How to Scan Slides

Updated on July 30, 2012

Although you can get dedicated slide scanners, many modern flatbed scanners, for example, the Canon CanoScan 5600F which I use, come with an attachment for scanning 35mm slides.

I was delighted to discover my new scanner would let me scan slides, but I nearly wept with frustration trying to follow the instructions telling me how to do it. After much trial and error I got it sussed and hope these instructions will help make the process easier to understand if you want to have a go yourself.

Canon CS5600F Color Image Scanner (2925B002)
Canon CS5600F Color Image Scanner (2925B002)

This is the scanner I use and I've been generally pleased with it so far.

 

How Long Does it Take to Scan Slides?

With a CanoScan 5600F, In total, including loading and unloading the slides on to the scanner, it takes 5 minutes to scan 4 slides.

To scan an ordinary film’s worth of 24 slides you need to allow yourself half an hour. And if you’ve got boxes and boxes of slides – your winter evenings are going to be filled for months and possibly years to come!

canon slide scanner attachment
canon slide scanner attachment | Source

Scanning Slides with a Canon

  • First find your slide scanning attachment - you may have to scrabble around in the bottom of the box for it. I didn't notice mine when I got the scanner out of the box to start with.
  • Unclip the middle bit and set it aside. (You can use this bit for scanning negative film.)


position the scanner attachment
position the scanner attachment | Source
  • Lift the scanner lid and slot the attachment in to place on the glass plate between the two notches.

remove the white reflector screen
remove the white reflector screen | Source
  • Remove the white screen underneath the lid - It won't scan the slides with this in place.

scanner with slides in place
scanner with slides in place | Source
  • Place your slides as pictured with the narrower edges parallel to the narrower end on the scanner. The CanoScan 5600F scanning attachment has room for 4 slides at once.

select scan and import photos and documents
select scan and import photos and documents | Source
  • On your computer go to devices and printers and select the scanner.
  • Select Image scan
  • Select scan and import
  • Click on photos/documents

tick 'use scanner driver'
tick 'use scanner driver' | Source
  • Tick use the scanner driver and click on open scanner driver.

scanner preview
scanner preview | Source
  • There are various settings which you can play around with, but for starters, leave them as they are and click preview. This will show you what the slides are and you can choose whether to scan them or not.
  • Tick all the ones you want to scan and press scan. This is the time consuming bit. It takes around 3 minutes to scan four slides once you press scan. You may want to do this whilst watching TV, reading a book or cataloguing your CD collection!

select 'retouch and save'
select 'retouch and save' | Source
  • When Scanning is done it gives you the option to retouch and save the images or scan more. For safety’s sake, click 'save the images'.
  • On the next screen if you want to scan more click on scan.

Photos saved in MP Navigator EX
Photos saved in MP Navigator EX | Source
  • Once you’ve scanned all you want click retouch and save and then select exit.
  • All of the images you have scanned should be ticked by default. You now need to click on save in the bottom left of the screen, which means your slides are now saved on your computer. The default setting saves them in the pictures file on your computer in a folder called MP Navigator EX under today’s date.
  • If you want to append the approximate date you took the picture to the file name you will find the date that the slides were processed on the front of your slides.

I use a cleaning cloth from a pair of glasses to clean my scanner bed and flick surface dust from slides.

Common Problems with Scanned Slides

Unfortunately slides do deteriorate over time when kept in ordinary household conditions.

When you open the saved files you will see how well or badly your slides have kept over time. You may find you want to do some airbrushing to remove marks or to adjust some of the scanner settings, for example, if the picture has faded.

If your house is anything like mine, you will also discover mysterious hairs have appeared - sometimes these are on the scanner screen, sometimes they are on the slide - they can be removed with a lint free soft cloth.

In the pictures below you can see when I first scanned the slide (P1) there was a huge hair and a smaller one (circled). Believe it or not, the huge hair (which clearly came from a stray woolly mammoth) wasn't obvious with the naked eye looking at the slide.

I gently wiped the slide on both sides with a dry lint free cloth. Then I re-scanned it (P2). This showed I had successfully removed the larger hair and moved the smaller one (circled).

Rather than scan for a third time I opted to airbrush the small hair out (P3).

I can safely say that having spent hours scanning and then messing around with airbrushing marks and hairs, I am thoroughly converted to the joys of digital cameras, but it is a real pleasure getting the old slides scanned and having easy access to pictures that I hardly ever looked through due to the hassle of setting up the slide projector.

Hairs on Slides

Annoying stray hair and smaller one in circle (p1)
Annoying stray hair and smaller one in circle (p1) | Source
Hair removed with lint free cloth. Smaller one still circled (p2)
Hair removed with lint free cloth. Smaller one still circled (p2) | Source
stray hair has been airbrushed out (p3)
stray hair has been airbrushed out (p3) | Source

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • CarolynLaCroix profile image

        Carolyn LaCroix 9 months ago from MA

        Interesting. I had no idea you could scan slides. I have a ton of them. I will have to check out my scanner to see if it can do this.

      • Nettlemere profile image
        Author

        Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

        Melovy - I hope you find it is a slide scanning attachment. I hadn't noticed mine had one when I bought it. You might find the long Scottish winter evenings aren't long enough if you have loads of slides!

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

        Hmm, this is interesting. We recently bought a Canon scanner- not the same model as your as ours is also a printer. It had a bit that we couldn't figure out its purpose so maybe it's for slides. And I have a few of them. Could this be my winter evenings sewn up?

      • Nettlemere profile image
        Author

        Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

        Thank you Moonlake - it really is worth a go and quite rewarding to have easier access to the memories captured in the slides.

      • moonlake profile image

        moonlake 5 years ago from America

        Very interesting hub. My scanner has an attachment for scanning 35mm slides. I need to try it sometime it's just one of those things I haven't got to yet. Thanks for all the information. Voted Up on your hub.

      • Nettlemere profile image
        Author

        Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

        Thank you Molmin - Spirit the cat is purring with contentment at the compliment!

        whatsyourwhy - I appreciate your comment and am reassured that you think this will help people from your experience.

        Robie, Summerberrie, Allie, Moviemaster and HousebuyersUS, thank you very much for reading, commenting and voting. It's so good to know that the steps make sense when read by others!

      • Movie Master profile image

        Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Very useful and detailed information, an excellent hub thank you and voted up

      • alliemacb profile image

        alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

        Really useful hub and with the detail given and images shown, it would be hardto go wrong. Voted up and useful

      • profile image

        summerberrie 5 years ago

        Thanks nettlemare for all the detailed information. Voted up and useful!

      • Robie Benve profile image

        Robie Benve 5 years ago from Ohio

        Very useful info, and I love how you showed all the steps with photos, it helps a lot. :)

      • whatsyourwhy profile image

        whatsyourwhy 5 years ago from The Wilderness

        Very well done. I work in retail and if I had a nickel for every time someone asked me about this I would have a good nest egg.

      • profile image

        molmin 5 years ago

        Really great informative hub with excellent instructions and techniques such as removing marks and airbrushing. What a handsome pussycat!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)