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Scanning, pictures and diagrams - Maths Computing System FAQ

  1. How do I use the scanner?
  2. How do I include this diagram in my document?
  3. How do I convert a picture from one form to another?
  1. How do I use the scanner?

    See the list of scanners with basic usage instructions, or Linux users can go directly to the page on the scanning software xsane.

    Remember that scanned images can take up a lot of space. Consider storing them in data or scratch space or on removable media. If they need to be in your home directory but don't need to be backed up, keep them in a directory called NOBACKUP.

  2. How do I include this diagram in my document?

    Often people ask about scanning when wanting to input an existing diagram (simple line-drawing, graph etc). While this is possible (outputting an eps file etc for inclusion in tex/latex/word document), the result is often a large file and of poor quality (since the original may have been hand drawn or had smudges etc).

    It may be better (if time is available) to re-draw the diagram from scratch either using a drawing tool like xfig for diagrams or a graphing tool like gnuplot (or matlab's graphing functions etc) for graphs. The result will usually look much sharper and more professional and also be much smaller and easier to handle (e.g. for sending via e-mail).

  3. How do I convert a picture from one form to another?

    To convert a graphics file from one format to another without opening it in xv or another like program, use convert picture.old-format picture.new-format. The manual page for convert (man convert) on any linux computer gives many different examples.