Scanner calibration ensures that your scanned image will display correctly on screen and in print. Signs that show you may need to perform a scanner calibration include, but aren't limited to, black or dark gray streaks or lines, poor color recognition and quality, white lines or streaks and/or grayish or hazy discoloration. These flaws will show up on screen, as well as on the printed copy. Calibrating your scanner will increase its life span, saving you money in the long run.
Scanner calibration involves the use of a scanner profiling chart and color management profiling software. Most manufacturers include these in the package when you purchase your scanner. If not, you can purchase these at any computer supply store, or online. This chart and software program verifies and corrects the colors that the scanner sees versus what is actually on the document. Install the software program according to the installation guide that comes with the package.
Before beginning the scanner calibration program, you should clean the glass on the scanner bed with a lint-free cloth and water. Never use glass cleaner, or an alcohol based cleaner, as it will remove the protective coating on the scanner bed. Place the profile sheet face down on your scanner bed and turn off the color management and correction tools. Scan the document as normal.
Launch the scanner profiling software and select the file that matches the chart that you scanned. Pull up the scanned image and crop out the areas that you want to analyze and correct. Make the necessary adjustments to match the original colors on the document. Print out the image and compare it with the original document. You may need to calibrate your scanner a second time to achieve optimum results, especially if you haven't calibrated it before, or it was long overdue.
Scanner calibration should be performed, on average, every 1000 scans. This is approximately every two to three months for the average user. If you are scanning more than 1000 sheets every three months, then you should calibrate your scanner more frequently.
If you are able to match the onscreen image's color and quality with the original document, but the print still looks bad, you may need to calibrate your printer. It is recommended to calibrate your monitor, scanner and printer simultaneously to keep them working at their optimum capacity. It will be well worth the time to keep your electronic equipment operating efficiently.