Check each image for horizontal alignment. The easiest way to do this is to set a horizontal guide by dragging one out of the top ruler. Place the guide right at one of the baselines shown in the image. If the baseline is not absolutely aligned with the guide, it is better to use the rotate image command to fix it. Preferably it is better to use numerical rotations (e.g., 0.7° counter-clockwise) with a lot of trial and error


Adjust the levels of the black channel. The end goal is to get an image that has a completely white background, and very black letters. Consult the documentation for details regarding how to adjust levels for different versions of Photoshop.

  1. Try automatic adjustment of levels first. This will, frankly, rarely suffice.
  2. Adjust the left and right sliders to get a nice, clean background (without a lot of gray noise) and strong, clear letters.

Adjust the middle slider (the mid-range) to set how heavy the letters appear. The adjustment of this slider (in combination with the left and right ones) can affect whether the font ends up having a light, regular, or semi-bold weight. It can also affect how sharp corners become—heavy, black scans tend to have more rounded edges.


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There is one comment for this post.

  1. pshizzy on June 12, 2008 9:07 pm

    A suggestion: Rather than trial and error, you can use the Ruler tool to figure out the degree of rotation needed. Simply draw a ruler on your document over any part of the document that SHOULD be straight but isn’t. It could be horizontal or vertical.

    Then go to Image > Rotate Canvas > Arbitrary. You should see numbers already filled in. This is the degree of rotation that you will need to straighten the image.

    It’s very quick and once you learn it, it’s easy to do over and over on many documents.

    Hope that helps. I’ve already posted, and will be posting more Photoshop tutorials in the form of a Flash presentation on my blog at . Feel free to take a look!


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