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Chapter FOUR. Creating PDF Files in Acro... > TIP 34: Creating a PDF from a Scan i...

TIP 34: Creating a PDF from a Scan in Acrobat

Sometimes you don't have a soft copy of a document. If you have a printed copy, you can create a PDF version using your scanner.

Checking Your Scan Results

Many of the files you convert to PDF are composed of text and images that you can manipulate using a variety of tools. PDF files created by scans using older versions of Acrobat or from some programs, such as Photoshop, are images only; you can't make any changes to the file's contents. Here's a quick way to tell the difference.

Click the Select tool on the Basic toolbar. Then click an area of text on the document. If you see the flashing vertical bar cursor, you know the page contains text. If you click a text area on the document and the entire page is selected, you have an image PDF.

If you are scanning the document yourself and leave the default selection Make Searchable (OCR) in the Create PDF From Scanner dialog, the document is always converted to images and text.

Click the Create PDF task button to display the menu and click From Scanner to open the Create PDF From Scanner dialog (Figure 34a). Select your scanner from the Scanner pull-down list, and then choose Front Sides or Both Sides from the Scan pull-down list.

Figure 34a. Choose settings for converting a scan to a PDF document.

Specify a destination for the scanned page. In Figure 34a, the only option available is a new document; if other documents are open in Acrobat, you can append the scanned file to the active document displayed in the program window.

The default option is to create a searchable document, meaning the contents of the document are converted to words and images that you can then use with Search and Find features. Click Settings to open a dialog for changing the conversion options. (See Tip 139 in Chapter 17 for information on choosing different capture settings.)

If your document contains images, click Image Settings to open the dialog shown in Figure 34b. You can change compression and filter options in the Image Settings dialog rather than use the defaults, as shown Figure 34b. Click OK when you have modified settings, and then click Scan to start the conversion process.

Figure 34b. Configure settings for images before you start the scan.

The Art of Scanning

Acrobat includes filters that you can modify before scanning, or use to make adjustments if your test scan needs tweaking. Here's a rundown:

  • Deskew rotates a skewed page so it's vertical. The default setting is automatic.

  • Background removal is used with grayscale and color pages to make nearly-white areas white, resulting in clearer scans. The default is Low; you can also choose Medium and High options.

  • Edge shadow removal gets rid of the black edges sometimes seen from scanned pages. The default is Cautious; an aggressive option is also available.

  • Despeckle removes black marks from the page. Low is the default; you can also choose Medium and High.

  • Descreen removes halftone dots, like those from a scanned newspaper. The default is Automatic: Acrobat applies the filter automatically for grayscale and RGB images of 300 ppi or higher.

  • Halo removal removes high-contrast edges from color pages. The default setting is On.

Acrobat opens your scanner's dialog. The settings you use depend on your scanner and software; follow the instructions and start the scan. When the scan is finished, your scanner's dialog closes and the scanned document opens in Acrobat. Choose File > Save and save the PDF document.

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