Get the best results when scanning images

  • Updated

What format should I save my scans in?

If you have printed images, old photos, newspaper clippings, artwork, handwritten or typed letters, book/journal pages, or other printed content which you'd like to place in your book, we recommend scanning your content and saving the scan as a PNG file. 

PNGs are a lossless format which will provide better results for scanned content than JPGs. (JPG files are a lossy format. That's fine for most digital photos straight out of a camera but not ideal for scans of already-printed material). 

If you do not have the option to save your scans directly as PNG files then first save them TIF files (if that's an option). Then re-save those TIFs as PNGs. 

Tips for scanning

Blurb can't scan your content for you but you can pay someone to do it (google photo scanning service) or you can do it yourself. 

If you do it yourself you'll need to select the right settings. You can find lots of valuable tips on scanning images at (This is an external site with no association with Blurb--we just find it a very informative resource). There you'll find best practices for scanning and a great overview of digital images in general. You'll also find more complex explanations for those who want more details.

Here are a few of the more relevant pages:

Also, Blurb prints at a maximum of 300dpi. So you should save your scans at 300dpi at the size you plan to print them in. For example, if your original image is 3x4 inches and you plan to print it at 6x8 inches, scan it at least 600dpi. 

Check your scans

Try a test scan or two and then give the scanned and saved PNG image the 200% test by zooming in to the image at 200%. If you see grain, blurriness, pixellation or other issues in the scanned PNG then the printed photo will look the same (or worse). Adjust your settings to minimize those issues.

If you're seeing grain or a thatched/blocky pattern in your scanned images, try the tips here:

And the 200% test isn't just for scans--it's a good test for any image you plan to use in your book, whether a scan or a photo straight out of the camera.

Of course, the ultimate test is the printed Blurb book. It's always a good idea to order and review a single copy from Blurb before placing a larger order, making it available for sale, or submitting it for a school project.

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