How to Convert a Scanner to Scan Film Negatives

Written by lina schofield
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How to Convert a Scanner to Scan Film Negatives
Turn negatives into full-size photos after you scan them into your computer. (film and negatives over white image by Cindy Haggerty from

Flatbed scanners have the capacity to scan film negatives, and you may have many reasons to do so. Whether you are making copies of your family photos to pass along your most cherished moments or if you need to replace original photos because they were lost or damaged, scanning negatives isn't a difficult process if you have the right scanner for the job.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Scissors
  • Flatbed scanner
  • Negatives
  • LED flashlight
  • Printer paper
  • Scanning program

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  1. 1

    Select the negative you want to scan and cut it out with scissors.

  2. 2

    Open the door of the scanner. Position the negative on the scanner bed. Cover the negative with a sheet of printer paper.

  3. 3

    Hold the flashlight six inches directly above the negative and sheet of printer paper. Turn the flashlight on and shine its beam of light directly at the negative.

  4. 4

    Set your scanner to its highest resolution and put it in the preview setting.

  5. 5

    Close the door and scan your image. Open the scanning program on your computer and select the "Negatives" mode to convert the negative exposure to positive. Use your mouse to crop the image and in turn capture the negative image by itself.

  6. 6

    Scan the image and save it as a TIFF type file for the clearest image.

  7. 7

    Choose colour settings for the image. Most programs offer black and white, full colour or sepia tones. Select "Done" or "OK."

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