Create a PDF from a Scanned Document

There are several ways to create a PDF from a scanned document.  In this tutorial, you will learn the method which is based out of Acrobat Pro.  Additionally, this tutorial will specify the process using the scanners available in the iSchool IT lab.  Although the basics will mostly likely be similar for most scanners, some variation should be expected.

First, make sure a scanner is hooked up to the PC.  The lab scanners connect by USB ports.  Also, make sure the scanner is plugged in and turned on.

To begin converting a scannable document to a PDF, open Acrobat Pro and go to the “Create PDF” icon on the icon bar.  Scroll down to “From Scanner.” 

screen shot

A window will pop up prompting you to choose a scanner. 

prompt: choose a scanner

Before moving on, let’s take a look at this window to find out what everything means:

  • Scanner:  Here you opt which scanner to use.  Generally, there will only be one choice unless more than one scanner is connected to the computer you’re using.
  • Scan:  Here you decide whether to scan 1 side only (specified as “Front Side”) or both sides.  The flatbed scanners available in the IT lab can only scan one side at a time.
  • Destination:  For the purposes of this tutorial, “Destination” is not an option.  Just as an FYI, however, this option is used if you are scanning a document to be added to a PDF which is already open.
  • Recognize Text Using OCR:  OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition.  This is a process by which a computer can read scanned text as if it was written in computer language.
  • Add Tags to Document:  This is an option by which tags can be added to documents as headings, thereby facilitating an increased accessibility for disabled users.

For the purposes of this tutorial, choose a scanner and click “Scan.”

Here, the scanner software will temporarily take over.  In the lab, this is Epson software.  Follow the prompts through until your document has been scanned.  (This will consist of 2 processes:  the first scan tells the software what kind of graphics are on the document:  black/white or color, text only, line art (this means simple graphics like graphs), or photgraphs and how the software should accommodate this structure.  The second scan actually scans the document into a file. 

prompt: scan a 2nd page?

After the document is scanned, a window will pop up prompting you to continue with further scanning or not.  If you have more pages to scan, click “Next.”  If you only have one page to scan, click “Done.” 

After clicking “Done,” your scanned document will appear as a PDF.


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