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Digital Scrapbooking 101

Use Your Computer to Create Beautiful Heritage Albums

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You probably use your computer to conduct a lot of your family history research, so why not use it to display the results? Digital scrapbooking, or computer scrapbooking, is simply scrapbooking with the aid of a computer. Going digital instead of the traditional scrapbook route means less money spent on supplies, and the ability to print out multiple copies of your beautiful scrapbook layouts. You can also display your work in the form of Web galleries to easily share with family and friends. In short, digital scrapbooking is a perfect medium for presenting and displaying your ancestors and their stories.

Benefits of Digital Scrapbooking

Most people first try digital scrapbooking by using their computer to create design elements they can then print, cut out, and use in their regular scrapbook pages. Computers are great for creating text for page headlines, photo captions, and journaling, for example. Computer clip art can be used to embellish traditional scrapbook pages. Most graphics software programs come with special effects to help you enhance your photos and pages with antique sepia tones, torn or burnt edges, and digital picture frames.

When you're ready to go one step further, you can use your computer to create entire scrapbook pages. The page background, text, and other decorations are all arranged and formatted on the computer, and then printed out as a single page. Photographs can still be attached to the computer generated page in the traditional manner. Alternatively, digital photographs can be added to the scrapbook page on your computer, and the complete page, photographs and all, printed as a single unit.

What You Need to Get Started

If you already own a computer, you'll only need a few basic supplies to get started with digital scrapbooking. Equipment/Software needed for Digital Scrapbooking:
  • Digital Imaging Software, such as Jasc Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop Elements

  • Photos in digital format, either scanned into your computer or imported from your camera

  • Photo quality printer and photo paper to print out your scrapbook layouts or design elements (alternatively, you can have them printed at your local copy shop)

Software for Digital Scrapbooking

If you're new to digital photo editing and graphics, then it is often easiest to begin with a good computer scrapbooking program. These programs offer a wide variety of pre-made templates and elements that let you create beautiful scrapbook pages without a lot of graphics knowledge.

Some of the most popular digital scrapbook software programs include Nova Scrapbook Factory Deluxe, LumaPix FotoFusion, and Ulead My Scrapbook 2.

DIY Digital Scrapbooking

For the more digitally creative, any good photo editor or graphics software program will allow you to create beautiful digital scrapbooks. This gives you the real hands-on experience from start to finish, as you can create your own background "papers," design elements, etc. You can also use the same program to creatively crop and enhance your photos. Among the best graphics software programs for digital scrapbooking are Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro. For more on using your graphics software to create digital scrapbooks, see Beginner's Reference to Digital Scrapbooking.

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