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Going Paperless: The "Best" Scan Settings

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I thought I would share with everyone what I think are the "best" scan settings for materials that have Chinese or Japanese in them. Broadly speaking, I think the results I found in my tests apply to other languages like English, which are less complicated and allow for a little more flexibility.

If I am scanning something in Chinese or Japanese for my research, I generally use 600 dpi with black and white settings, because this is the best combination of readability, scan speed, and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) results. If I want better readability, especially for a poorly printed text, I'll use grayscale. The scan speed is slower, and the OCR results are not as good, but I will be able to zoom in and make out more details than I could with black and white. This is especially nice on the iPad with the retina display, which enables me to easily view text almost as well as I could with a magnifying lens and the original paper page.

The link below shows the Evernote and Adobe OCR results for the PDF files, and the Evernote results for the images.


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Thanks Grumpy.

I only use English text but your settings definitely do apply. In fact, I did my own testing and ended up with almost the exact same conclusions. The only difference is that much of what I scan is crumpled receipts or things like my electric bill which is printed in almost-black on yellow paper so I opted for grayscale as the default. B&W is just a bit too unforgiving for most of what I scan.

If anyone else is looking for the best scan settings I'd say start with Grumpy's settings and adjust to meet your specific needs.

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I think a close second to 600 dpi black and white would be 300 dpi grayscale. It is quicker, produces good readability (not quite as good, in my opinion), and is quite close with the OCR quality.

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