Ask LH: How Can I Scan Multiple Photos At Once?

Ask LH: How Can I Scan Multiple Photos At Once?

Hi Lifehacker, I am scanning hundreds of family photos on a flatbed scanner and there are often six on the flatbed at once. Is there any software which will save each photo as a separate file during the scan, rather than having to rotate, crop and save each photo manually? Thanks, Chop Chop

Digital photos picture from Shutterstock

Dear CC,

There are several apps on the market designed for this very purpose. One program worth considering is Autosplitter. As its name implies, this allows the user to automatically divide scanned pages into individual image files.

Once a batch of images have been scanned and uploaded, you can split them into separate files with a single mouse click. It also boasts a clean, straightforward interface uncluttered by extra features. This video demonstrates how Autosplitter works:

On the downside, Autosplitter isn’t free: a single household licence costs $39.99. The company is currently offering 50 per cent off, but that’s still pretty steep for a single-purpose utility that you’ll likely never use again.

If you’d prefer to do things on the cheap, the free photo editor Gimp has a script plug-in for splitting scanned images. It detects multiple images within a single image, crops them and then saves them as individual files. There are also options to automatically straighten them. You can download the free plug-in here.

Whichever method you employ, it’s important to keep a narrow margin between each photo during the scanning process — if the images are touching or overlapping they might not be recognised as separate. Naturally, the background should also be uniform in colour; be it printing paper or the flatbed scanner’s base. Good luck!

If any readers have their own solutions to this old school problem, let CC know in the comments section below.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • I would have thought if you formulate an email to ask a website about a question, you would have the intelligence to just type the question into Google. Surely that would be a lot faster and less hassle?

    Maybe there needs to be a Lifehacker article on how to use Google

  • Many scanners come with this functionality already. I have a Canon and a Brother scanner that can do it with the software that comes with the device.

    Just make sure you only pick what you require when installing the software so you do not end up with any of the bloatware commonly associated with these devices.

    • I have a brother MFC 9130CW.. for the life of me i dont know how to scan photos where it can recognize that there are 2 or three of them. Any ideas?

  • Microsoft Picture It! also did this back in the 90s. Looking back it had a lot of features for end-users still not available in popular image editing and scanning programs.

  • I faced the same problem when I was scanning photos of my parents when they were dating back in the 70’s. I scanned a few photos together, but couldn’t find any good free tools to automatically crop them. So I ended up fixing my own problem and put it up for everyone to use:

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