PDFScanner App

I do a fair amount of scanning documents into my Mac. Almost all of this scanning is to produce a PDF document for storage or distribution. I know people scan items into image formats, but I do believe most scanning these days is documents into some type of PDF file. If you do a moderate or more amount of scanning to PDF, then you should consider getting a dedicated scanning App like PDFScanner. Yes, you can use the Preview App, but the PDFScanner App is way better. Here is how it works.

PDFScanner Operation

The PDFScanner App is available on the App Store for $17.99. If you do at least a moderate amount of scanning into PDF format, it is worth every bit of that price. Here is the main window when you open the App.

Initially, you want to click the gear button to enter and set up your scanner Settings.

All kinds of drop-downs are available to change the scan settings. I have more than one scanner, so that is a dropdown as well. But, what I like most about this area are the settings down below, Deskew, OCR and Auto-Crop. I use a Brother document scanner a lot and often my documents are skewed a little off when scanned. The Deskew feature works great. The OCR feature is pretty good, but if you need better OCR capabilities you might invest in a more expensive program like PDFPen Pro. These features in the lower part of the window all work after the document is scanned. The App tells you what it is doing as it works on the document.

Once you have scanned your document, you need to save it to your Mac. Here is the “Save” window.

I really like that the App allows you to save at different quality levels. One problem with PDF documents is they can become large which makes it difficult to send to other people. When you click on the “Compression and quality settings” drop-down, the Save window reflects the size of the finished PDF, a very nice feature.

Here are the choices available in the Save window.

You can experiment with these settings to find a document size that works best.

Once you have your Settings fixed, then just hit the “Scan” button and your document appears in the PDFScanner window.

This particular page was badly skewed when scanned, but the App went through its Deskew routine and fixed that very nicely.

I want to mention a few more things before I go into the App Preferences. This App will do Duplex scanning if your scanner has that functionality. There is a Duplex box to check in the Settings area.

If you look at the bottom of one of these screenshot windows above, you will see a button for “Fake Duplex”. This allows you to manually create Duplex pages by scanning your pages in a certain sequence, then the App combines them into a Duplex file. Here is more information on Fake Duplex from the PDFScanner website. This help page has more information about these features if you would like to delve more deeply into the Apps operation.

PDFScanner Preferences

The PDFScanner App has a Preferences area. Unlike many preference areas on Apps, I think these preferences really make sense, they are worth taking a close look when you get the App. The “General Preference” area looks like this.

There are all kinds of useful settings in here. I especially like the Default compression and quality settings along with Automatic White Correction. The bottomline is, PDFScanner is just a very well-thought-out App. For a standalone scanning App, it is really quite sophisticated.

There are some “Advanced” settings in the “Preferences” area as well.

Some of these settings could be helpful, but I have not used them too much yet.


If you only need to occasionally scan something into a PDF, then the Preview App in the macOS is more than adequate. If you do quite a bit of scanning documents into PDF’s, then I highly recommend the PDFScanner App. It is more than adequate for most peoples scanning needs and straightforward to use.