How to Scan Documents Into PDF Files

By Lisa Porter

PDF (Portable Document Format) files are perfect for sending and uploading documents online. PDF documents will retain their original formatting regardless of the program or operating system with which they are opened or viewed. Creating a PDF of your paper documents is relatively easy once you have a scanner and the appropriate software.

Things You'll Need

  • Scanner
  • Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat, or similar program

Create a PDF File From Your Paper Document

Step 1

Connect your computer to a scanner. Make sure you have installed all the software that came with the scanner.

Step 2

Open Adobe Acrobat, ScanToPDF, Photoshop, or a similar program. Depending on the program you use, you will either have to select your scanner among the available options in the “Import From” menu, or select “From Scanner” under the “Choose File” and “Create PDF” menus.

Step 3

Select the appropriate scanning settings. If you have already followed the “Create PDF” and “From Scanner” steps, you will not have to specify PDF as the file format. In some cases you will have to select PDF or “.pdf” in the file format menu, and in others you will have to save the document as a PDF file only after you have completed the scanning.

Step 4

Select the image quality and resolution you want. Default settings will provide compact files, but might not provide high enough resolution for your needs. 72 dpi (pixels per inch) should be sufficient for e-mail and web use.

Step 5

Scan your document. Scan each page individually, clicking “Next” or “Scan Another Page” after each one, and “Done” when you are finished. Save your new file, specifying the format as PDF or “.pdf” if you did not already do so in step 3.