Tips and tricks

Some tips and tricks that we have found useful over the years. We hope you also find them useful, and do let us know of any more to add to this page.


Straightening and flattening images

Remove curvature from photos and scans by using ScanTailor. Ideal for straightening marginal text within bound volumes in order to optimise text recognition. The same technique can be used to correct camera-angle distortion, known as “keystoning”.

On the left is a keystoned image of The Canterbury Puzzles by H.E.Dudeney, 1927. On the right is the corresponding dewarped image.

Canterbury Puzzles

Working with illustrations

How to scan a document of any size using your A4 scanner

Very useful for agents, publishers or designers who need to see large illustrations from their authors, and again for copy-editors getting a book into shape.

Scan the document in sections, with each section overlapping. It does not matter if some sections are upside down or skewed. Then, in a photo-stitching package such as Hugin, select all the images and click the Panorama button. They will seamlessly combine into a single image of the entire document.

From this…
Mosaic of images …to this! Composite image of the Colossi of Memnon

Lithograph of the Colossi of Memnon, Egypt, 1846. Artist: David Roberts. Click on the image to see the full-sized version.

Creating a chapter list

How to create a list of chapters from their electronic file names

This is a good one for authors preparing work for submission to an agent or publisher, and for copy-editors assisting with that process.

Click the main Windows Start button (bottom left on the screen). Click Run. Type in “cmd” (without the quotes), and Enter. Type
dir c:\chapters\ >c:\chapterlist.txt
where c:\chapters represents the path to the directory on your c: drive containing the named chapter files. This creates a text document in the main c: directory listing out the file names. You can then copy and paste the list into Microsoft Word.

Web content

How to check the spelling of your entire site in seconds

If only all webmasters would use this tip, instead of falling at the last hurdle; there are so many beautifully designed and functional sites plagued by spelling clangers!

As soon as you have uploaded any new content to your site, such as new pages or news, go to a site such as Internet Marketing Ninjas. Paste in the full internet address of your site, in the format A list of typos/questionable spellings will appear. On your own website, use “Find on this Page” (keyboard shortcut: Ctrl and F key) to find and correct as necessary.
Internet Marketing Ninjas

Digital images

Finding better-quality originals on the internet

Most webmasters know that each time a jpeg image is saved, the quality is reduced. To see if there is a better-quality original out there, upload your current version to Tineye Reverse Image Search. It will instantly search billions of images and display any similar ones.
Tineye Reverse Image Search

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