Converting a Scanned Document to Word

Converting a scanned document to word is not as difficult as you might think at first. But there are a lot of changes with each iteration of Word. The process has been streamlined and automated with more features included in recent versions of Microsoft Word. This article will walk you through the newest method for converting scanned documents and some of the old methods that may still apply to you.

Sometimes you just want to read a document on screen, but the document is only available as a scanned image or PDF. You can change scan to word document by using OCR (Optical Character Recognition). The article gives an overview of converting scanned documents to Word, and also reviews some popular OCR application software.

Do you want to convert a letter or invoice from a paper format to PDF to be able to edit and share? Or maybe you want to transfer a document into Microsoft Word — whatever the case may be something that is double-sided and scanned may cause problems in most editing programs. The pages will appear upside down, the letters will be disorganized, and you’ll think that you’re never going to get anything done. However, there are several free tools that can help turn your scan into an organized document.

Scanning documents is an essential element of any business. The quality of the scanned document is directly dependent on the scanner’s technology and the user experience. When scanning a document, particularly something critical like legal documents or a loan agreement, you want to be sure that your information will be stored exactly as it appears on your paper document. Here are several things you should know about converting a scanned document to word.

Scan a document as a PDF file and edit it in Word

Tip: The conversion works best with documents that are mostly text.

  1. Scan your document according to the instructions for your scanner, and save it to your computer as a .pdf file.
  2. In Word, click File > Open.
  3. Browse to the location of the PDF file on your computer and click Open.
  4. A message appears, stating that Word will convert the PDF file into an editable Word document. Click OK.

The converted document might not have a perfect page-to-page correspondence with the original. For example, lines and pages may break at different locations. For more information, see Opening PDFs in Word

The From Scanner or Camera option for scanning documents and pictures is not available in Word 2010. Instead, you can use your scanner to scan the document, and then you can save the file on your computer.

Step 1: Install Microsoft Office Document Imaging

Microsoft Office Document Imaging has been removed from Office 2010; however, you can use one of the options described in Install MODI for use with Microsoft Office 2010 to install it on your computer.

Step 2: Create a document that you can edit

Scan your document according to the instructions for your scanner.

Before you continue    Convert the file that the scanner created to TIFF format. You can use Paint or another program to convert the file.

  1. Open Microsoft Office Document Imaging by searching for Microsoft Office Document Imaging on the Windows Start menu.
  2. On the File menu, click Open.
  3. Locate the document that you scanned, and then click Open.
  4. After Microsoft Office Document Imaging runs, press CTRL+A to select the entire document, and then press CTRL+C.
  5. Start Microsoft Word.
  6. On the File tab, click New.
  7. Double-click Blank document.
  8. Press CTRL+V to paste the contents of the scanned document into the new file.
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You now have a document that you can edit. Be sure to save the new file so that you don’t lose your changes.

The From Scanner or Camera option for scanning documents and pictures is not available in Microsoft Office Word 2007. Instead, you can use your scanner to scan the document, and then you can save the file on your computer.

Step 1: Install Microsoft Office Document Imaging

  1. Exit all programs. Tip: You may want to print this topic before you exit all programs.
  2. Open Control Panel: Right-click the Windows Start button, and then click Control Panel, or type Control Panel in the Windows Search box.
  3. In Control Panel, click Programs, and then click Programs and Features.
  4. Right-click the name of the Microsoft Office edition that you have installed, or right-click Microsoft Office Word 2007 (depending on whether you installed Word as part of Office or as an individual program), and then click Change.
  5. Click Add or Remove Features, and then click Continue.
  6. Under Installation Options, click the plus sign (+) next to Office Tools.
  7. Click the arrow next to Microsoft Office Document Imaging, click Run all from my Computer, and then click Continue.

Step 2: Create a document that you can edit

Scan your document according to the instructions for your scanner.

Before you continue    Convert the file that the scanner created to TIFF format. You can use Paint or another program to convert the file.

  1. Open Microsoft Office Document Imaging by searching for Microsoft Office Document Imaging on the Windows Start menu.
  2. On the File menu, click Open.
  3. Locate the document that you scanned, and then click Open.
  4. After Microsoft Office Document Imaging runs, press CTRL+A to select the entire document, and then press CTRL+C.
  5. Start Microsoft Office Word.
  6. Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click New.
  7. Click Blank document, and then click Create.
  8. Press CTRL+V to paste the contents of the scanned document into the new file.

You now have a document that you can edit. Be sure to save the new file so that you don’t lose your changes.

Check out how you can convert scanned PDF documents to editable Word files using our OCR.

Converting your file from PDF to Word is easy. The process simply returns the contents of your PDF file to its original format.

However, if you are scanning documents and saving them to PDF, most times, they’re stored as images. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is required to extract the text and save the converted documents into editable Word files.

Our online tool offers both options. And yes, it’s free to use.

How to Convert Scanned PDF to Word Documents Online

  1. Go to the Smallpdf PDF to Word online tool.
  2. Upload your PDF file via drag-and-drop.
  3. Select the option you need—the OCR conversion is only available as a Pro feature.
  4. Wait for the conversion to finish.
  5. Download your editable Word file.
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Convert Scanned PDF to Word Online

Scanned PDF to Word in a nutshell

The process of converting the scanned PDF file into an editable Word doc may take a few extra seconds, as our OCR needs to recognize the text of the paper documents stored as scans in PDF form. On the bright side, being a fast online PDF to Word converter—loved by over 40 million monthly users, and counting, the whole process to convert the file from scanned PDF to Word shouldn’t take too long.

Is the Scanned Pdf to Word Converter Free?

All of Smallpdf’s tools are free to use with some limitations—our OCR Word converter is a Pro feature. You can scan to pdf online, as well as convert images, spreadsheets, and powerpoints to pdf, even when these documents are scans. To use our optical character recognition (OCR) technology to convert images to editable Word, check out our JPG to Word guide.

Cool, But What Are the Limitations?

Free tasks are limited to two per day and some features are only accessible with a Pro subscription. File size is also limited to a maximum of 5 GB, as high-resolution scans may be quite large.

Getting a Smallpdf Pro account will remove the daily task limit and allow you to use the tools as often as you need to convert images to pdf, or scanned pdf to word, or use our scan to pdf converter.

Are My Scans Safe?

Utmost security of your files is a guarantee. We’ve recognized the concern of general users when it comes to cloud services from day one. Smallpdf does everything in our power to take care of your files; we use TLS encryption, delete files after one hour, and use the reliable Amazon Web Services to host and handle your documents. For full disclosure, check out our Terms and Privacy page.

Step 1. Import Scanned Document into PDFelement

Run PDFelement on your computer. The file can be opened directly with PDFelement by clicking on the “Open files” button.

scanned document to PDF

Step 2. Convert Scanned Document to PDF

Using the OCR function, the program will automatically detect the scanned file and then prompt you to use OCR. Click on the “Perform OCR” button from the top information bar and select the language of the document. You can then click “OK”. While OCR is being performed, don’t try to perform any other activities.

how to convert scanned document to PDF

Step 3. Edit Content in Your PDF (Optional)

After the OCR is complete, you can further edit your document if necessary. PDFelement offers a variety of editing and annotation tools. To modify the text in your document, you can go to the “Edit” tab and click the “Edit” icon and choose edit mode. Then click on the text which you want to edit and make the change.

how to convert scanned documents to PDF

Step 4. Save Your File as PDF

If you’re satisfied with the changes you’ve made, you can now save the scanned document as a PDF. Use the “Save” icon in the upper menu bar or you can go to “File > Save as”. You will be able to choose where to save the file and the file name.

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scanned document to PDF converter

PDFelement offers fast recognition of text, images, and numbers, and effectively keeps document layout intact. It also supports a wide range of OCR languages, enabling you to get an editable file with high accuracy.

Scan the Document

  1. Clean the surface of the scanning bed with a soft cloth and streak-free glass cleaner. A scanner will pick up dirt and fingerprints in the scan process, which can affect the quality of the output image.
  2. Open the lid and place the document face-down on the scanning bed. Align the document by using the markers along the perimeter of the glass and then close the lid carefully.
  3. Launch the scanning software that came with your scanner. For example, if you are using an HP scanner or All-in-One printer, the software will be located in the HP folder.
  4. Select “Document” as the scan type and then choose whether you want to scan the document in color or black and white.
  5. Select an output format for the scanned document, usually an image type such as TIFF or GIF, or a PDF.
  6. Choose a resolution, if prompted, that produces a high quality file such as 300dpi. While selecting a higher dpi will create a larger-sized file, the image will be sharper. However, be aware that higher resolution files take more time to upload and send.
  7. Click the “Scan” button. When the scanning process completes, click “Save.” Enter a file name for the document and select a destination folder, such as My Documents. Click the “Save” button.

Email the Document

  1. Open Windows Live Mail and log in to your account.
  2. Compose a new message by clicking the “Email Message” button on the Home toolbar.
  3. Enter the recipient’s email address, include a subject line and then enter the message you want to include with the attached document.
  4. Click the “Attach File” button on the Message toolbar. Navigate through your folders in the Windows Explorer dialog box and select the scanned document. Click “Open” to attach the file to the email.
  5. Click the “Send” button.

Conclusion

When documents are in need of repair, restoration or enhancement, a handy feature is the ability to convert a scan to word process. Scanned documents are often old documents from well before the days of digital technology. They can be in bad shape and may even be barely legible for those who struggle with sight problems. Without the option of convert a scan to word technique, individuals would have to manually retype each word in the scanned document through an arduous typing process. Fortunately, this is not the case because conversion scanning documents to word has become possible with modern technology.

If you have a physical copy of a document but want to edit it to either share online or print out again, the process can seem complicated. Since scanned documents are usually saved as images or PDFs, turning them into editable Microsoft Word files isn’t entirely straightforward. However, you can do it in a few different ways. While you may not be able to use an image-to-Word converter online, several tools can read the text from a PDF and put it in Microsoft Word’s format. Word itself has a useful feature for this on newer versions.

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