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Screen Ruling & Halftone 

Prepare Files (Dos & Don'ts)

Scanners normally allow you to scan images at varying resolutions. The resolution is the amount of information the scanner picks up from your photo. The higher the resolution, the more information. Because of this, you might think that scanning a photo at a higher resolution will give you more detail on your photo but this is not the case. Your computer creates an image for output to print by creating 256 shades of grey for a black and white photo and 256 shades each of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black for color. To create these 256 shades, your computer only needs a specific amount of information. The amount of information needed is dependent upon the final "screen ruling" that the printer will be using. If you scan anything at a higher resolution, your computer uses only what it needs. Any higher resolution just makes your file needlessly bigger, increasing the amount of time your computer uses to process the file.

If you're planning on scanning type, that's a little bit different than scanning a photo. Type requires more resolution than a photo does. This is because a photo is created using the halftone process which uses a dot pattern. Type, on the otherhand, needs more information to create the structure of each letter. This is especially true when you're scanning small type. I would suggest a minimum of 600 dpi when scanning type, especially if it is large type. With smaller type and type with fine serifs, you could try scanning at 1200 dpi to hold more detail. Again, try to scan the type at a size close to what it will be in your document to minimize file size. Be sure to save the resulting file as "bitmap" and not "grayscale".



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