how to scan on mac

How to Scan on Mac – Guide To Multiple Ways

If you are new to the whole concept of the Macbook, chances are that you won’t know the exact steps involved in scanning a document using a Mac. It is not necessarily a confusing process but requires you to know the basics. You can either scan a document by connecting a scanner or you can using a few ideal applications, including Image Capture.

This article will focus on both the options of using an application as well as connecting the Mac to an external scanner for the same results.

Using an External Scanner

If you have a scanner at home that you can connect to your Mac, this is the part of the article you want to focus on. Remember that in order to scan documents, you need a good-quality scanner for the process. Moreover, knowing the steps involved helps make the process a lot simple.

The process of using an external scanner involves two distinct steps:

  • Connecting your scanner
  • Setting up the scanner

Connecting your scanner

Some individuals scan documents either using a flatbed scanner or printer scanners. You can connect the scanner to the Mac via a USB cable from the ports attached to your scanner. There are alternatively a few scanners that connect wirelessly that you can connect using the Wi-Fi connection at home.

  • Once you have connected the scanner to your Mac, you can then click on the Apple logo on the top-left corner of the skin and wait for a drop-down to appear.
  • From the drop-down menu, select System Preferences and wait till a new window opens.
  • From there, click on View from the new drop-down menu.
  • Selecting Print and Scan from the menu opens another pop-up window.
  • From the pop-up window, navigate to the left of the screen to select the + option to view the connected scanners and printers.
  • Once you click on the + button, you can select the scanner’s name from the window.
  • You might have to confirm or click on the different on-screen prompts to ensure the successful installation of the scanner to your Mac.
  • Once you select your scanner, you can then move forward and update the scanner’s software for seamless operations without any interruption.

Scanning the Document

One the standard procedure of connecting the scanner is complete, you then need to follow the user guide to actually scan and then save the scanned document. If you want to scan normal documents, follow the steps we have mentioned below.

  • Start by taking the document you want to scan and place face down on the scanner’s tray.
  • Once done, navigate to the Spotlight icon on the top-right corner of the screen and then type in Preview in the text box there.
  • This will then open the Preview window.
  • From there, navigate to the File on the upper left corner of the screen and then scroll down to Import from Scanner from the drop-down menu and then click on the “Include Networked Devices” from the pop-up menu.
  • Select your scanner from there.
  • From there, click on File and then Export as PDF and then save the file and select the location where you want to save the file.
  • Once you have exported the file, you can then save the file in the PDF format in the desired location.

How to Scan Documents Using Image Capture?

Even using Image Capture, you need to set up the scanner or the associated printer in question. Once the scanner is set up and connected, you need to place the document that needs scanning and then follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Start by opening the Image Capture on Mac directly in the applications tab or under the Spotlight text tab.
  • Once it opens, you can then select your connected scanner or click on the “Shared” tab to find the scanner that is connected wirelessly. Image Capture opens the default scanning window for the basic scanning process.
  • Under Pictures, select the destination where you want to save the scanned document or image.
  • If you want to change additional settings, you need to click on Show Details to get a preview of the image you are scanning.
  • Once all the scanning details are finalized, you can then click on Scan to start the scanning process.

What Are Some Accessory Details About Image Capture?

Before you start the scanning process using the attached scanner using Image Capture, there are a few important terminologies that you need to know about the same.

Scan Mode: This helps you select whether you want to get the scanned item in the flatbed mode or the document mode.

Resolution: The dots per inch (DPI), is what helps you decide how high resolution the scanned document will be.

Rotation Angle: It helps you rotate the selection box clockwise by the mentioned number of degrees.

Auto Selection: During the overview scan, it detects the document edges and selects the part of the document that needs to be scanned.

Scan To: This is what decides where the scanned document will be saved in the Mac.

Format: The format of the file is what deduces the kind of format you need to save the file on the desktop. You can either save it in the JPG format and the PDF format, depending on your needs.

Image Correction: If your scanner supports the image adjustment options, you can directly make the changes to the settings from Manual to Automatic settings. It enables you to change the brightness, temperature and tint of the scanned documents.

Backlight Correction: It includes multiple options none, low, medium and high.

Scanning on Mac: FAQs

1. Where can one find the scanned documents on Mac?

– If this is your first time using Mac, you can use Finder or Spotlight to find the saved documents after the scanning process. You can easily navigate to “Find my Files” from the Finder application and then look up the saved file by typing in the file extension from the search bar.

2. What type of Scanner Works best with Mac?

– There are a plethora of scanners that are available for Mac that helps scan your needed documents with a single click. Out of all the available brands, Epson and HP are two of the best brands that you can look into. There are quite a few amazing options around that you can look into.

3. Why is my Mac not recognizing the connected scanner?

– If you have connected the scanner and it isn’t showing up, chances are that the connection isn’t done ideally. You need to look out for the USB port connectivity and also check whether there is incompatibility with the installed drivers. That should sort out the confusing you have with the connectivity issues.

4. Does scanning on Mac affect the Quality of the Items?

– No, if you are scanning using the scanning or the printers, chances are that you wouldn’t regret the quality. Just ensure that you have all the necessary settings and preferences sorted out on the computer before pressing on the scan.


Scanning documents on Mac is not a very complicated process as many make it out to be. All you need to do is set up the printers or scanners the right way and connect them to the computer. From there, you can seamlessly follow the steps we have mentioned around for easy scanning of your favourite documents or images. Also, keep a look at the text and the quality of the document you are scanning because that is equally important.

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