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Posts from the ‘PIctures’ Category

Scan With Your Phone?

Can I scan a document with my phone and then attach it to an email? 


A scan is just a picture so you can take a picture of a document with your phone and share it by email or text.

Easy. But maybe not ideal.

The biggest difference between scanning a document with your printer and scanning a document with your phone is the format of the resulting file. When you scan a document with your printer, it is usually saved in your computer as a .pdf file, which is appropriate for a document. When you take a picture with your phone, the image file is a .jpg, which is appropriate for a photograph.

If you need to scan a document with your phone but save/send it as a .pdf, here is some help:

On an iPhone

  • In the Notes app, open an existing note or start a new one.
  • Tap the “plus sign” in the middle of the screen (just above the virtual keyboard).
  • Tap “Scan documents” and your live camera will open.
  • Snap the picture of your document (or pictures of a multi-page document).
  • Tap “Scan.”
  • Edit as necessary.
  • Tap “Save.”
  • The image is saved as a .pdf that you can email or text.

On an Android phone

  • Open the Google Drive app.
  • Tap your way to the folder to which you’d like your scan to be saved.
  • Tap the “plus” sign in the lower right corner of the screen.
  • Tap “Scan.”
  • Your camera will open. Snap the picture of the document.
  • Edit as necessary.
  • Tap the checkmark when you are ready to save the image.
  • The image is saved as a .pdf that you can email or text.

There are third-party scanning apps for both the iPhone and Android phones — and many work nicely — but you don’t really need them.

More Photo Ops

My suggestion in last week’s IT mail to use your smartphone to take pictures of your prescription bottles prompted some readers to share the “other” things (not pets, kids, or sunsets!) they photograph with their phones. It’s a good list:
  • Jewelry before they leave it at the jeweler to be cleaned or fixed
  • Instructions that came with something they bought (and might forget how to use)
  • Printer cartridges so they buy the right replacements
  • Baked goods so they know how to do it — or not do it — next time
  • UPS or Fedex receipts that include the tracking number
  • Wall of pictures — or the stuff on the mantle — so they know where to put it all back after the room is painted.
  • A fabulous haircut — theirs or someone else’s — to remind or discuss with their stylist
  • Clothes they are donating to the thrift shop
Maybe some of these will work for you too.

An Rx for Rx

“…and please bring all of your medications with you to your appointment.”

Is this standard request from your doctor’s office really necessary? Does the doctor need the medications or just the information about the medications?

Suggestion: use your smartphone to take pictures of the labels on your prescription bottles. Bring the pictures — not the bottles — to your appointment.

In fact, don’t wait until just before your appointment to take the pictures. Take a picture of each bottle when you pick up the prescription so you always have your medication information with you. You never know when you might need it.

A note about smartphone pictures: if your smartphone pictures sync with your computer or tv, and either device is set to use your whole picture library as your wallpaper slideshow, you might see the pictures of your prescriptions on your screen at your next cocktail party. If you’d prefer this not happen, change how your slideshow is configured or type your prescription information in the “Notes” section of your phone rather than take pictures of the labels.

“ … and don’t forget to bring your smartphone with you to your appointment.”

Beware The Slideshow

In an age where photos are shared seamlessly from one device to another, be careful where your photos end up.

You may want a copy of the images you take with your smartphone to be saved on your computer. And you may enjoy the rotating slideshow of pictures that displays on your monitor.

However… if you set the slideshow to display all of your pictures, that’s just what it will do — including the pictures of:

  • the mole you want to show to your dermatologist
  • the unflattering image of your knees you took by accident
  • the front page of your tax return you took for your accountant
  • the vacuum cleaner box that arrived damaged
  • your post-surgery scar

You get the idea. Perhaps not all of your pictures want to be on display when you have company over.

To better manage your slideshow contents, create a folder of images (maybe label it “desktop slideshow”) that you want to display on your monitor. Then set your slideshow to display only the pictures in that folder. To keep the show fresh, periodically add new pictures to the folder and remove others.

But please, do follow up with your dermatologist!


Burst Management

To take a single picture with your iPhone, tap the shutter button. To capture multiple pictures of fast-moving activity in rapid succession, tap and hold the shutter button. This is called a Burst.

I didn’t know about Burst photos until I took one by accident. I pressed the shutter button for a moment longer than necessary and heard what sounded like machine gun fire. By the time I took my finger off the shutter button, I had taken about 18 frames of the same slow-moving subject. I don’t need all of those!

The iPhone bundles these individual images into one thumbnail image in the “All Photos” album, and also in the “Burst” album.

Whether you intend to take Burst photos (great for fast-moving sports and animals), or you take them by accident (as many of us have), here’s how to manage the collection of pictures:

  • Open the Photos app.
  • Locate the burst photos in the All Photos or Bursts albums.
  • Tap the thumbnail of the image. It will say “Burst (# Photos)” in the upper left corner of the image.
  • Tap “Select” at the bottom of the screen.
  • Select the image(s) you wish to keep.
  • Tap “Done” in the upper right corner of the screen.
  • Tap “Keep Only # Favorites.”
  • The individual images that you selected will be in your “All Photos” album and that Burst collection will be gone.

Check your Photos app for a Burst album. You may wish to delete some of the frames you don’t need.


Holiday Cards 2016

How is your holiday card project coming? All done? Working on it? Just realized it’s December … yikes!

There’s still time to get it together; your computer can be a big help. Here are some options:

Do the whole thing electronically
Upload one or more pictures to a web-based photocard site
Choose your card design
Type your message
Upload your mailing addresses (to send a printed card) or your email addresses (to send a paperless electronic card)

Do most of it electronically
Use the card site to create your card but have the company mail you the cards and envelopes (with printed return address option)
Add a personal note and address by hand (or label)

Do some of it electronically
Create your card (or holiday letter) on your computer
Print copies on your printer
Add a personal note and address by hand (or label)

Do most of it manually
Purchase or handwrite cards but print your addresses from your computer onto labels.

Lots of choices. Where to start?

To find a web-based service that is right for you, type “holiday photo cards,” or “holiday ecards” into your computer’s search engine. (I’m sure some of the company names will look familiar to you from their commercials). Or look at a card you saved from last year — or ask the person who sent it — to learn which company created it.

I’m sure your friends and family will appreciate your holiday sentiments no matter how they arrive.

High(er) Speed Scanner

Earlier this year I wrote about options for scanning a lot of pictures, including purchasing a high-speed photo scanner. Since then, I have been asked by a few clients to recommend one.

So, here it is: The Doxie Go Portable Scanner. I love this machine.

This little “pass thru” scanner works without a computer, and even without a power cord, once it’s charged. It can scan flat pictures and documents and store them until you plug the scanner into your computer and upload them. (There is also a WiFi-cabable model that sends pictures wirelessly to your computer, iPad, or iPhone). The software you need for this scanner is free and works on both Windows and Mac computers.

While most of us can scan an image from the flatbed glass top of the printer, it takes a few minutes. Multiply that by your big box of family photos and you get a project you may never start. But if it only takes seconds to scan an image, the project may actually get done.

Check it out at: Click “Compare” at the top to learn about the different models.

Please note that I am not a spokesperson for this company nor do I receive any compensation from them for recommending their products. I just like my scanner! 


Deleting Photos

“If I delete a picture from one device (phone, tablet, computer, digital camera), will it delete from my other devices or cloud-based service?”

I get this question quite often and my answer is always the same: Try it to see what happens.

It’s not that I don’t know, or don’t want to tell you. The correct answer depends on your devices and how they are set up.

Choose a picture you don’t care about (partial thumbs are popular choices) and delete it. Does it delete from your computer photo gallery? Your external hard drive? Your phone? Your tablet? Your cloud-based storage?

As a general rule of, er, thumb, if you copied your pictures to an external hard drive or to your computer using a cable, deleting an image in one device will not delete that image in another device. If, however, your images share wirelessly, you should test your system.

Whether or not you want the images you delete in one device to delete in your other devices, you should know for certain what will happen before you delete any pictures you care about.

A “Sweeping” Idea

My recent purchase of a new vacuum cleaner (yawn) prompted me to discover yet another excellent use for my smartphone camera.

The vacuum came boxed unassembled, packed with form-fitting corrugated material cradling each piece and interlocking them like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Impressive engineering.

As I painstakingly separated the vacuum parts from the cardboard, all I could think was, “I really hope I don’t have to send this back!”

I love a challenging puzzle, but if I unpacked and assembled the vacuum only to find it didn’t work, I’d be in no mood to try to fit the pieces back into the box to return them.

Unless … I used my smartphone to take pictures as I unpacked the box.

Creating my own step-by-step guide to show me how to “re-do” what I just “un-did” would save a lot of time and aggravation.

Thus far, the vacuum is working as promised, but I’ll be taking pictures of the next intricately packed thing I buy, just in case.

Take Another One!

Before we had smartphones and digital cameras, we had film … film that had to be developed before we could see our pictures. And, because of the uncertainty of the result, we’d always say, “Take another picture in case it doesn’t come out.”

Even in the age of smartphone cameras with instant results, I still recommend that you “take another picture.”


Photo editing software.

Along with digital pictures came the software to manipulate them: Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, Printmaster, Aperture, among others. To take advantage of some of their features — like selecting faces from one image and pasting them into another image — you need more than one picture.

Even if you don’t have the ability to edit photos in this manner, there are people who can do it for you, if you can give them the images to work with.

Imagine trying to take a family picture with adults, kids, and even dogs. The liklihood of getting everyone to look at the camera, look their best, and smile all at the same moment is low. If, however, the photographer takes a series of images, the chances are much greater that with photo editing software, you (or someone) can select the best image of each individual and create one really perfect composite picture.

So snap away with confidence. Your closeup will soon be ready for you.


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