How to Scan a PDF File

By Cooper Temple

Most consumers are able to find an all-in-one printer that falls into their particular price range. As a result, it is easy for most anyone to copy and scan paper documents with or without a separate scanner. There are a variety of imaging programs and conversion file types that may be used in connection with scanning, such as PDF (Portable Document Format). You can scan a PDF file, with an appropriate program, by following a few steps.

Things You'll Need

  • All-in-one printer or scanner
  • PDF writing program

Step 1

Download and install a PDF writing program to your computer. There are a number of PDF writing programs available--and many have a fee associated with the download. For the purposes of scanning and document conversion, a freeware program is sufficient. PDFill is used in the steps that follow (see Resources).

Step 2

Launch the scanning program that was installed in connection with your all-in-one printer or scanner. While the terminology associated with these programs will vary by manufacturer, the basic process is the same. Place the document that you want to scan on to the flat bed of your all-in-one printer or scanner. If your document is more than one page, load them into the automatic document feeder.

Step 3

Click once on the "Preview" button. This action will perform a scan of the document and launch a preview in a separate window. If you use the automatic document feeder, only the first page will be scanned. Return the page to the original position prior to completing the scan. If necessary, you may crop the area of the scan on the "Preview" pane. Click once on the "Close" button to exit the "Preview" window.

Step 4

Click once on the "Scan" button. This will launch a separate pop-up window. Make certain the "File type" field is set to PDF. Depending on the software you use, this field may list your specific PDF writing program (e.g. PDFill). Choose a folder in which to save the scanned file using the "Save in" drop-down menu. Type a name for the scanned document into the "File name" field and click once on the "Save" button.

Step 5

Open your PDF viewing program, such as Adobe Acrobat, to view the PDF document. Click once on the "Open" button under the "File" menu. Locate the folder where the PDF scan was saved using the "Look in" feature. Double-click on the PDF file name to open the file.