If you have a lot of paper documents laying around, it
may be helpful to be able to scan those documents and save them as PDF files.
PDF files take up less space than paper documents, and they can make it easy to
search for specific information. Here are five utilities for
converting paper documents to PDF.

This article is also available as a TechRepublic Screenshot Gallery.

Soda PDF 6

Soda PDF 6 is a full-blown PDF editor that includes scanning capabilities. The
utility is divided into a series of modules, each of which deliver different
functionality. The installer allows you to pick and choose the modules that you
want to install (Figure A). It costs $39.00 (USD), but a free trial is available for download.

Figure A



Soda PDF 6 Modules.

Soda PDF 6 allows you to scan and perform optical character
recognition on paper documents, but it also offers the ability to edit existing
PDFs (Figure B). In addition, Soda PDF 6 is able to save PDF files to alternate formats, such
as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, HTML files, TXT files, or even images.

Figure B



You can edit existing PDFs.

Softi Scan to PDF

Softi Scan to PDF is a simple utility for scanning paper documents and converting them to PDF
files (Figure C). It costs $29.95 (USD), but a free trial is available for download.

Figure C



Softi Scan to PDF window.

The Softi Scan to PDF utility offers a clean and simple interface that allows for control
over color and resolution (Figure D), but it lacks any of the features of a full-blown
PDF editor.

Figure D



Color settings in Softi Scan to PDF.

Advanced Scan to PDF Free

Advanced Scan to PDF Free is a free tool for converting paper documents to PDF format. When installing Advanced Scan to PDF Free, be sure to perform the custom installation (Figure E). Otherwise, the software will install a toolbar, change your browser home page, and change your search provider, in addition to installing other software.

Figure E



Select the custom installation.

The software’s main features consist of its
ability to specify page size and compression type. There are also a number of
features that can be used to adjust the image size and positioning. Advanced Scan to PDF Free even has the ability to add password protection (Figure F) and a digital signature
to documents that you create.

Figure F



Advanced Scan to PDF Free offers password protection.

Readiris Pro

Readiris Pro is a utility that’s designed to scan paper documents and convert them to PDFs,
Microsoft Office documents, or even e-mail messages (Figure G). The software can also
create documents from a variety of image file formats. It costs $129.00 (USD), but a free trial is available for download.

Figure G



Conversion options in Readiris Pro.

The software offers a variety of document controls, such
as the ability to rotate and adjust pages and the ability to delete blank
pages. In addition, Readiris Pro has a cloud setup function through which the
software can be linked to cloud providers like SkyDrive and Dropbox (Figure H).

Figure H



You can link Readiris Pro to cloud providers.

SolarSys DocScan Pro OCR

SolarSys DocScan Pro OCR is a utility for scanning documents and converting them to PDF format (Figure I). It costs $295.00 (USD), but a free trial is available for download. In
addition to the basic image conversion process, SolarSys DocScan Pro OCR also
performs optical character recognition in order to make the documents

Figure I



SolarSys DocScan Pro OCR window.

The program offers a number of features that give you
control of everything from document formatting to mouse functionality. The
software even supports the installation of additional languages (Figure K).

Figure K



The Language tab in SolarSys DocScan Pro OCR.

What is your favorite tool for converting paper documents to PDF? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.