Packard ScanJet 4p
Working on your
Good news! It no longer
costs an arm and a leg to get a decent color flatbed scanner.
which resemble little photocopiers, can scan from a bound book without
needing to tear pages out of it. Hewlett Packard's ScanJet 4p is representative
of the species, and it's a very nice performer indeed. Its only real drawback
is that it takes up a rather large chunk of our desktop, but if you need
to scan a legal-sized document, you'll find it a godsend.
The ScanJet's footprint
is about 60 x 37 cm., but it's flat enough that you can pile things on
it when you're not using it - light stuff, anyway, like a few papers.
(The people at HP are probably tearing out their hair at reading this
The Scan Jet is a
24 bit color/8 bit grayscale scanner with a 300 dpi (dot per inch) optical
resolution. It does a nice job of scanning photos and text, and becomes
the missing link between printed pages and your fax/modem. You can also
scan to your printer, which gives you a photocopier of sorts.
Setup is a breeze.
A "cheat sheet" steps you through the installation of both the
software and the scanner's SCSI card. And, as with many of today's setup
programs, you're walked through the entire process, including calibration
of the scanner.
The software (Visioneer
PaperPort) searches your computer to see what other programs it can interface
with, and adds their icons to its window.
When you scan, a "task
manager" gives you choices of scanning pictures, text, a fax, or
"other pages," and the usual settings and help functions. The
help is pretty sparse, but scanning is so straightforward you shouldn't
Once you've scanned
your page, you just drag its thumbnail image to the icon for whatever
application you want to use it with and it loads the program for you and
opens the file.
To send a fax of a
magazine ad, for instance, scan it to PaperPort and drag the thumbnail
to your fax software's icon; the fax software then takes over and does
its job. To scan text and dump it into your favorite word processor, just
drag the thumbnail to the word processor's icon; the OCR software loads,
performs its magic, and dumps the result into your word processor. It's
We confused it once,
when we upgraded from WordPerfect 6 to WordPerfect 7. PaperPort still
worked, but it couldn't tell when WordPerfect was finished loading and
asked me to tell it manually. So we did. No big deal.
smart, too. If you're scanning an image from a page, it finds all the
pictures and highlights them. You can accept its suggestions or move the
highlight yourself. The scanner then scans only the part of the page you
want. this saves you from dumping the whole page into your photo-editing
software (and your RAM), and cropping it there.
One of the most wonderful
things about scanning is OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software,
which reads scanned text (which the computer sees only as a picture of
the scanned text) and coverts it back into real text you can edit in your
word processor. Sure it promotes laziness, but isn't that what computers
are all about?
Worst Case Scenarios...
The ScanJet comes
with Caere's OmniPage Lite OCR, and it does a very good job with clean
text. It doesn't work as well with a dirty page, or dot matrix text, but
those are worst case scenarios.
You also get Corel
PhotoPaint 5 which, while not the latest version, is still a power
image editing program that's probably more than most people will need.
The only thing that
bothered us was the scanner's slowness to activate under Windows 95. 32
bit software would be nice...
And getting at the
scanner can be difficult once you've piled a bunch of stuff on it!
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think