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Tech tips

Mac pro tip: Super easy way to scan in documents and photos

Think about the last time you had to upload a picture of your license or an insurance card to a form or website. It’s a pain.

First, you pull out your phone and take a photo. You have to sync it to your cloud storage of choice or email it to yourself and then download it to your computer. If you have several cards or documents to take care of, you’ve just wasted a ton of time.

If you’ve got a Mac computer, though, there’s an easy trick that can shortcut this whole process — no extra equipment required. Here’s a handy, step-by-step guide to scanning anything onto your Mac in a snap.

A clever new use for Photo Booth

Mac’s Photo Booth application was released in 2005 using a built-in webcam. It’s been a staple ever since. It’s a simple way to take photos and videos, and you’ve likely opened it up many times if you use a Mac.

But you probably haven’t thought to use it to skip over the annoying steps of getting a photo or piece of documentation onto your computer.

Think about this: You’re going in for a medical procedure and you need to get your insurance card and ID uploaded onto an online portal. Normally you’d grab your phone to snap a photo of both sides. After that, you’ll need to share it with yourself via the cloud or email, then download it.

Or you could just open up Photo Booth. Take a photo there, and bam, it’s already on your computer. If you have several documents to upload, this will save you a good chunk of time!

How to use Photo Booth

If it’s been ages since you opened up Photo Booth, don’t worry. It’s super simple to use.

  • Launch Photo Booth from your dock, or click the search icon at the top of your screen and type “Photo Booth.”
  • Your webcam will open. To take a photo, simply hit the red photo icon.

That’s it! The photos you take are shown in the bar right below your viewer window. You can drag a photo to your desktop or click it to get a share icon in the bottom right corner. You have the option of attaching via the Mail app, Messages, AirDrop, Notes, the Photos app or Reminders.

What if you have a scanner?

If you need to do higher-quality imports and have a scanner, you can easily connect it to your Mac. Before you start scanning, you’ll want to make sure that your scanner is working properly. Follow these easy steps before you start uploading pictures.

  1. First, connect your scanner to your Mac. Plug it in and turn it on.
  2. Tap on the Apple menu and then hit System Preferences.
  3. From there, click on Printers & Scanners.
  4. You’ll see a list of devices on the left of the screen. Select your device and click Open Scanner.

If you have a scanner that doubles as a printer, you may need to tap on Scan on the right before you select Open Scanner.

What if you don’t see the Open Scanner button? In that case, you should reinstall the scanner driver. If your Mac can’t locate the driver specifically designed for your scanner, check the manufacturer’s website.

ARE YOUR PHOTOS A MESS? Take these three steps to organization bliss

Use this shortcut to remove a step

Now that you know your scanner is ready to go, time to shave off a step. Follow these directions to make sure your scans go right into your Photos folder.

  1. Open your Applications folder. Then, open Image Capture.
  2. Click Show Details. You’ll see a Scan To: option. Tap on Photos. (If you don’t see this option, click on Other, which lets you navigate and select the Photos app.)
  3. Open your scanner and place the picture you want to digitize face down on the glass.
  4. Hit the Scan button.

Once the scanner has uploaded your picture, it’s manually imported into your Photos folder. Nifty, right?

If you want more help organizing your old photos, we’ve found an app that can help. Tap or click here for a simple way to find and delete duplicate photos.

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