced” tab and then “Calibrate”.

In the AmbirScan interface, just click the “Custom…” button.

Then click «Calibrate». Nice and easy.

Step 5. Next, make sure your calibration sheet is loaded straight, with the arrows facing toward the scanner.

Step 6. Click «Calibrate» in the popup window.

You’ve got about 15-25 seconds to kill while it calibrates, so feel free to check your email or pet the dog or grab another cup of coffee from the kitchen. When it’s done calibrating, your scans should be clear and crisp again!