3.3 B. Tips for scanning using ABBYY FineReader software

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3.3  B.  Tips for scanning using ABBYY FineReader software

Contributed by Bookshare volunteer  Donna Smith


Back to:  3. Scan a Book


              A)  Setting the Settings
                   1.  General page
                   2. View page
                   3. Scan Open Image page
                   4. Recognition Page
                   5. Check Spelling page
                   6. Formatting Page

              B)  Doing the scan


A)  Setting the Settings

      As with other scanning software, it's all in the options and how you set them.  What I describe below
      are my typical settings for scanning in Two-page mode, regular print, straight text, with the book fitting
      nicely on the scanner bed.  Any setting can be changed or tweaked to produce slightly different results,
      but this is the base from which I usually start.


      Open FineReader and go to the Tools menu by pressing:
          Alt    (for menus)

      and then
          't'     (for Tools)

      This will probably put you on the spell-check selection.


      Now press:
          'o'     (for Options)
      and you will find yourself in a dialogue box with six groups of settings to muck around with.

      These six groups are:
      1.  General page,
      2.  View page,
      3.  Scan Open Image page,
      4.  Recognition page,
      5.  Check Spelling page, and
      6.  Formatting page.


      Now the fun begins.  In each group of settings above, you have choices to make, check boxes to
      check or uncheck, a myriad of little things that will fine tune the scan you get, and when you learn
      what they all can do for you,
      you will find that your life as a scanner and the lives of all of our proofreader friends will suddenly
      become much better.

      I urge you to really explore all of these options on numerous occasions until they begin to make sense and
      you begin to understand their purpose. There's nothing that can be done in a dialogue box that can't be undone. The worst thing that will happen is that you get a really lousy scan because you chose the wrong combination of settings for that particular book. The best thing that can happen is that you learn your software and produce really excellent scans.

So now I'll go through each group of settings one at a time, giving the settings I use for the typical scan mentioned above. Under each group, I'll list the options available and then the settings that I use.


1. General page

A. Interface language:  English

B. Show image during scanning:  check box CHECKED

C. Show tips during recognition:  check box NOT checked

D. Open last batch at start-up:  check box CHECKED

E. Adjust image to fit printable area while printing:  NOT checked

F. Show welcome dialogue at start-up:  NOT checked

G. Enable ABBYY community news channel:  NOT checked

H. Save button

I. Load button

J. Use defaults button

K. Close button.

Note:  For now, we'll do nothing with H through K.


2. View page

A. Appearance item:  Uncertain character

B. None button

C. Block frames width:  1

D. Show black and white images in image window:  NOT checked

E. Show black and white images in zoom window:  NOT checked

F. Show zoom windows scroll bars:  CHECKED

G. Show scale black and white images as gray:  CHECKED

H. Highlight uncertain characters:  CHECKED

I. Show nonprinted characters in window:  NOT checked

J. Switch to full page mode:  CHECKED

K. Drafter editor font size:  12

L. Close button.


3. Scan Open Image page

A. Scanner twain driver:  Epson Twain 5 (of course this needs to be set for your own scanner)

B. Use FineReader interface:  CHECKED (very important)

C. Display options dialogue before scanning:  NOT checked

D. Scanner settings button
Pressing Enter here will open yet another dialogue box, but one that is pretty important. So press Enter, and here are my settings:


I. Image orientation:  Landscape

II. Measure units:  Inches

III. Paper size:  Letter

IV. Brightness automatic:  CHECKED

V. Pictures scanning mode:  Black and white pictures

VI. Resolution:  300

VII. Pause between pages:  CHECKED (and for some reason, this has to be checked every time you scan no matter how you save the settings.)

VIII. Edit box for seconds to pause:  5

IX. Show this dialogue box before scanning:  NOT checked

X. Okay button

XI. Cancel button

Note:  pressing Okay after setting your options will return you to the original dialogue box and back to the D. option of the scanner settings button.


So now we'll resume going through the third group of options under the Scan Open Image page.

E. Invert image:  NOT checked

F. Despeckle image:  NOT checked

G. Split dual pages:  CHECKED (very important)

H. Detect image orientation during scanning:  CHECKED

I. Convert color and gray images to black and white:  NOT checked

J. Ask for page number before adding page to batch:  NOT checked

K. Open image during scanning:  CHECKED

L. Close button.


4. Recognition Page

A. Recognition language:  English

B. Edit languages

C. Auto detect layout:  CHECKED

D. Clear background noise:  CHECKED

E. Look for bar codes:  NOT checked

F. Auto detect:  CHECKED

G. One line of text per cell:  NOT checked

H. No merged cells in table:  NOT checked

I. Do not use user patterns:  CHECKED

J. Pattern editor button

K. Close button


5. Check Spelling page

A. Stop at words with uncertain characters:  CHECKED

B. Stop at words not found in dictionary:  CHECKED

C. Stop at compound words:  NOT checked

D. Ignore words with digits and other non-alphabetic characters:  CHECKED

E. Skip prompting for word forms (English dictionary only):  CHECKED

F. Correct spaces before and after punctuation marks:  CHECKED

G. Error display level set before recognition:  Standard

H. View dictionaries button

I. Browse button

J. Close button.


6. Formatting Page

A. Retain font and font size:  CHECKED

B. Keep pictures:  NOT checked

C. Serif:  Times New Roman

D. Sans seriff:  Arial

E. Monospaced:  Courier New

F. Format settings button
This is another important one, so press Enter and here's what you get:


I. RTF docs word xml tab

II. Default paper size:  letter

III. Automatically increase paper size:  CHECKED

IV. Keep page breaks:  checked (super-mega important)

V. Keep line breaks:  NOT checked (also pretty darn significant)

VI. Retain text color, NOT checked

VII. Remove optional hyphens:  CHECKED (another major time-saver)

VIII. Enable FineReader zoom Window in Microsoft Word 2003 only for word xml format, NOT checked

IX. With text color:  NOT checked

X. With background color:  NOT checked

XI. Save in Word 97 or later format:  CHECKED

XII. JPEG:  CHECKED

XIII. JPEG quality:  50

XIV. Reduce picture resolution to:  150

XV. Okay button

XVI. Cancel button

Note:  After making selections, press OK and you will be returned to the regularly scheduled program, which was the formatting page.


G. Close button


At this point:
  -  use Control-tab to take you back to the general page where we started this odyssey,
  -  tab over until you get to Save,
  -  press Enter and name this Settings File,
      preferably something that will make sense when you try to remember it later.

Then tab over to the nearest Close button, and press Enter. You will now be ready to scan, or you can close out FineReader and return later with the settings saved.


When you open FineReader again and are ready to scan a book in Two-page Mode with no extra frills:
  -  press Alt, t and o to get back to the Options under the Tools menu,
  -  Control-tab until you land on General page,
  -  tab over to the Load button,
  -  press Enter,
  -  type in the name of the settings file you created, and
  -  press Enter.


You will then need to:
  -  Control tab to the Scan Open Image page,
  -  tab to the Scanner Settings button,
  -  press Enter,
  -  tab over and check Pause Between Pages,
  -  tab again to set the Number of Seconds to 5,
  -  tab to Close and press Enter,
  -  tab to Close again and press Enter,
  -  and then you're ready to scan!


Taken all at once like this it might appear a lot to do, but it's really not once you get the settings in place. I've created similar settings for One-page Scanning for that occasional book that is too large for Two-page mode, and another one for retaining line breaks for the occasional book of poetry or some other text where saving the line breaks might be important.

But the one I use the most is the Two-page Mode settings. The other frequent change I make is for Paper Size. If the book really fills up the scanner bed, then A4 is a better setting than letter, but I make this adjustment for each scan.



B)  Doing the scan

*  Control-shift-K starts Continuous Scanning,
*  pressing space interrupts it, and
*  Control-shift-R starts the Recognition process.


When you're done with scanning and recognition, and it's time to save your work, here's how to do it:
  -  press Alt and then f to get to the File menu
  -  press e to go to the Save Text As dialogue box. This is a baby dialogue box compared
     to the Options one, so pressing tab will get you through it.


Set your options for Saving Text as follows:
1. Filename:  type in what you want. The default is Untitled0.

2. Save As Type:  Rich Text Format, RTF.
(This is crucial if for no other reason than to keep the volunteers on this list happy! Seriously though, it is the best option and it is the second selection as you arrow down the combo box.)

3. Save button

4. Cancel button

5. All pages:  CHECKED (this is the second option in this combo box)

6. File options, Create a single file for all pages:  CHECKED (fourth option in the combo box)

7. Retain layout, retain font and font size:  CHECKED (second option in the combo box)

8. Keep pictures:  NOT checked.

9. Open document after saving:  NOT checked

10. Format settings button. This is a repeat of the format settings you set in the earlier tools menu settings. You can press space here to check your settings, but it's really not necessary.

11. Save in:  select whatever folder you choose for saving scans. I use "my ebooks".

12. List view:  let's you select files or folders, but nothing to set.


Once you've made the selections above:
  -  tab over to the Save button and press Space to save.


Now you have a lovely scanned book in RTF to submit to Bookshare. Once you've set these options in the Save Text As dialogue box, they remain the same until you change them again, so in future, you only have to put in the filename and tab over to Save.


Happy scanning! I still say FineReader is the best scanning software out there! And remember, it's not wise to disagree with the Mistress of FineReader!


To the next Section:  3.4 Get high quality scans



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