2023 Trending: Scan Document to PDF on Windows or MacOS

Connie Wisley
December 14, 2022 Preview 12.9K Preview 1
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Most of us choose to scan a document and send or save as PDF for either type of the following 2 reasons:

  • It cuts the cost to print paper files, which is environmental-friendly;
  • It save our work to hand out paper files, or update a paper file. We just need to scan to digitized PDF file, then send or edit the PDF file for team collaboration.

But how do you scan a document and save as PDF, even OCR to searchable PDF on Windows or MacOS? The solution you should pick will depend on if you have a scanner or not.

If You Don't Have a Scanner

Luckily, even though you don’t have a scanner, you can still scan a paper file to PDF, even to make a searchable PDF. What you need to do is, capture the paper file as clearly as possible, then perform OCR on the image file. But you will need a PDF converter with OCR capability. Here, based on the fact that most of our users are either Mac users or Windows users, we will demonstrate how to scan to PDF in the following.

#1 Scan to PDF on Windows or Mac

For Windows and Mac users who want to scan to PDF, PDF Converter OCR will be the best pick. Here are 2 reasons for convincing users into this tool:

  • On one hand, you only need to capture the paper file, then import the image to the program and convert it to an image PDF; that means, all the paper files you captured with your camera can be converted to scanned PDF with this program;
  • On the other hand, you can recognize text from these image files, making them editable in PDF, Word, Excel, or any other common-used formats.

As you may have noticed, PDF Converter OCR is a multi-platform PDF program designed to create and convert PDFs. You can create PDF files from paper file captures, from Microsoft Office files, HTML, Text, Rtf, etc. Also, you can convert any PDFs, native or scanned ones into more than 15+ formats, including Microsoft Office, Text, iWork Keynote, Pages, Rtf, ePub, HTML, JPG, etc., with original file quality high retained. Even, it even supports batch conversion and understands 15+ languages.

How to Scan Document to PDF on Windows or Mac?

  1. Download the free trial of PDF Converter OCR, install and run on your Windows 11/10/8/7, macOS 10.13 or later.  
    Free Download   Free Download
  2. Capture an image of your paper files with Mac Camera, make it clear and flat.
  3. Drag and drop files into the program.
    It supports batch conversion. If you want to make the paper image in PDF format, go to “Creator”; if you want to convert the capture into searchable PDF or other formats, go to “Converter” .
  4. When you first use this program and upload scanned files, a pop-up window will prompt you to download OCR module. Click on the OK icon.
  5. Choose the file language and output as needed. Also, you can fill the page range to convert specified pages.
  6. For more accurate OCR results, you can click the "Settings" icon. Choose the language of the file in the list and click OK.
  7. Click “Convert” to make the scanned files in preferred format. You can find the output by clicking the folder icon.

#2 Scan to PDF Online for Free 

If you think downloading software is a waste of time or PC memory, scanning to PDF online is an impeccable choice to make this job a little easier. OnlineCamScanner is a free online document scanner, which only takes a few seconds to scan. Supports recognize 20+ languages, you can extract any text from images in a second and freely convert documents to popular formats: JPG, PNG and PDF.

How to Scan to PDF Online for Free?

  1. Click the “Upload for Scan” button to add an image.scan pdf online1
  2. Adjust and crop document photo: 
    You can rotate, zoom in/zoom out and adjust the page. Manually adjust the page size, or just click on the “Fit” icon. When finished, click “Crop”.scan pdf online2
  3. Then the program will scan the page automatically and display a preview of your scan. Click on the download button to save your scanned PDF document.scan pdf online3


  • Fast and accurate
  • Supports sharing files with popular platforms
  • Text recognition with 20+ languages supported


  • Upload one page at a time 
  • The ads on the web page affect the viewership

If You Have A Scanner

In the case you have connected your computer to a scanner, the task of scaning a document to PDF will be quite easier. You just need to start the program and get the scanned PDF. But if you want to scan a document, then edit the file for further use, you will not only need a scanner, but also a PDF editor. Here we will introduce the details to scan a document to PDF. 

#1 Scan to PDF with a Scanner

In this workaround, items you need to scan to PDF are a computer and a scanner.
First of all, you need to prepare a scanner or a printer with a scanning feature. Here is a list of recommended scanner brands for your choice.

  • Fujitsu
  • Cannon
  • Epson
  • Brother
  • Dell
  • HP

Steps to Scan a Paper Document to PDF with a Scanner

  1. Connect the scanner with your computer and install the driver program as guided;
  2. Feed the paper file into the scanner;
  3. Open the scanner program on your computer and tweak the scanning settings. Meanwhile, choose PDF as output;

scanner 01

  1. Click “Scan” to PDF and find the PDF in output folder.

Notes: Basically, all the scanners are workable on different operating systems. So, no matter you are using Windows or MacOS, a scanner will still work. In the case you want to scan business cards, here is a list of top business card scanner for your choice.

#2 Scan to PDF with Adobe+Scanner

As we all know, the output processed by a scanner is a scanned file, which means you cannot directly edit or modify without OCR. If you want to scan a document to PDF, and still edit the file, you will need a PDF tool with OCR. Here Adobe Acrobat is at the top of our pick list.

Adobe Acrobat, is the super powerful tool to manage PDFs, including viewing, creating, editing, filling & signing, protecting and redacting PDF, etc. Any toolbar you want to utilize to deal with a PDF is built in this program. Also, there are different versions for Mac users and Windows users.

Steps to Scan a Document to PDF with Adobe

  1. Connect the scanner to your computer and feed the paper file to the scanner;
  2. Launch Adobe Acrobat on your computer;
  3. Go to Tools > Create PDF > Scanner, you can choose the setting icon to adjust your scanning preference.adobe scanner 01
  4. Click “Scan” to save paper files as scanned PDF;
  5. Once the scanned PDF is displayed in Adobe, select Recognize Text > In This File to perform Adobe OCR on scanned PDF. Also, you can choose the language from the drop-down menu.

Final Thoughts

In fact, you don’t have to buy a scanner to scan to PDF. As technology develops, we can fully use our mobile devices and cameras to output high-resolution images and scan paper files. While a PDF Converter OCR, will help to save your scanned files as PDF, also convert them into different editable formats, which we need to cope with in our daily work. So, buy you an affordable PDF program to solve as many desk-bound problems as possible, instead of investing a lot of money on a scanner.

Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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  • Margaret

    I often need to scan paper documents into electronic files. Nowadays, many PDF editors have scanning functions, which is really convenient for me. Your sharing saves me from searching hard.

    1 years ago commonReply

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