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How to Scan Microfilm With Personal Scanner

Newspapers are commonly saved to microfilm to save on storage space.
Newspaper Pages image by Towards Ithaca from Fotolia.com

Microfilm will take an image and reduce it so that the entire article or image can be viewed on a reader. It can save up to 99% space. Bank records and newspapers are frequently copied onto microfilm. Newspapers will take up a lot of storage space and microfilm makes storage much easier. A special camera is needed to reduce the scale of the image and then view the microfilm. As technology is moving toward digital any microfilm can be scanned and then stored and viewed digitally.

Scan Microfilm

Put the microfilm in a holder for photo negatives.

Cut out a hole the size of the microfilm and holder in a piece of thick black paper. Put the black piece onto the scanner bed. The black paper will eliminate any unwanted light.

Lift the lid of the scanner. Keep the scanner up as you don't want to scan microfilm with the lid down.

Place the microfilm down on the scanner with the black paper side facing up. Cover the microfilm and black paper with a piece of white, translucent plastic. If you do not have any plastic then a piece of white paper can be used. However the white paper can produce small spots on the scanned microfilm.

Position a desktop lamp that contains a fluorescent bulb about 3 inches directly above the white plastic. Turn the light on and then scan the microfilm. The desktop lamp provides the back lighting that is needed to read microfilm. A fluorsescent flashlight can be used in place of the lamp.

Change the settings on the scanner to get the best results. Many times scanning with the highest resolution produces the best results. Microfilm is very dark so a higher exposure setting is best.

Things You'll Need:

  • Thick black paper
  • Personal scanner
  • Microfilm holder
  • White, translucent plastic or white paper
  • Desktop lamp or flashlight with fluorescent bulb
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