A scan-and-print timesaver

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Many new scanners have a handy “Scan and Print” button, which you push to scan the currently placed document and then immediately send it to the default printer. But if you're running 10.4, you don’t have to chuck out your old scanner to benefit from this timesaver. Here’s how to build a reasonably automated replacement by using OS X’s built-in features.

First, launch Printer Setup Utility (in your /Applications/Utilities folder). Highlight the printer you’d like to use to print scanned documents, and then select Printers: Create Desktop Printer, or just hit Shift-Command-D, to create a desktop printer icon. Repeat for any other printers you’d like available. When prompted, give each printer a descriptive name and pick where it should be saved. Click on OK. You only need to do this step once.

Now place the document you’d like to scan and print on the scanner. Launch Image Capture (in your Applications folder). In the Scan Setup drawer (if you can’t see the drawer, click the Scan Setup toolbar button), click the pop-up menu next to Automatic Task (this only exists in 10.4), and select Other. Navigate to one of the desktop printers you just created, select it, then click on Open. Set your scan area and start the scan. The document will automatically print when the scan is done.

If what you’re printing is something you don’t even need to save, you can further streamline the process. Click the Scan to Folder pop-up menu, and select tmp from the list. Your scanned document is still saved, but to the tmp folder, which is erased each time you restart your Mac.

Once you’ve done this the first time, you’ll find that Image Capture launches with these same settings every time you scan something, making it very simple to scan and print quickly without replacing your existing scanner.

EDITOR’S NOTE: 1/27 - This was edited to reflect the fact that the hint only works on Mac OS X 10.4.

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