How to set up a scanner on your Mac computer and use it to scan documents

Kif Leswing/Business InsiderOnce you have a scanner ready for use, you can scan documents onto your Mac with these steps.
  • Before you can scan documents on a Mac, you’ll have to set your computer up properly, which means you’ll need to make sure you have the latest scanning software on your Mac.
  • After that’s taken care of, you can start scanning documents onto your Mac with the following steps.
  • Be aware that the method you use will depend on the type of scanner you have.
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If you need to scan documents onto your Mac computer, you’re in luck: If you have a scanner, or a printer with a scanner, you may not need to install any software to get it up and running with your Mac.

You’ll need to set both your computer and scanner up properly, of course, but that’s an easy task and won’t take more than a few minutes. Then you’ll be able to start scanning documents onto your Mac.

Here, we run through everything you need to know to get from setting up to scanning on a Mac, depending on the type of scanner you’re using.

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How to setup your scanner on a Mac

Before setting everything up, make sure that your Mac has the latest version of Image Capture, the default scanning software that comes preinstalled on your computer. You can skip this if you use a multifunction AirPrint printer and scanner.

1. Following the directions listed on your scanner or printer, connect the scanner to your Mac, plug it in and turn it on. However, do not install any software that came with your scanner; your MacOS computer will download that automatically.

2. Go to the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen and click “System Preferences.”

1 SCAN DOCUMENT MACDevon Delfino/Business InsiderOpen your System Preferences.

3. Select “Printers and Scanners.”

2 SCAN DOCUMENT MACDevon Delfino/Business InsiderNavigate to your Printing and Scanning menu.

4. Select your scanner.

5. If you don’t see your scanner listed, you’ll need to first click the plus sign in the lower-left corner of the screen. Click “Add.”

3 SCAN DOCUMENT MACDevon Delfino/Business InsiderClick the plus button to add your scanner if it’s not already in the list.

How to scan a document on a Mac

Now that your scanner is set up properly, here’s how to start using it with your Mac. The methods will differ depending on whether you use a document-feeding or flatbed scanner.

In either case, however, the first step remains the same: You have to open your scanner. Here’s how:

1. Connect your scanner to your Mac, plug it in and turn it on.

2. Click the Apple icon in the top-left corner, then select “System Preferences” followed by “Printers and Scanners.”

3. Select the scanner from the list on the left side of the window.

Next, follow the directions that match the type of scanner you have:

Scan with a document-feeding scanner

1. Place your pages in the scanner’s document feeder.

2. Select “Use document feeder.”

3. Set your scanning options (like colour, two-sided pages, document size and save location).

4. Click “Scan.”

Keep in mind that if you want to use different settings (like colour for some pages and black-and-white for the rest) you’ll need to scan those as separate groups.

Scan with a flatbed scanner

1. Place your items onto the scanner bed.

2. If necessary, deselect “Use Document Feeder.”

3. Choose the save location.

4. Chose the document size.

5. Click “Scan.”

If you want to scan multiple images at once and save each as separate files, make sure that there’s empty space between each item on the scanner bed.

Be aware that documents with a lot of white space may automatically save as multiple files as well.

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