How to Create a PDF File From a Scanned Document

By Cooper Temple

The most common type of printer sold today is the "all-in-one," because of its broad functionality as a printer, fax machine and scanner. While scanned documents can be saved in many different formats, the most popular is PDF (Portable Document Format). PDF files can be read by nearly anyone with the appropriate reading software, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper copy of a document
  • Scanner
  • PDF writing software (e.g. Adobe Acrobat Pro)

Step 1

Prepare the document that you want to scan to a PDF file. If you have a scanner with an automatic feeder, load the pages in the appropriate order. If you have a flat bed scanner that can scan only one page at a time, prepare the pages in the order you want them to be scanned.

Step 2

Launch your scanning software.

Step 3

Click once on the "Scan" drop down menu and select the "To file" option. The terminology used will vary from program to program, but it is essentially the same.

Step 4

Choose the "PDF" file type option. In order to be able to scan a document to PDF, you will need a PDF writing program (e.g. Adobe Acrobat Pro). If you do not have a PDF writing program, check out the links below.

Step 5

Use the "Browse" function to choose a folder in which to save the scanned PDF document. Many scanning programs will not automatically launch a copy of the scanned document. In the event you need to merge the individual PDF documents into one file, choose a single folder in which to save all of the scans.

Step 6

Click once on the "Scan" button to scan the original document to PDF.

Step 7

Click once on the Windows "Start" button and select the "Explore" option. This will launch a window that will enable you to browse the folder to which you saved the scanned PDF documents. You can then launch and view the PDF documents.