User Guide Cancel

Scan documents to PDF

  1. Acrobat User Guide
  2. Introduction to Acrobat
    1. Access Acrobat from desktop, mobile, web
    2. Introducing the new Acrobat experience
    3. What's new in Acrobat
    4. Keyboard shortcuts
    5. System Requirements
  3. Workspace
    1. Workspace basics
    2. Opening and viewing PDFs
      1. Opening PDFs
      2. Navigating PDF pages
      3. Viewing PDF preferences
      4. Adjusting PDF views
      5. Enable thumbnail preview of PDFs
      6. Display PDF in browser
    3. Working with online storage accounts
      1. Access files from Box
      2. Access files from Dropbox
      3. Access files from OneDrive
      4. Access files from SharePoint
      5. Access files from Google Drive
    4. Acrobat and macOS
    5. Acrobat notifications
    6. Grids, guides, and measurements in PDFs
    7. Asian, Cyrillic, and right-to-left text in PDFs
  4. Creating PDFs
    1. Overview of PDF creation
    2. Create PDFs with Acrobat
    3. Create PDFs with PDFMaker
    4. Using the Adobe PDF printer
    5. Converting web pages to PDF
    6. Creating PDFs with Acrobat Distiller
    7. Adobe PDF conversion settings
    8. PDF fonts
  5. Editing PDFs
    1. Edit text in PDFs
    2. Edit images or objects in a PDF
    3. Rotate, move, delete, and renumber PDF pages
    4. Edit scanned PDFs
    5. Enhance document photos captured using a mobile camera
    6. Optimizing PDFs
    7. PDF properties and metadata
    8. Links and attachments in PDFs
    9. PDF layers
    10. Page thumbnails and bookmarks in PDFs
    11. PDFs converted to web pages
    12. Setting up PDFs for a presentation
    13. PDF articles
    14. Geospatial PDFs
    15. Applying actions and scripts to PDFs
    16. Change the default font for adding text
    17. Delete pages from a PDF
  6. Scan and OCR
    1. Scan documents to PDF
    2. Enhance document photos
    3. Troubleshoot scanner issues when scanning using Acrobat
  7. Forms
    1. PDF forms basics
    2. Create a form from scratch in Acrobat
    3. Create and distribute PDF forms
    4. Fill in PDF forms
    5. PDF form field properties
    6. Fill and sign PDF forms
    7. Setting action buttons in PDF forms
    8. Publishing interactive PDF web forms
    9. PDF form field basics
    10. PDF barcode form fields
    11. Collect and manage PDF form data
    12. About forms tracker
    13. PDF forms help
    14. Send PDF forms to recipients using email or an internal server
  8. Combining files
    1. Combine or merge files into single PDF
    2. Rotate, move, delete, and renumber PDF pages
    3. Add headers, footers, and Bates numbering to PDFs
    4. Crop PDF pages
    5. Add watermarks to PDFs
    6. Add backgrounds to PDFs
    7. Working with component files in a PDF Portfolio
    8. Publish and share PDF Portfolios
    9. Overview of PDF Portfolios
    10. Create and customize PDF Portfolios
  9. Sharing, reviews, and commenting
    1. Share and track PDFs online
    2. Mark up text with edits
    3. Preparing for a PDF review
    4. Starting a PDF review
    5. Hosting shared reviews on SharePoint or Office 365 sites
    6. Participating in a PDF review
    7. Add comments to PDFs
    8. Adding a stamp to a PDF
    9. Approval workflows
    10. Managing comments | view, reply, print
    11. Importing and exporting comments
    12. Tracking and managing PDF reviews
  10. Saving and exporting PDFs
    1. Saving PDFs
    2. Convert PDF to Word
    3. Convert PDF to JPG
    4. Convert or export PDFs to other file formats
    5. File format options for PDF export
    6. Reusing PDF content
  11. Security
    1. Enhanced security setting for PDFs
    2. Securing PDFs with passwords
    3. Manage Digital IDs
    4. Securing PDFs with certificates
    5. Opening secured PDFs
    6. Removing sensitive content from PDFs
    7. Setting up security policies for PDFs
    8. Choosing a security method for PDFs
    9. Security warnings when a PDF opens
    10. Securing PDFs with Adobe Experience Manager
    11. Protected View feature for PDFs
    12. Overview of security in Acrobat and PDFs
    13. JavaScripts in PDFs as a security risk
    14. Attachments as security risks
    15. Allow or block links in PDFs
  12. Electronic signatures
    1. Sign PDF documents
    2. Capture your signature on mobile and use it everywhere
    3. Send documents for e-signatures
    4. Create a web form
    5. Request e-signatures in bulk
    6. Collect online payments
    7. Brand your account
    8. About certificate signatures
    9. Certificate-based signatures
    10. Validating digital signatures
    11. Adobe Approved Trust List
    12. Manage trusted identities
  13. Printing
    1. Basic PDF printing tasks
    2. Print Booklets and PDF Portfolios
    3. Advanced PDF print settings
    4. Print to PDF
    5. Printing color PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    6. Printing PDFs in custom sizes
  14. Accessibility, tags, and reflow
    1. Create and verify PDF accessibility
    2. Accessibility features in PDFs
    3. Reading Order tool for PDFs
    4. Reading PDFs with reflow and accessibility features
    5. Edit document structure with the Content and Tags panels
    6. Creating accessible PDFs
    7. Cloud-based auto-tagging
  15. Searching and indexing
    1. Creating PDF indexes
    2. Searching PDFs
  16. Multimedia and 3D models
    1. Add audio, video, and interactive objects to PDFs
    2. Adding 3D models to PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    3. Displaying 3D models in PDFs
    4. Interacting with 3D models
    5. Measuring 3D objects in PDFs
    6. Setting 3D views in PDFs
    7. Enable 3D content in PDF
    8. Adding multimedia to PDFs
    9. Commenting on 3D designs in PDFs
    10. Playing video, audio, and multimedia formats in PDFs
    11. Add comments to videos
  17. Print production tools (Acrobat Pro)
    1. Print production tools overview
    2. Printer marks and hairlines
    3. Previewing output
    4. Transparency flattening
    5. Color conversion and ink management
    6. Trapping color
  18. Preflight (Acrobat Pro)
    1. PDF/X-, PDF/A-, and PDF/E-compliant files
    2. Preflight profiles
    3. Advanced preflight inspections
    4. Preflight reports
    5. Viewing preflight results, objects, and resources
    6. Output intents in PDFs
    7. Correcting problem areas with the Preflight tool
    8. Automating document analysis with droplets or preflight actions
    9. Analyzing documents with the Preflight tool
    10. Additional checks in the Preflight tool
    11. Preflight libraries
    12. Preflight variables
  19. Color management
    1. Keeping colors consistent
    2. Color settings
    3. Color-managing documents
    4. Working with color profiles
    5. Understanding color management

Scan a paper document to PDF and use Acrobat to turn it into a smart, searchable PDF with selectable text.

Before you begin

We're rolling out a new, more intuitive product experience. If the screen shown here doesn’t match your product interface, select help for your current experience.

In the new experience, the tools appear on the left side of the screen.

Acrobat supports TWAIN and WIA drivers on Windows and ICA on macOS. Windows users can select Autodetect Color Mode for automatic content detection or choose from presets like Black & White, Grayscale, or Color Document. Custom scanning options allow for personalized settings.


Preset scanning requires drivers that support Hide Scanner’s Native Interface mode which isn't available on macOS.

Scan a paper document to PDF in Acrobat

  1. From the global bar, select Create, then choose Scanner.

  2. Choose the scanner to view the options available.

    If Acrobat doesn't recognize your scanner, see Scanner not recognized.

  3. Choose the settings as mentioned below, then select Scan.


    Applicable to


    Scan using


    • Use the Default settings to scan.
    • Select to use the scanner or printer's native interface.

    Predefined scan setting


    Select if you want the scanner or printer to Autodetect Color Mode, scan Black and White Document, Color Document, Grayscale Document, or a Color Photograph.

    Custom Scan settings


    Windows, macOS

    • Specify the front side or both sides scanning. If you select Both Sides and the scanner settings are for only one side, the scanner setting overrides the Acrobat settings.
    • Select Prompt to scan more pages if you want to scan multiple pages.

    Color mode


    Select a basic color mode (Autodetect, Color, Black and White, or Grayscale) that your scanner supports. This option is enabled if your Scanner Options are set to use the Acrobat scanning dialog box instead of the scanner application.



    Select a resolution that your scanner supports. This option is enabled if your Scanner Options are set to use the Acrobat scanning dialog box instead of the scanner application.

    Paper size


    Select a paper size or specify a custom Width and Height.


    Windows, macOS

    • Optimize Image - Select to run the optimization process on the PDF.
    • Drag the slider to set the balance point between file size and quality.
    • Select Settings  to customize optimization with specific file compression and filtering settings.


    Windows, macOS

    • Choose if you want to Create New PDF, Append to File, or Save Multiple Files.
    • Recognize Text (OCR) - Select to convert text images in PDFs into searchable, selectable text using OCR. Choose Settings to select document language and output type.
    • Add Metadata - Selecting this option opens the Document Properties dialog after scanning, allowing you to add metadata to the PDF. For multiple files, enter shared metadata once.
    • Make PDF/A-1b compliant - Select to make the PDF conform to ISO standards for PDF/A-1b.
  4. If prompted to scan more pages, select Scan More Pages, Scan Reverse Sides, or Scan Is Complete, and select OK.

    Refer to your scanner's manual for instructions on scanning more pages with either a document-feeding or Flatbed scanner depending on your model.

Scan document to PDF from printer or scanner

Applicable to Windows

You can create a PDF file from a paper document using your printer or scanner and Acrobat. If the WIA driver is installed for your scanner, you can use the Scan button to create a PDF.

  1. Press the Scan button on your printer or scanner, then select Adobe Acrobat from the list of registered applications.

  2. Select a scanner, then choose a document preset or Custom Scan in the Acrobat scan interface.

Troubleshoot scanner issues

Recognize text in scanned documents

You can use Acrobat to recognize text in previously scanned documents that have already been converted to PDF. Optical character recognition (OCR) software enables you to search, correct, and copy the text in a scanned PDF. The original scanner resolution must have been set at 72 dpi or higher to apply OCR to a PDF.


Scanning at 300 dpi produces the best text for conversion. At 150 dpi, OCR accuracy is slightly lower.

Recognize text in a single document

  1. Open the scanned PDF.
  2. Select All tools > Scan & OCR > In This File.

    The Recognize Text options are displayed in the pop-up dialog box.

  3. In the pop-up dialog box, select a page range and language for text recognition.

  4. Optionally, select Settings   to open the Recognize Text dialog box and specify the options as needed.

  5. Select Recognize Text. Acrobat creates a text layer in your PDF that can be searched — or copied and pasted into a new document.

Recognize text in multiple documents

  1. Select All tools > Scan & OCR > Or recognize text in multiple files.

  2. In the Recognize Text dialog box, select Add Files, and then select Add Files, Add Folders, or Add Open Files. Then, select the files or folder. An Output Options dialog box appears. 

  3. In the Output Options dialog box, specify a target folder for output files, and filename preferences. Select OK.

  4. In the Recognize Text - General Settings dialog box, specify the options and select OK.

    Acrobat creates a text layer in your PDF that can be searched — or copied and pasted into a new document.

Recognize Text - General Settings dialog box

Document Language

Specifies the language for the OCR engine to use to identify the characters.

Output (PDF Output Style)

Determines the type of PDF to produce. All options require an input resolution of 72 dpi or higher (recommended). All formats apply OCR and font and page recognition to the text images and convert them to normal text.

Searchable Image

Ensures that text is searchable and selectable. This option keeps the original image, deskews it as needed, and places an invisible text layer over it. The selection for Downsample Images in this same dialog box determines whether the image is downsampled and to what extent.

Searchable Image (Exact)

Ensures that text is searchable and selectable. This option keeps the original image and places an invisible text layer over it. Recommended for cases requiring maximum fidelity to the original image.

Editable Text & Images

Synthesizes a new custom font that closely approximates the original, and preserves the page background using a low-resolution copy.

Downsample To

Decreases the number of pixels in color, grayscale, and monochrome images after OCR is complete. Choose the degree of downsampling to apply. Higher-numbered options do less downsampling, producing higher-resolution PDFs.

Correct OCR text in PDFs

When you run OCR on a scanned output, Acrobat analyzes bitmaps of text and substitutes words and characters for those bitmap areas. If the ideal substitution is uncertain, Acrobat marks the word as suspect. Suspects appear in the PDF as the original bitmap of the word, but the text is included on an invisible layer behind the bitmap of the word. This method makes the word searchable even though it's displayed as a bitmap.

Note: If you try to select text in a scanned PDF that does not have OCR applied or try to perform a Read Out Loud operation on an image file, Acrobat asks if you want to run OCR. If you select OK, the Text Recognition dialog box opens, and you can select options described in detail under the previous topic.

  1. Select All tools > Scan & OCR > Correct recognized text.

    Acrobat identifies suspected text errors and displays the image and text in the pop-up dialog box. All suspect words on the page are enclosed in boxes.

  2. Select the highlighted object or box in the document, then correct it in the Recognized As box in the pop-up dialog box. Select Accept.

    The next suspect is highlighted. Correct mistakes as needed. Select Accept for each correction.

  3. Select Close when the task is complete.


Get help faster and easier

New user?