Mac Document Scanning Workflow

From time to time I need to scan documents into my Mac. Either my Canon or HP multifunction printers is good for this task. However, I have never really developed a good document scanning workflow until now. There are lots of ways to do this, here is what I have developed.

Scanning Apps

In the old days it was a real pain to scan something into a Mac and then OCR (Optical Character Recognition) it into useable text. Now days, there are all kinds of Apps that connect to your scanner. Just on my own Mac I can use PDFPen Pro, Presto PageManager, Apple’s Preview App and various photography Apps. I have played around with all of them in trying to develop a reasonably efficient scanning workflow. Eventually, I have settle on a very powerful App that I use for managing data, DEVONthink Pro Office from DEVONtechnologies.

DEVONthink Pro bills itself as the jack-of-all-trades information storage application and that it is. I use it to store all kinds of stuff. Many other Apps have links for putting information into Devonthink, it is well connected, very versatile and powerful. There is one downside to this. You have to purchase DEVONthink Pro Office to have scanning capabilities. This is the top of the line App in the DEVONthink series. It is a little pricey, but if you are managing lots of data it is worth it for sure. Without further adieu, here is my scanning workflow in DEVONthink Pro Office.

Document Scanning

Obviously, you have a printer or some type of device capable of scanning connected to your Mac. I start by placing a document in the Feeder Tray (or on the scan bed platen if you have say, a book or something). Then, I open DEVONthink Pro Office and click on File/Import from Scanner or Camera:

That takes you to the Image Capture App:

Click on the “To” dropdown and choose where you want your scan to end up. Sometimes I choose a folder in DEVONthink Pro, other times I just scan to the “Inbox” and work from there. Once you have the location selected and have tweaked any settings in Image Capture, just click on “Scan”:

I just remembered something. If you wish you can check the “OCR” box in the above window if you wish to have your document searchable. After your document is scanned, a preview is presented in the Image Capture window:

If something does not look right you can always fix the problem and scan it again. Once your are finished scanning, you can go to the scan location and see your document in DEVONthink Pro:

Often times I will just manage the document inside the DEVONthink Pro Office App. However, on occasion I will take the scanned document (usually a PDF) and move it elsewhere for further processing.


There are all kinds of ways to develop a document scanning workflow on your Mac. Some scanners like Fujitsu and others provide scanning software for this purpose. But, if you are just using a multifunction device to scan, you cannot beat the capabilities of DEVONthink Pro Office. It is just a great App for storing and manipulating almost any kind of data.