The Dos and Don’ts of Scanning


  1. Create a brand new survey specifically for scanning using the Scanning template provided with Snap XMP Desktop when creating it.
  2. Provide instructions at the beginning of the survey advising on how to complete the questionnaire.
  3. Use check box questions wherever you can rather than ones which ask the user to write a response.
  4. Apply the grid box style for open-ended questions
  5. Use scanning validation and patterns to help recognise the type of data that will be entered.
  6. Calibrate and TEST your survey BEFORE distributing it. This can involve printing some copies, get colleagues to complete them and scan the answers in to check that everything works.
  7. Sort your surveys before scanning and make sure the page order and orientation are consistent.
  8. Scan in batches of between 10 and 50 pages.


  1. Design questionnaires with boxes that are shadowed, contain a coloured background or have a non-rectangular shape, such as a circle.
  2. Design questionnaires with boxes that do not have a clear margin around the perimeter of each box or with boxes that are too close together.
  3. Design questionnaires with background or drop-out colours that might conflict with the particular scanner in use. Certain light colours can appear transparent to a scanner but it is manufacturer dependent and light colours should always be used with caution.
  4. Change the margins, font or questions of a survey once live.
  5. Reduce the margins of the survey to any less than .25 inches/cm
  6. Expect to get good results from cases containing poorly written numbers or words. Although Snap will attempt to recognise them.
  7. Print on dark coloured paper; ideally stick to black text on white paper.
  8. Change printer or printer driver.
  9. Change the PC’s operating system.