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.
1. 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.
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.
You can edit existing PDFs.
2. 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.
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
Color settings in Softi Scan to PDF.
3. 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.
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.
Advanced Scan to PDF Free offers password protection.
4. 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.
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).
You can link Readiris Pro to cloud providers.
5. 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 searchable.
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).
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.