Convert Paper Documents to PDF Files

Bring your paper files into the digital age

A paper-free office has long been a dream for many people. Fortunately, converting paper documents to PDF files isn't difficult. All you need is a scanner and Adobe Acrobat or another software program that generates PDFs. If your scanner has a document feeder, you can convert multiple pages to PDF at once. If you don't have a scanner or all-in-one printer, don't worry. There's an app for that.

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Converting Paper to Digital Files With Adobe Acrobat

Connect your scanner to your computer by cable or wirelessly. To scan papers to PDF files using Adobe Acrobat, follow these easy steps:

  1. Load the paper or papers you want to convert into your scanner.

  2. Open Adobe Acrobat.

  3. Click File > Create PDF > From Scanner.

  4. On the submenu that opens, select the type of document you would like to create—in this case, choose PDF.

  5. Acrobat activates your scanner to begin the scan.

  6. After Acrobat has scanned and read your documents, click Save.

  7. Name the PDF file or files.

  8. Click Save.

Using Mac's Preview to Convert Paper to Digital

Macs ship with an app called Preview. Many home desktop all-in-one printer/scanners and office scanners are accessible in the Preview app.

  1. Load the document into your scanner or all-in-one printer.

  2. Launch Preview.

  3. Click File on the Preview menu bar and select Import from [YourScannerName].

  4. Select PDF as the Format on the preview screen. Make any other desired changes to the settings, such as size and color or black and white.

  5. Click Scan.

  6. Click File > Save and give the file a name.

Using All-in-One Printers

If you already have an all-in-one printer/scanner unit, it probably came with everything you need to use it with your computer to scan documents to PDF format. All of the leading printer manufacturers produce all-in-one units. Check the documentation that came with your device.

Scanning Paper With a Smartphone or Tablet

If you don't have many papers to scan, you can use an app on your smartphone or tablet. The Google Drive app includes OCR software you can use to scan your documents and save them to Google Drive, for example. Other apps that provide a similar service—both paid and free—are available. Search the app store for your particular mobile device and check out the features of the apps that include scanning capabilities.

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