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I do not have a lot of experience with Photoshop or GIMP. I have a scanned or faxed document of an invoice/receipt that I am trying to submit to get reimbursed. I was mailed a copy with text that is speckled/grainy. I scanned the document and submitted it, however they thought a certain dollar amount was $25.75 instead of $26.15. I was hoping there would be a quick easy way to improve the quality of the document, being that its just 40 cents difference, to resubmit. Is there a recommended way to easily improve the original from the scan?

scanned numbers

I tried the Gaussian blur and sharpen although I did not seem to get any improvements in clarity. I looked at levels but it seems to be pretty contrasting already with either black or white with not much changing when adjusting the gray channel levels.

Edit: I received this document in the mail (snail mail) from the vendor, which looks like a fax from a third party, so I did not have any control over the fax settings. I thought about asking the vendor to provide or obtain a better copy, but was interested in finding a quick fix. I scanned the document I was provided at 600 dpi with my own scanner.

I am currently using Photoshop. Sharpen did not do much at all unless I did Gaussian blur first (maybe because it is already sharp to begin with because it is black and white?). If I do Gaussian blur first, and then do sharpen, I can get the text to be thicker and darker, but it is still splotchy, and does not have clearly defined contours.

scanned numbers after Gaussian blur then sharpen

Since it is black and white, it seems like I need to find a way to fill in or darken only the missing white parts within the character contour. I don't know if something like that exists, maybe something with the magic wand rather than a filter, where it selects based on the outline/geometry/shape, skipping gaps of certain threshold, rather than the color value or something like that.

  • Welcome of Graphic Design SE, Have you tried sharpen? Are you using photoshop or gimp? – Sam Collins Feb 19 '15 at 9:40
  • The number reminds me of a Captcha... it's probably their OCR soft that made it 25.75 - for me there is no doubt in 26.15. Apart from that, if the original was poor you will not be able to improve much. Did you try to use a higher resolution in your fax protocol? – Takkat Feb 19 '15 at 9:55
  • I updated the question with more info. I am using Photoshop and did try sharpen. Sharpen didn't seem to do anything, unless Gaussian blur was used first. I think you are probably correct that the OCR made the mistake and maybe a human doesn't even look at the submitted document. I received the document via snail mail and was not faxed the document. – ClearBlueSky85 Feb 20 '15 at 1:58
  • .. re-typeset it. – Scott Feb 20 '15 at 1:59
  • How would I re-typeset it? Is there an automatic method to re-typeset? I am not the original author of the document. I have Adobe Acrobat Pro, and can do OCR, but it did not change how the document looks. I am not sure that Adobe Acrobat Pro's OCR is very accurate and have not had good results in the past. – ClearBlueSky85 Feb 20 '15 at 2:10

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