How To Scan Recipe Cards into a Family Cookbook

Many of us have old recipe boxes that contain many many recipes that are written in the handwriting of someone from the past that we would like to preserve and include it our cookbook.

At FamilyCookbookProject.com, you can scan a recipe, personal letter or other family treasure and include it in your cookbook very easily. Here’s how: First you need to scan the recipe card or find someone who can do this for you. Many people have home scanners that are very easy to use – or know someone who has one.

When scanning, make sure the scanner saves the image as a JPEG file (check the settings). If it saves it as a PDF, you will need to open the PDF and “save as” a JPEG. Another setting you need to check is the image quality. Usually 150 to 300 DPI (Dots per Inch) is high enough for including in your cookbook.

Scanning actually creates a photo image of your recipe card that we can import into your cookbook software. Now your scanned image can be simply placed into your cookbook as you would any other photo.  

Collections of Scanned Recipes

Sometimes family cookbook editors was their entire cookbooks to be a collection of scanned recipes. While not impossible, this can be a lot of work for the editor.

The problem with scanned recipes is that the cookbook software system can not read the text in the image to create titles and indexes and other parts of the cookbook. The computer just sees them as photos.

So you have two options:

You can include the scanned images as photos attached to recipes that you have typed into the system. This way the original item is included above the typed version. I don’t know about you, but my mother’s cursive writing is not always the most easy thing to read (sorry mom) and recipe cards are often smudged with food from meals passed and not always easy to read.

The other option is to enter just the title of the recipe and it’s category and leave the rest of the fields on the “add a recipe” form blank. This will give you the title of the recipe and allow an index to be created. Next upload the scanned image of the recipe and it will appear with the recipe title.

Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

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