VueScan is software
for flatbed and film scanners. Since most, if not all, scanners come with bundled
software, this product seems intended as replacement software. It also serves as
software for older scanners where the owner may not have any scanner software, as
might be the case if the owner picked up a scanner off e-Bay and only got the hardware.
The software has a simple interface where scanner novices can perform the basic functions
without the intimidating detailed list of options, but it also has an advanced look
where even the most detail-conscious scanner expert can find a setting to toggle.
VueScan, a commercial product. There is a free trial version available on the Hamrick
website. The Standard Edition is $39.95, while the Professional Edition costs $79.95
(the price has come down by $20 since our last review). The Professional Edition
provides unlimited upgrades for as long as you own the software, while the Standard
Edition provides free upgrades for one year. The Professional Edition also handles
raw scan files and some other options usually associated with a professional photographer.
Version 8.4.66 of the Professional Edition was used for this review.
I downloaded the software from www.hamrick.com. It came as a .dmg image file, surprisingly
small at only about 6.9 Mb. The image opened and I was presented with a simple icon.
There was no alias to the Applications folder in the install window, so it is left
to the user's discretion to drag the program to their Applications folder (or any
other folder of your choosing). For a newbie user just learning the Mac, this could
be improved (or at least covered in the user's guide, which it isn't).
When I opened the software for the first time, it detected that I did not have my
scanner connected to my MacBook Pro, and it presented me a nice little dialog box
telling me to close VueScan, connect my scanner, and then restart the software.
No Scanner Installed Dialog
This little detection routine is a nice touch for someone like me who uses a laptop
and has to plug in the cord each time I need to use the scanner. Desktop users, of
course, may never encounter the situation.
VueScan assumes you are a novice and opens with simplified options preset for you.
They guide you through the steps in this mode. The opening screen starts with the
task selection. That is, it asks you what you want to do. Scan to a file is the default
You can also scan directly to your printer, making your scanner into a copy machine.
The other options offered are much more complex. They allow you to profile scanner,
profile printer, profile film, or make IT8 target. I don't understand what these
are, but the User's Guide does describe them.
Clicking on the Next button brings up the next guided page where you are asked to
choose the media you are scanning. You have context sensitive help displayed to guide
your decision. Your options are Color Photo, B/W Photo, Line Art, Text, Magazine,
Choosing Your Media
Pretty simple so far. Next, you have to choose your quality. Options are E-mail,
Web, Print, Edit, and Archive. The first three made sense to me, but I had to go
to the User's Guide to see what Edit and Archive were all about. Each item increases
the quality and, consequently, the size of the resulting file. The 'Archive' selection
produces a resolution at your scanner's maximum resolution. The others are listed
in the following graphic.
Image Quality Table
Once you have selected the quality of your output and clicked on the next button
one more time, your scanner kicks in, and creates a preview image for you. At this
point you have the opportunity to select the crop size. I use manual, so I can adjust
the amount of the scanned image I want saved. VueScan also lets you choose from a
long list of fixed sized for common items. Clicking 'next' again scans your item
and presents you with a standard file dialog box where you name your image and save
it to a location on your computer. There are many options available in the preferences,
including one where you can have your scans automatically named in sequence, a handy
option for sure.
While the guided screens are nice for newbies, once you become familiar with VueScan,
you will likely want to use the "advanced" screens (by clicking on the
"Advanced" button). You can always return to the Guide by clicking on the
"Guide Me" button. The advantage of using the advanced mode is that you
can set up your parameters just once, and each time you scan, you just click on Preview
(rather than go through the Guide screens). There are also two levels of advanced
screens. The standard screens provide just enough control settings for the average
user. For power users, you can select "More" and get access to more detailed
settings (such as "Bits per Pixel", "Border %", "Black Point",
"White Point", and much more).
VueScan has a nice little feature if you are scanning a stack of photos that are
all the same size. You can select auto repeat and scan without having to click on
the scan button each time. You put your first picture down on the scanner, click
on scan with the auto repeat > 5 set and away you go. Once the first picture is
scanned, replace it on the scanner with next. Five seconds after the first scan,
the second one will start, and so on. I found this to be a nice touch. I haven't
had this kind of convenience on any of my scanners since way back to my first OneTouch
scanner (with the OneTouch, you pressed a button on the scanner and the software
knew what to do).
Multi-page documents are also no problem for VueScan. The User's Guide has a nice
description of scanning a multi-page document into a pdf file, for example. I found
this very handy for some of the financial documents I still get in the mail. After
previewing the first page, set the crop to Manual and the Output to PDF with multi-page
checked, and hit scan. Repeat this for each page. When you are done, Select Last
Page from the file menu. It definitely helped using the User's Manual for this task.
Creating Multi-page PDF Documents
VueScan is for flatbed and film scanners, providing high quality images from negatives,
slides, old photos, and anything else that you need to scan. It serves both as replacement
software that may have more features than your scanner's software, and also as a
solution for older scanners that have no OS X drivers (or scanners bought without
software, such as on eBay). The software has a simple interface where scanner novices
can perform the basic functions without the intimidating detailed list of options,
but it also has an advanced look where even the most detail-conscious scanner expert
can find a setting to toggle. Whether you are scanning color prints, black and white
negatives, multi-page documents into PDF, or other options, VueScan is easy to use
and provides a detailed User's Guide for those who want to dig into its more detailed
options. VueScan is great for hobbyists looking for easy-to-use scanning software
to get high quality images from old photographs, as well as for advanced users in
need of color-matching and other advanced settings not often found in OEM scanner
- Works with many older
- Provides simple user
interface, as well as varying degrees of more complex screens
- Lots of useful features,
including multi-page PDF creation
- Warns you if it detects
that no scanner is installed
- Has an excellent
- Lacks instructions
- May not be worth
the cost for those already happy with their scanner software
4 1/2 out of 5 Mice