Mac OS X makes many computing tasks simpler by having the necessary functionality built into the operating system itself, and scanning images and documents onto your computer’s hard drive is no different. Image Capture is the Mac OS X application that handles all scanning duties for Mac-compatible scanner hardware.

Before beginning to scan your image, make sure that your scanner hardware has been installed and connected to your Mac according to your manufacturer’s instructions, and that your device’s drivers are up to date.

1.) Open Image Capture by clicking on Applications, then Image Capture. Alternatively, you can press Cmd-Spacebar to open Spotlight, type “Image Capture” and press Return.

2.) When Image Capture opens, you need to select the scanner you wish to use from the list of available hardware in the left hand pane. Image Capture will then perform an Overview scan:

Overview Scan in Image Capture in Mac OS X

3.) At the moment our scanner has no document in it. Place the document or image you wish to scan in the machine and press Overview to update the preview image:

Previewing a Document in Image Capture on Mac OS X

4.) The right hand pane of Image Capture presents us with several options for our scan. We can choose between Color, Black & White and Text options in the Kind drop-down menu:

Selecting Scan Kind in Image Capture on OS X

5.) In the next section down, we can choose the dpi Resolution of the image we want to capture, from web-friendly 75 dpi, through print-standard 300 dpi up to ultra-high definition resolutions. We can alter the Size in centimeters of the image and its Rotation. If we click the Detect Separate Items checkbox, Image Capture will break a larger document such as a form down into its constituent elements, allowing us to easily extract only the images we want:

Choosing Scan Image Resolution in Image Capture on OS X

6.) The next section of the pane contains a field where we can Name the resultant file, and drop-down menus to select its Scan To destination on your hard drive and digital document Format:

Choosing the Scan Image Format in Image Capture on OS X

7.) If we select Manual in the Image Correction drop-down menu, a selection of image alteration controls appear to tweak the scanned image for the desired result:

The Image Correction Menu in Image Capture on OS X

8.) Image Capture also allows us to choose a specific area of the document to scan by using a selection bounding box overlaid on the Overview image. Simply grab the round handles to set to your desired area:

Using the Area Selection Tool in Image Capture on OS X

9.) When you have tweaked the controls in the right hand pane of Image Capture to your desired settings, press Scan at the bottom right of the interface to commence scanning the document. The resulting digital file will appear at your chosen location:

The Resulting Scanned Document on the Desktop in OS X

Image Capture is both easy to use and yet comprehensive in its available options, allowing Mac users to achieve quality scanning results via the same application no matter the brand of their scanning hardware.