Scanning with SilverFast 8

Research & Instructional Design

What is SilverFast 8?

SilverFast 8 is a professional level media application used for scanning and digital imaging. The various features it includes allow for this software to scan more comprehensively than most other scanning software. It is available to use through the Macs at the Multimedia Presentation Center.

Getting Started

Launch SilverFast 8. The Silverfast 8 icon resembles a rainbow colored eye and is located in the dock at the bottom of your screen, or can be accessed through the Applications folder. Once you have opened the SilverFast 8 application, the window shown below should appear. Check to make sure that the image source is a scanner, than click Start at the bottom of the window to enter the workspace.

Main menu for Silverfast

Navigating the Workspace and Presets

The Workspace

The new layout of Silverfast 8 can be a little confusing at first. Below is an image of what things will look like, as well as some information to help you get started using the application.

This is the macro view of the workspace. At the far left of the window is a large drop down menu with buttons such as Scan dimensions and Densitometer. This is where your presets are located, and setting those up will be explained more below. To the right of this menu is a thinner menu bar with a large number of icons for tools used to manipulate your image. At the top is another menu of icons which starts with Prescan all the way to the left and ends with Scan at the right. There are a icons in between that represent tools useful in correcting the color and other attributes of the image your scanning in. Then the main area is a large white space with a red rectangle, the Marquee. This is where your image will be previewed.


The presets are located in the drop down menu at the left of the workspace. Many of these presets are fine left as their default option, but there are a few you will most likely want to change discussed here.

The Name field is where you will name your file that will be scanned into the computer, and also allows you to select the type of image file you want it to be scanned in as by selecting an option to the right. JPEG is a file type that should be used because they are compressed and easier to use with other software, such as photoshop, than the TIFF format. TIFF is better used for archiving information because the files are very large and uncompressed.

The Path field is where you select where your file will be saved. You will need to use the browse option, the button that looks like a folder to the right, because the default will trigger an error.

The Preset field is where you select pixel density or resolution of your scanned image. Notice that the size of the file created will be previewed to the right of the Res. slider. Keep in mind that the higher the resolution, the larger the file size, but also that you want a good quality image. A dpi of 300 is the "magic number" for print, but if your just putting your image on the web, or quality isn't an issue, feel free to lower the resolution.

Notice the Expert settings area at the bottom. This is a useful tool if the size at which your image is scanned in at matters, or if you wish to change the size of the image you have. The default will be the size of the image itself, defined by the Red Marquee, but you can make any adjustments you need to. The output field will determine how large the image will print, which is critical for LFP. Keep in mind though how making adjustments will affect the image proportions and resolution.

Useful Tools

There are some basic tools to know how to use when using SilverFast 8. The Histogram tool is useful in making sure that all of the data from the scan is being used. This function can be found at the top of the application next to the Auto CCR function (shown below).Make sure that there is no data outside of the black and white markers. If there is, this is called ‘clipping’ and you would need to move the markers just outside of the data on the graph. When scanning, it is important to have the most data as possible because it will be easier to work with in other software.


The Auto CCR function stands for Auto Color Cast Removal. This function will perform an auto tonal adjustment to your image It can be found to the left of the Histogram button.

The Zoom In function is another useful tool to know. This function can be found in the column of functions to the left of the scan window (shown below). The scan window on the right will zoom in on anything that is in the red marquee when the Zoom In function is used.


Below the Zoom In function is the Rot/Flip function. This function will allow you to rotate, flip, and mirror the scanned image. If an image is scanned backwards or upside down, this feature will allow you to correct that issue without having to scan the image again.

These features should be used after prescanning the item and before scanning the final product. This will allow you to preview what you will scan and which alterations you will want before scanning the final product.


With the image your scanning placed correctly in the scanner and all your presets the way you want them, you will undoubtedly want to see what the scanned image will look like. This is where Prescan comes in. Simply click Prescan and you will be able to preview the image within the workspace and make any adjustments you need to before the final scan.


Red Marquee

The Red Marquee is the red rectangle located within the workspace. It is essentially an adjustable frame which will allow you to decided exactly what you want to scan in from an image. This is most useful after you have performed a Prescan. To make adjustments to the marquee, simply move the cursor over it. Placing the cursor inside the red rectangle will change the cursor into a Move Marquee tool that will allow you to drag and drop the Red Marquee where you need it. Placing the cursor along the edges of the red rectangle will change the cursor into an Extend Marquee tool that will allow you to stretch the borders of the Red Marquee to where you need them.

Move Marquee Cursor.

Extend Marquee Cursor.

You can also create your own marquee from scratch by using the New Marquee tool. By placing the cursor over the prescan area outside of the red rectangle, the cursor will become a cross, the New Marquee tool. By clicking and dragging, you may create another Red Marquee. The last cursor tool you may use is the Rotate Marquee tool. If the page you prescanned is a little crooked, you could rotate the red marque instead of having to fix the actual file in the scanner. By moving the cursor over the semi-circles in the middle of each side of the red rectangle, the cursor will change into a clenched hand, the  Rotate Marquee tool. By clicking and dragging to either side, you may rotate the marquee in either direction.

New Marquee Cursor

Rotate Marquee Cursor.


Once the Red Marquee is in place and the Prescan looks the way you want it to, press the Scan button at the top of the window in order to scan the image. The image will be scanned into the computer with the file name, type, and location you gave it in the presets.



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Last updated: November 29, 2016

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