How to scan a paper document to PDF in Acrobat X or Acrobat XI

Learn how to scan to PDF or how to do a PDF scan using Acrobat X or Acrobat XI.

By March 23, 2012


In this tutorial, learn how to scan to PDF or how to do a PDF scan using Acrobat X or Acrobat XI, including tips on how to pick input and output settings and create searchable text using Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

View transcript

How to scan a paper document to PDF in Acrobat X or Acrobat XI

Donna BakerMarch 23, 2012

To start your scan, click Create > PDF from Scanner. ; if you aren’t sure what settings to use, click Custom Scan to open the Custom Scan dialog box.

You see your default scanner chosen automatically. Click Options to use your scanner’s interface instead of the Acrobat interface (Windows). Choose several Input settings. Click the Color Mode drop-down arrow and pick a color mode. Pick Black and white for plain text, Grayscale or Color for images and graphics, or Autodetect to let Acrobat decide!

Click the Resolution drop-down arrow to pick a level of detail. 300 DPI (dots per inch) is great for basic text and graphics. Use high resolutions for high-quality image scans.

Click Prompt for scanning more pages to see a popup after each scan to continue scanning.

Then pick your output settings. Acrobat creates a new PDF file by default. To scan several files, click the Multiple files check box and then click More Options to pick other settings, like making a PDF Portfolio. If you want to attach your new scan to an existing file, click the Append to existing file or portfolio button, click Browse to locate and select the file (shown here).

There are two important final settings to choose: Drag the slider to set the scan quality; click the Make Searchable (Run OCR) check box to capture text from the scanned page.

When you're ready, click Scan. Locate and select the location for the new file in the Browse For Folder dialog box, then click

OK to start the scan process. You’ll see various dialog boxes, depending on your scanner.

Your scan opens in Acrobat - and is often rotated incorrectly. Click Rotate on the QuickTools toolbar to open the Rotate Pages dialog box. Clockwise 90 degrees selects by default (it’s the most common problem). Click OK to turn the page and close the dialog box.

Your new PDF file is ready.

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Comments for this tutorial are now closed.

Lori Kassuba

4, 2015-12-30 30, 2015

Hi Dennis,

Have you tried using the Insert command under the Organize Pages Tools?


Dennis Dixon

8, 2015-12-28 28, 2015

I would like to be able to scan a document into the top of a PDF file instead of appending to the bottom. Is this possible?

Lori Kassuba

5, 2015-06-29 29, 2015

Hi Elizabeth Fell,

I would use an Action (found in the Pro. version) to speed up the process. You can find more pre-built Actions on the Exchange at:


Elizabeth Fell

1, 2015-06-20 20, 2015

how to get multiple pages to scan into the same document automatically

I’m using canon’s OCR system, scanning pages in using MP navigator ex, and then converting the pdfs this produces to Word docs using adobe exporter. I would like to know how to speed this process up so I can scan 40+ pages at a time straight into the same doc. Ideally straight into a Word doc, but if it has to be a pdf doc which I then convert to Word then ok. I’ve only got the trial version of adobe. Please help! Thanks

Lori Kassuba

12, 2015-04-23 23, 2015

Hi Ousay,

A wide variety of things can affect the scan speed (connection type, device, driver, etc.). One thing you might consider is to use the native scanner interface instead of Acrobat. You can set this in the Custom Scan dialog under the Options button.



8, 2015-04-19 19, 2015

Hi .. I want scan page be fast .. And i meaning when scan paper end in scanner i want show it in screen , not make for it rotate and other thing ..  Which mean enter page number one in scanner then show it in screen then enter page 2 with out any late

Lori Kassuba

4, 2015-04-17 17, 2015


One idea, would be to use the Combine Files dialog to scan in the first three pages. Then, add the existing file and combine them all together. This should get them in the correct order.



10, 2015-04-14 14, 2015


Lori Kassuba

7, 2015-02-03 03, 2015

Hi Helen,

Try going to Create > PDF from Scanner > Custom Scan. Click on the Options button and set the User Interface as Show Scanner Native Interface. Then in the scanning interface that comes up when you scan select your automatic document feeder.



8, 2015-01-30 30, 2015

I am trying to scan multiple pages into one pdf file. I recently started to use version 11. When I use version 7, I just needed to put all the paper on the scanner and it will just scan all and transfer all the pages into pdf. However, when I do the same on version 11, it scan all the pages but only transfer first pages. I know I can select “prompt for scanning more pages” and scan second page, then again third page and so on. It means if I have 50pages, I need to scan 50 times. Is there any way that I can just scan all the pages once, and get it on pdf in just one try? I am sure there is a way, but I couldn’t find it. Please help me Thank you.

Lori Kassuba

9, 2014-08-28 28, 2014


I agree that everyone learns differently, which is why we try to offer various formats for our tutorials. One thing you might consider is to print out a transcript of the video tutorial. You can access this under the video screen on this page and clicking on the + next to the words View transcript.



4, 2014-08-26 26, 2014

I am not your only reader who finds video instructions tedious and clumsy no matter how sell done they are. Mainly, there is no way to go back to what you have “learned” for review, unless you rerun the video. Really well-structured in simple language that can be printed out for review provides far better tutorials than a video can ever hope to do k—except for those who don’t know how to read!

donna baker

9, 2012-11-05 05, 2012

Hi Ann, Ann, and Patti -

There are so many reasons why you may not be able to scan into Acrobat directly. To start off, on Windows choose Help > Repair Acrobat Installation. It’ll take a few minutes to run. See if that helps.

You can also try using your scanner’s native interface mode. Choose File > Create > PDF From Scanner > Custom Scan. Then click the Options button and choose Show Scanner’s Native Interface from the User Interface menu.

For much more information and troubleshooting advice, please see this page:


Anne Whitted

12, 2012-11-01 01, 2012

I am unable to find the scan from printer option?? I am completely lost. Please help!


12, 2012-11-01 01, 2012

The scan option is not showing up on my Acrobat. How do I fix this??


9, 2012-10-30 30, 2012

My adobe can’t find my printer.  I can scan to my computer by pushing the scan button on my printer but when I ask adobe to scan it can’t find the scanner.

donna baker

3, 2012-09-04 04, 2012

Hi Cary -

You’ll need to go exploring to fix this issue. Make sure your scanner software is up to date. In Acrobat, delete your scanner choice and then do it over. That may help.



10, 2012-08-25 25, 2012

I am unable to scan more than one page. Program seems to loose the default scanner.

donna baker

8, 2012-05-22 22, 2012

Hi Michael -

You should be able to do what you need using Acrobat X, either as one large file, or by producing a PDF Portfolio. You’d work with a different sort of interface as Acrobat doesn’t use a split screen like PaperPort. There shouldn’t be a problem with locking up your computer either.


Michael Walsh

11, 2012-05-08 08, 2012

I am using PaperPort now———-love it BUT having lockup problems that can’t seem to be resolved. I am in Real Estate and don’t generate PDF’s but I do scan and stack and unstack and rescan sometimes many page documents. PaperPort works untill it locks up when moving files in and out of the program. I need to receive a large multi page PDF and unstack   and work the file-restack and move to a destination folder. Can your product do this without locking up the computer?

Comments for this tutorial are now closed.