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Scanning Tips

If students' work will be collected by hand, then to be able to enter the work into Gradescope instructors must first scan each student's pages to convert them to PDFs. We know that scanning individual pages can be time consuming. Whether you're scanning 10, 100, or 1000 exams, check out the video and tips below to help you scan pages faster and more easily. Then be sure to see our FAQ on the scanners we recommend.

See our tips for formatting the assignment template PDF and outline for automated roster matching of submissions.


  • Tip 1: Know how many physical pages you will be scanning before starting.
    Always know how many physical pages you'll be scanning in each batch. This way once you're finished, you can check the number of scanned pages on your computer or scanning app to make sure you haven't missed any. It rarely happens with modern scanning technology, but in case something goes wrong, it's much easier to re-scan right away than to find out later and have to dig through the exams and find the one that needs to be re-scanned. An easy way to keep track of how many pages and exams you have in one batch is to group together exams with the same number of pages. Keep any exams with an irregular number of pages separate and scan those last.
  • Tip 2: Cut off the stapled corners of exams.
    Most multi-page assignments will be stapled and pulling out staples to run students' work through a physical scanner takes forever. We recommend simply cutting the stapled corners off the papers. This can be done easily with scissors or a guillotine-style paper cutter. If the cut corners jam the scanner, scan the papers upside down and either use the scanner’s built-in rotation software, or utilize our rotation setting when the scans are uploaded to Gradescope.
  • Tip 3: Automatically forward scans to a centralized location.
    Sending your scans to a Google Drive or any convenient centralized location will speed up the process of organizing and uploading your files to Gradescope. It will also grant access to any teaching assistants who may be helping with the process.
  • Tip 4: Scan multiple exams in one batch.
    When you're ready to start grading, you can upload a PDF containing multiple students' work to Gradescope and Gradescope will be able to split the pages into individual student's submissions. This means that you do not need to scan each student's work and save it individually in order to grade it on Gradescope. If you are using the assignment versioning feature (beta), it's recommended that you separate students' submissions into assignment versions first, and then scan them by version.
  • Tip 5: Color code or number your exam batches.
    It may be helpful to differentiate between multiple batches of exams by placing colored paper or a number on top of each batch once they have been scanned. This will make them easier to refer back to.
  • Tip 6: Re-staple exams after they have been scanned.
    If you followed Tip 2 or removed staples another way before scanning, we recommended re-stapling exams once scanning is done. This is extremely helpful if you'd like to go back through and review the hard copy of the exam.
  • Tip 7: Print/copy submissions double-sided.
    If you need to print or copy exams before scanning them, be sure to print or copy each one double-sided. This halves the number of sheets that have to be passed through the scanner and accordingly cuts scanning time in half compared to single-sided exams.
  • Tip 8: Scan exams double-sided.
    Especially if you printed or copied exams double-sided, we recommend scanning them double-sided too. Students might write something on the back and we want to make sure to have it all captured in our scans.
  • Tip 9: Teamwork! Multiple team members assist with the process.
    If you have teaching assistants or anyone able to assist with the process, form a line and assign roles. One person could cut the stapled corners off, another person puts the papers through the scanner and re-staples the exams, and a third could check the PDF files for accuracy. Depending on your number of helpers, you could apply these roles to suit your workflow or even use multiple scanners in parallel to speed up the scanning process.
  • Tip 10: Use these scanner settings for quick, high-quality results...
    • 150dpi
    • No page auto-rotation (you can rotate pages in Gradescope if needed)
    • No blank page removal (you can remove blank pages in Gradescope if needed)
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