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How could I scan multiple pages into a single PDF on the Mac?

This is for document archival (mostly invoices and receipts). Ideally, the results should be somewhat searchable (but manually giving it proper filenames and putting it into appropriate folders will do for now).

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11 Answers 11

Here's a solution that will work even if your scanner produces JPEGs:

  1. Scan all pages as separate JPEG images

  2. Open all JPEGs at once in Preview (Select all, right-click, Open with … » Preview)

  3. Select all images in the right hand navigation pane in Preview (select any one; CmdA – you can also change their order here if needed)

  4. From the File menu, select Print Selected Pages...

  5. Within the Print dialog, select the PDF button at the lower left

  6. Select Save As PDF...

When you enter the name you'd like to save as, Preview will create a multi-page PDF containing all the separate scans as individual pages in the order they appeared in on the navigation pane. No extra software required.

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In recent versions (10.8), Preview will let you scan directly into a combined document. There is a checkbox now for this in the Scan dialog. superuser.com/a/544836/4577 –  Thilo Feb 1 '13 at 3:02

Image Capture does this. There's a tickbox when you've selected PDF as the output. I don't have a scanner on this system, but we use it every day at work.

Do it this way:

  • Make sure your scanner is installed properly
  • Place the first page under your scanner
  • Hit command-space
  • Enter "Image Capture"
  • Press Enter
  • Now the application "Image Capture" is started
  • Select your scanner in the left bar
  • Click the "Show Details" button on the bottom of the window
  • Change the "Format" field to "PDF"
  • Now the "Combine into single document" checkbox appears
  • Enable that checkbox
  • Now click "Scan" for each page you want to add
  • When you are done you can close "Image Caputer"
  • The scanned document will be in your "Pictures" directory, or in an other dir you selected.
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I do not seem to have that checkbox. Only "detect separate items" (which I think is the opposite, multiple files from one page) and "color restoration". –  Thilo Jan 10 '10 at 1:09
I just tried it. I think it may only show up when you're using an auto document feeder. My bad. –  Cameron Conner Jan 10 '10 at 3:42
I just tried that, but still get two jpeg files instead of one pdf. This has been working earlier, I suppose that Apple broke the program with a bad update. The "Scan" button is also grayed out if "Show details" mode, but not in "Hide details" mode. "It just works", please allow me to laugh. –  Gauthier Dec 20 '12 at 7:58
I needed to unclick the box "Use Custom Size". That made the "Scan" button available even in "Show details" mode, and did combine the scans to a single pdf. –  Gauthier Dec 20 '12 at 8:01
Wow, that is super hidden. Thank you very much –  mark Jan 22 '13 at 7:45

As of OS X 10.8, Preview can also do it (which is good, because the weird software that came with my scanner that I used to use for this stopped working with 10.8).

Select File > Import from Scanner and then in the dialog check the option "Combine into single document".

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Try this. Quote:

Today I hit upon an extremely easy way of scanning directly to PDF format that uses freeware tools. Here's how you do it.

  1. Get your scanner all set up, using whatever drivers you need. (This can sometimes be a bear on OSX. If your scanner manufacturer doesn't provide a driver, check out the SANE project; they may have something for you)
  2. Download and install CombinePDF, a really fantastic little tool that I've found handy on many occasions
  3. Connect your scanner to your Mac and fire up ImageCapture
  4. In the toolbar to the right, click on the dropdown next to "Automatic Tasks"
  5. Click on "Other..."
  6. Browse to wherever CombinePDF is installed, select it and click "Open"
  7. Now insert your document into the scanner and click Scan
  8. As each page is scanned, its file will be dumped into CombinePDF. So this works for multi-page documents, too -- each page will appear as a filename in CombinePDF
  9. When all of your pages are scanned in, click on "Merge PDF..." in CombinePDF
  10. Select a location for the final PDF and give it a name, then click on OK
  11. Your PDF will be created!
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CombinePDF is not freeware, though. A personal use license is 20 EUR. –  Thilo Jan 9 '10 at 10:06

I recently bought a Fujitsu Scansnap (S1500M) for my MacBook Pro. I'm very happy with the solution, the scanner is fast and scans multiple pages (double side in one step). I use it for scanning all my incoming mail, invoices and receipts.

It's bundled with ScanSnap Manager which creates a variety of output formats: "scan to folder" (multi-page of searchable PDFs), "scan to email", "scan to iPhoto" etc.

The package also contains Adobe Acrobat if you want to edit or fine-tune your PDF file.

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Have you considered an Automator workflow? It comes with a "Combine PDF pages" action, as well as renaming ones.

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OfficeDrop is good for this. I've been using it for a while on Windows, and it works nicely. Unfortunately, while the Windows version is free the Mac version costs $20.

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Purchase Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Select Create PDF.

Select From Scanner.

Hit Scan.

When the prompt appears, select Scan Page 2 after putting page 2 into the scanner.

Repeat for the rest of the pages in that document, repeat entire instructions for the next document.

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I use www.docapi.net, the online web scan to PDF software. It allows you to save, send via e-mail and upload to Dropbox, Google Drive, Skydrive.

Mac OS X is supported from 10.4

It is free.

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BcScan is hyper minimal PDF scanning program for OSX I just wrote because I couldn't find anything else that I liked.

BcScan is bare bones, like a copy machine. You put the App in your dock and click the Icon. It starts black-and-white scanning immediately and opens the scan in preview. Leave preview open to add more pages, or close preview to start a new PDF. The PDFs go on the desktop and the file size per page is < 100k.

BcScan requires you to install the SANE drivers, which, unfortunatelly, come as four different DMGs. I'm sorry, that's only way to get the SANE drivers for mac, but at least I made the version selection automatic, so you can just click-open-install each file and will get the right version.

As a reward for your installing efforts, you get support for older scanners and scanning seems to be a lot speedier as well (YMMV), and you won't need to spend 50 bucks or waste time doing preview scans or converting colors and formats.

  1. Install libusb

  2. Install sane-backends

  3. Install SANE-Preference-Pane

  4. Install TWAIN-SANE-Interface

  5. Install BcScan

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This can be done from inside Preview.app.(My Version: 7.0 (826.4)) Basic steps are; import from scanner or open existing document in preview, and edit, then insert from scanner. I assume you have already set up a scanner and can scan documents from inside Preview.app.

The steps are:

Step 1:

  • File->Import from "scanner name"
  • Open existing PDF/image you want to add a second page to.

Step 2:

  • Edit->Insert->Page From Scanner/From Image etc.
  • View->Show Edit Toolbar --> click on plus in lower left hand sidebar -> insert from scanner.

Step 3:

  • Scan subsequent page.
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