Quality Linux Document Scanning with an HP LaserJet

Posted: March 5th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: computing | No Comments »

Recently acquired an HP LaserJet Pro 200 all-in-one device which so far has been working decently with Ubuntu 14.10. Print and fax all work as expected. My only frustration has been that I scan a lot of text documents to PDF for archive purposes and was not able to get the same small filesize and clear quality scans under linux using Xsane that I was getting using the “Black/White” settings in the HP software on Windows. Under linux the scans would be either washed out (shades of gray text), or capture a lot of junk detail (paper folds, smudges, etc), whereas in Windows they would be a crisp black and white.

After spending too long playing with drivers, pdf tools, etc.. I found that the solution is just a matter of proper Xsane settings. The key is using the grayscale scan mode (not lineart mode) with extreme values for gamma and contrast.

These are the basics:

HP LaserJet Pro 200 color MFP M276nw
Ubuntu 14.50, Xsane 0.998

Steps for installing HP software:
* Install HPLIP packages from Ubuntu repositories (currently HP Linux Imaging and Printing System v3.14.6)
* Open the “HPLIP Toolbox” gui
* Use the “Diagnose HPLIP Driver” function in the gui to ensure all dependencies are installed
* Use the gui to find and setup the printer
* Once the printer is installed, use the “Install Required Plugin” option under that printer menu

Xsane settings:
Type: PDF
Scan Mode: Gray
Source Medium Type: Full Color Range
Scan Resolution: 300 (or better)

Gamma value: 0.30 (minimum)
Brightness: 0.0 (middle)
Contrast: 100.0 (maximum)

You can back off the extremes on the gamma and contrast a little to tweak, but this should provide a baseline scan nearly identical to the HP software presets on Windows.

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