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Conventional visual secret sharing schemes generate noise-like random pixels on shares to hide secret images. It suffers a management problem, because of which dealers cannot visually identify each share. This problem is solved by the extended visual cryptography scheme (EVCS), which adds a meaningful cover image in each share. However, the previous approaches involving the EVCS for general access structures suffer from a pixel expansion problem. In addition, the visual cryptography (VC)-based approach needs a sophisticated codebook design for various schemes. In this paper, we propose a general approach to solve the above- mentioned problems; the approach can be used for binary secret images in noncomputer-aided decryption environments. The pro- posed approach consists of two phases. In the first phase, based on a given access structure, we construct meaningless shares using an optimization technique and the construction for conventional VC schemes. In the second phase, cover images are added in each share directly by a stamping algorithm. The experimental results indicate that a solution to the pixel expansion problem of the EVCS for GASs is achieved. Moreover, the display quality of the recovered image is very close to that obtained using conventional VC schemes.