How to convert projector slides into digital images

Written by shauntelle hamlett
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One of the most devastating results of large scale home disasters like flooding and fire is the loss easily damaged family mementos such as projector slides. Many families have hundreds of slides storing memories of vacations, holidays and other special occasions. Digital archiving offers a way to protect these valuable treasures for future generations. Converting projector slides to digital is a project that can be done at home using a computer and slide scanner.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Projector slides
  • Scanner with slide scanning attachment
  • USB cable
  • Photo editing software

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  1. 1

    Collect and organise the projector slides for converting. Depending on the number of slides you have stored, this may be a big project, spanning several weekends. Organising your slides in the beginning will save you time overall. Organise slides in groups the way you want to store them digitally. For example, you may want to store all family vacation slides together. Or you may want to store your photos by year or by occasion. Determine this in advance and organise your slides so that you aren't wasting time sorting later.

  2. 2

    Follow the manufacturer's instructions to attach the slide attachment to your scanner and to connect your scanner to your computer. Most current models connect quickly using a USB cable.

  3. 3

    Place your first slide inside the slide attachment and prepare it for scanning.

  4. 4

    Open your photo editing software. It should recognise your scanner automatically, but if it does not, follow the program instructions to enable the software to "see" your scanner. Once your software and scanning device are connected, you will need to follow the software instructions for importing an image. Generally, this will be as simple as clicking an "Import" icon or by clicking "File" and then "Import" on the menu options. You should see a "processing" message while the scan is in progress. When the scan is complete, your image will pop up on your screen.

  5. 5

    Edit the image as appropriate. Although editing the image at this point is optional, it will save you time in the long run if you perform basic imaging editing at this point. Most software offers auto correcting options that will adjust for darkness, red eye, and sharpen the image. Performing just these corrections is often enough to make your image ready for sharing electronically via e-mail or social networking. After editing, save the image. If you've organised your slides, use the "Save As..." function in your program to save your photo into a folder created for that specific category of slide. Repeat this process for each of your slides.

Tips and warnings

  • Resolution is important when dealing with digital files. Purchase the highest resolution scanner you can afford so that you can capture the most detail from your slides.
  • Scanned files can require a lot of storage. Burn images to CD or DVD to solve storage issues. Alternatively, you can purchase a secondary hard drive for back up storage.

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