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We have built an image acquisition and processing system based on a modular frame grabber board (MFG) for use with scanning (or scanning transmission) electron microscopes. The variable‐scan acquisition module of the grabber board provides compatibility with electron microscopes processing various scan speeds, e.g., the very slow scan rate of our mirror‐type electron microscope. In addition to the acquisition function, the board provides many image processing capabilities. A special time‐base unit was built to synchronize the acquisition system with the scanning system on the electron microscope. A Windows application has been built to operate the MFG as well as manage all functions of the electron microscope. Using this approach we have been able to greatly simplify the task of digital image acquisition as well as creating a powerful and seamless interface to our Windows‐based environment. © 1995 American Institute of Physics.