Need to scan to PDF? Not all scan software can handle it. Any scanner can scan to PDF if you have the right software. You'll find that different programs vary in both their ease-of-use and their effectiveness. What features should you look for in a PDF scanning solution? Is it possible to find a good all-around choice? Absolutely. And it's FileCenter, the low-cost leader in scan to PDF software.
In this article, we'll take you through the main considerations, point out key features you need to look for, and show you why we recommend FileCenter.
Scan to PDF Software Summary
- Is the scan to PDF software compatible with your scanner?
- Does it give you a searchable PDF?
- Will the scanning software shorten the number of steps it takes to scan? Does it facilitate bulk scanning?
- Where does the PDF scanner software save your files?
- Jump to our recommendation »
Is the Scan to PDF Software Compatible with Your Scanner?
Scanners fall into three broad categories. Unfortunately, not all scan to PDF software works with every kind of scanner. The three categories: network scanners, TWAIN scanners, and standalone scanners.
Network scanners are the large, freestanding printers that will double as scanners (even though their primary function is to be a printer). The sure sign that it is a network scanner: 1) it isn't connected to a computer, and 2) it saves scans into a folder on the network (or perhaps emails scans to you).
TWAIN scanners, the most common type of scanner, are the typical desktop scanners. They can be flatbed, or upright sheed-fed scanners which automatically pull pages through. TWAIN scanners are always connected to a computer, either with a USB cable or through a wireless connection. The TWAIN designation simply means that have a TWAIN driver, which is a very technical way of saying that any program can link to the scanner.
Standalone scanners, look just like TWAIN scanners, except they don't come with a TWAIN driver. This limits the number of programs that can use the scanner. The most common stand-alone scanner: Fujitsu's ScanSnap.
Most PDF scanner software will only work with the second category: TWAIN scanners. But FileCenter paperless scanning software can work with all three. If you have a TWAIN scanner, you will be able to take advantage of the full power of FileCenter's scanning tools. If you have a network scanner, you can use FileCenter's Inbox to access your network scans. And if you have a ScanSnap, you can take advantage of FileCenter's special ScanSnap integration.
Does the PDF Scanning Software Give You a Searchable PDF?
Scanners take pictures. Period. Even when you scan documents. Putting it another way, even though you have scanned a PDF, and even though you can see words and text in the scan, and even though it's a PDF document, your computer only sees an image – a picture. What does that mean if you hope to search the body of this PDF for keywords? It means you can't ... unless you make the PDF searchable.
Making a scanned PDF searchable requires an extra step that other scan to PDF software may or may not do (but probably not). It must perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to turn the pictures of words into real words. Does that sound technical? It is. Which is why you shouldn't have to worry about it. FileCenter will automatically take care of this for you, without a single mouse-click on your part. Leading us to the next consideration ...
Will the Software for Scanning to PDF Shorten the Number of Steps it Takes to Scan to PDF? Does it Facilitate Bulk Scanning?
Even though PDF scanning has always been a chore, it doesn't have to be. The current generation of business class desktop PDF scanners is incredibly fast, some able to scan to PDF at the rate of a page a second or better. So now the speed bump isn't the scanner, it's the software interface and workflow. You need a scanning software solution that keeps your hand off of the mouse as much as possible. You shouldn't have to click the mouse a dozen times for every scan. FileCenter goes out of its way to trim down and automate the scanning process as much as possible. With features like scanning profiles, automatic PDF naming, and automatic PDF separation and routing, you'll be able to scan, name, and save entire stacks of documents with just a couple of mouse clicks.
Where Does the PDF Scanner Software Save Your Files?
Some PDF scanning systems seem very easy to use. But their users fail to realize that the system is storing all of their scans in a database instead of as Windows files. Fast forward a year. The user decides to switch to different scan to PDF software and discovers, to their horror, that a full year's worth of scans is locked in a database and they can't get the scans out.
The only place you should save your scans is as regular Windows files in regular Windows folders. This guarantees you unconditional access to your scans. It also lets you put your scans into Cloud services like DropBox, Google Drive, or OneDrive (if that's what you want to do. Fortunately, FileCenter always saves your scans as regular Windows files in regular Windows folders. But it also goes a step further: FileCenter gives you an easy file cabinet interface, an easy, intuitive layout for storing your scans. You can put the rest of your files, like Word documents, spreadsheets, and digitil photos there too!
Another benefit when you save pdf files and scanned images in FileCenter is cloud storage. FileCenter is compatible with all of the leading cloud services and solutions like Google Drive, OneDrive, and DropBox as well as their mobile apps for Mac or Android so that you can review your PDF files and scanned content on mobile devices and online.
Our Recommended Scan to PDF Software
FileCenter document scanning software bends over backwards to make PDF scanning not just easy, but powerful and efficient. With full support for searchable PDF, many tools for facilitating bulk scanning, a built-in PDF editor that's compatible with Adobe, and a clean interface that users rave about, FileCenter can take you all the way from being smothered in paper to a paperless office. Download a free trial today!
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