How to scan into Word 2010

17 Aug 2010
scanner

Word no longer lets you insert a scanned image directly into a document, but Simon Jones explains how to design a button that allows you to do just that

Word 2003 used to have a button that connected Word directly to your scanner and grabbed an image directly into your document without you having to go through the rigmarole of starting another application, scanning an image, saving it to a file, returning to Word and inserting it.

For some people, this button cut out all that palaver and let them get on with what they were doing. However, others found this button didn’t do quite enough; it didn’t give them enough control over the properties of the image that was being scanned, or it didn’t work at all with their particular scanner.

Microsoft obviously took more notice of the latter group than of the former, because in Word 2007 it removed the button rather than fix the problems with it; scanners are notoriously difficult devices to work with, every different make and model behaving ever so slightly differently, and driver problems are common.

Microsoft therefore decided to make everyone use the software that came with their scanner or the software that was built into Windows. The reasoning was, if you already have two ways of doing a job, why would you need a third, unreliable one?

Scan PC PRO

This was sensible in some ways, but it meant that quite a few users were miffed that their simple method of getting a scanned image into Word wasn’t available any more. And Microsoft hadn’t simply hidden the button, leaving it available from some dialog for you to drag on to the Quick Access Toolbar; it was gone without a trace.

Legacy command

However, it didn’t remove the legacy WordBasic command that this button had worked through invoking. Now I don’t know whether Microsoft deliberately left this command in place because it was cheaper than taking it out, or because it wanted to retain compatibility with older macros, or perhaps because it just forgot the command was there, but for whatever reason the command Application.WordBasic.InsertImagerScan() still works in both Word 2007 and Word 2010.

This means that if you make your own macro containing just that single line, you can put it on the Quick Access Toolbar and click it whenever you want to scan directly into Word.

In Word 2010, you can customise the ribbon to add a group to the Insert Tab and add your macro as a big button to that group. If you call this group “Scanner” and the button “Scanned Image”, then you’d have the path to the button as Insert | Scanner | Scanned Image, which is pretty logical. You can’t, however, put the new button in the Illustrations group, because you’re only allowed to show or hide built-in groups, not to add or delete buttons from them.

Custom buttons

What you also can’t do in Word 2007 or Word 2010 is assign your own image to the button; you get to pick from a predefined range of button images and that’s it. The nearest you can get is an image of a picture as you’d see for a JPEG file. If you really want your own image on the button – for example, a picture of a scanner – then you have two choices.