How do I change default scan settings?
October 30, 2009 9:44 AM   Subscribe

How can I reduce the file size of a scanned document in Windows XP?

I have narrowed it down to something in the XP OS.

Boss has a Canon MFP that would scan to his PC. Test scan file would be about 300Kb pdf.
Boss got a new PC. I installed the same Canon software and used the same settings his old PC used, except now the actual scan takes longer and the file is over 1,000Kb.
I uninstalled the Canon software on both machines and used the built in Windows fax and scan app...same thing...old PC creates a fast scan with small output file, new PC creates a slower scan with a larger output file.
Again, all settings, resolution, ect. are the same on both machines.

I know there is free third party software to reduce after the fact, but I don't want to go there and give him another step to do.

Can't find anything that applies to this scenario on G. As always, thanks in advance.
posted by MrMulan to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
So it sounds like you're hoping to walk in and have a good idea of exactly what to do; let's see what we can do there.

This is a machine running Windows 7, right? Or at least Vista?

I'm not familiar with Canon scanner drivers in particular, but the place to start will be the "Scanners and Cameras" menu in the control panel. The easiest way to get there is to open the start menu and type "Scanners and Cameras;" in a moment, the option you want will pop up, and you can click on it. This will bring up a list of scanners, and buttons to Add a Scanner, check your Scanner Profiles, and change the Scanner Properties. My money is on changing the scanner properties.
posted by koeselitz at 9:53 AM on October 30, 2009

Ah, so are you saying the new computer's running XP, too?

If so, same deal. Just remember that you can reach the scanners through start -> control panel -> printers and scanners.
posted by koeselitz at 9:57 AM on October 30, 2009

Response by poster: I think it's something deeper in the XP OS than the property settings.

Both machines are running XP.

I have triple checked that all the usual places where settings can be modified are the same on both machines.
I don't think the Canon software has anything to do with it, since I removed it from both machines, rebooted, and experienced the same thing using Windows fax and scan.
posted by MrMulan at 9:59 AM on October 30, 2009

I can't really imagine that this is in the OS; if they're both running XP, then that's the same on both machines, too, right? And the OS shouldn't muck about much with the scan-to-PDF function; that's the Canon software's job.

Which leaves hardware. Hmm.

What software are you using to scan to PDF? Describe the process; are you scanning from another program like Photoshop? Are you just clicking on an icon that says "scan to PDF?" Is there a Canon scanner program?
posted by koeselitz at 10:26 AM on October 30, 2009

I had a similar issue with some xerox documate 510s. Solution was to uninstall the software, and then the scanner driver. And then uninstall the device which was "hidden". Reference here. After that I downloaded the latest drivers from the xerox. (So this doesn't address the cause, but I figured maybe as a last resort if you needed one).
posted by syntheticfaith at 11:21 AM on October 30, 2009

Do you have Adobe Acrobat V9 installed on your own machine? I noticed that my scans seem to be larger and slower (with the same resolution), since I updated my version of Acrobat. I am wondering if the default PDF conversion settings are somehow different for newer versions of Acrobat. Another thing I noticed is that my scanned PDF files look more bitty/noisy with the new version of Acrobat unless I magnify them to 100% resolution - previous versions looked fine at lower magnifications.
There is an optimize function in Acrobat: in the Document menu, select Optimize PDF. You can make the file a lot smaller by trying some of these settings (although some affect the display and print quality - don't overwrite the original scan).
There are a set of preset scanning options in Acrobat. I'm not sure if they operate globally or not. (Acrobat settings do tend to overwrite application defaults, so they may). I played with these; they seemed to make some difference to file size but not as much as I hoped.
To configure scanning presets (Windows)
1. Choose File > Create PDF > From Scanner > Configure Presets.
2. In the Configure Presets dialog box, select a preset: Black & White Document, Grayscale Document, Color Document, or Color Image.
3. Adjust the settings as needed.
4. Click Save to save the preset, and then click OK.
posted by Susurration at 11:30 AM on October 30, 2009

old PC creates a fast scan with small output file,

Are you sure its the same? Stuff like DPI and color depth bit might be hidden from the menus you are used to looking at. Grayscale vs B&W vs color make a difference too. Also your app may scan at the same quality but save at different ones. A jpeg with a quality of 95 will produce and filesize bigger than one at 35. Check those settings too.

Not to mention your compression scheme can only do so much. A tiff or jpeg thats a simple black and white document will be much, much smaller than something busy and complex or with a busy background or photo. So if youre used to scanning business type letters and are now scanning photos or things with more graphics then you'll get a larger file size.

You can always resave jpegs using Paint.NET or another free editor and shave down their quality settings. Or if you want PDFs you can make PDFs for free with PDFCreator and select the quality level you like.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:39 AM on October 30, 2009

Maybe there's some OCR happening? Can you highlight text in the PDF and copy to another document? That could both slow things down and bloat the files (but that shouldn't change file size so drastically, right?
posted by filthy light thief at 12:10 PM on October 30, 2009

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