Where do scanned documents go on mac

Scanning Using Mac Default Applications – Where do scanned documents go on mac Leave a comment

You can scan documents using a scanner connected to your Mac in multiple ways. Scanning documents using the Mac system are now made easy using the default applications such as Preview app and Image Capture that come with the Mac operating system. Though you might have known these applications and use them for a different cause, now you will learn how to use them with a scanner. Read till the end as you have the bonus tip on Where Do Scanned Documents Go On Mac.

Preview App For Scanning In Mac

The Preview App comes with your Mac and assists you in scanning documents and photos using your scanner quickly and easily. It is a PDF viewer and an image viewer for macOS and useful to view, edit, and print several versions of files. After the advent of this app scanning using the Mac, the system has improved drastically. You can perform all actions before scanning preparation, during the scan, and after the scan, actions using the Preview app. Scanning, editing, and saving a document and a few advanced useful features are available with this app.

You can scan an image or a document on Mac with Preview using a flatbed or an automatic document-feeding scanner. Check out the scanning process and then using the app.

Automatic Document Feeding Scanner

The automatic document feeder (ADF) can scan several pages in a go. You can only scan documents with the same settings at a time. For instance, if you have mixed pages of color, monochrome, and greyscale with different sizes, then they can’t be scanned at once. Separate them according to the size and then divide them based on color and scan each group separately.

Flatbed Scanner

These scanners are equipped with a scanner bed with a glass plate where you scan each document separately. If you have smaller documents, say few bill receipts, you can scan them all at once yet save them separately. It is also possible to fix the crooked images and straighten them.

Open the preview app and go to the File tab and choose Import from the scanner and select the scanner. If your scanner is not visible in the list, check your preferences in printers and scanners and adjust settings.

Prepare your scanner by choosing appropriate settings. You can select the scanner’s mode, such as Document Feeder or Flatbed, from the pop-up. Then select the document type based on its color. Also, if you are planning to scan on a single side or both sides and this setting should be supported by your scanner. Proceeded after selecting or entering the orientation and size of the document that is being scanned.

At this stage, you can make adjustments to the Image, such as exposure and color, either manually or automatically. Finally, you can choose a location to save the scanned file. If you cannot find this option, you can choose to save your scanned document after it opens in the app.

Now you can start scanning, and the scanner scans your pages one after the other. You can import scanned images from iPhone and iPad to process them further in the Preview App.

Image Capture App

Image capture app can upload pictures from your scanner directly to your system or network.

It is the easiest and reliable way to scan documents using Mac. Anyone, even without much technical knowledge, can use this scanning method as it comes with the Operating system. You need not install it separately. Since you might have already used it for importing your images, it is already a well-known interface for you. Even if you did not, don’t worry as it is a simple process with minimal settings and works seamlessly. It can successfully handle scanning with both stand-alone scanners or all-in-one printers.

Process Of Scanning A Document On Mac With Image Capture

Make sure your scanner is switched on and connected to your computer. Keep the scanner ready by feeding it with the required documents. You need to open the Image Capture on Mac, and if you cannot find it, you can check for it in the applications folder or search using Spotlight.

Once you open the application, follow the below steps:

  • Go to the left pane of the main window in the app and select your scanner
  • Sometimes your scanner might not be visible, then click Shared. This will reveal the shared devices from which you can now select the scanner.
  • By default, the scanning window of Image Capture opens with basic features. However, you have advanced options also.
  • You now need to select the destination folder to save the scanned items.
  • Set the size of the document using the predefined sizes or draw a custom bounding box. If you are scanning several smaller-sized photos or similar documents, then you can draw separate bounding boxes to import them as different files.
  • If you wish to make more settings, you can click on the show details. Here you can check the other options available along with the preview of the document being scanned.
  • Using options, you can choose the scan as black and white, color set the resolution, and name the scan. Also, you can view more options.
  • After making the required choices continue with the scanning by clicking the scan button.
  • Time taken to scan the document depends on your choice of resolution. The scanning process completes quicker if it is of lower resolution and takes longer if done with high resolution. You need to scan at a higher resolution if you need it for printing later.
  • Your scanned document will be saved to the chosen folder.

Similar to the Preview App, Image capture also provides complete control over the document scanning.

You have the Scan Mode where you choose the, i.e., document or flatbed mode. The Kind option allows you to choose between the text, black and white, or color selection. Usually, your scanner will provide a similar output to the original copy. However, if you select any of the Kind different from those colors, then your document is scanned based on the selected value. Suppose you placed a color document and selected black and white, then it scans in black and white only.

Selecting the resolution depends on the type of document. You measure resolution using dpi, meaning dots per inch.  Every dot resembles a single pixel, and if the dpi is high, it implies that each square inch contains a more significant number of pixels.

A simple document with just black and white elements needs at least 150 dpi for sound output. Similarly, color documents look good at 240 to 300 dpi. However, photos give excellent results only at a higher resolution.

You can rotate the document to the required degree in a clockwise direction. Though you can select the document manually, you also have an option for auto selection. Here you can also specify if you are scanning one or more documents for it to identify the edges correctly for each document. The enclosing box detection option will save the single or multiple files as one single file. When you use the separate items detection option, each of them is selected as a separate box and is saved as separate files.

Selecting the file format is possible using the Format option. In general, PDF format is apt for documents with text or text and images. You can use JPG for photos and if you don’t have clarity of which would be the best choice, then save it as a PDF. A PDF is versatile enough to later change it into a JPG in case you want. Also, if you want to combine all the scanned documents into one file, then make sure you select the checkbox “Combine” for this purpose. If you missed checking it or have multiple scanned documents that you want to combine, you could also do it in Preview app after you complete the scans.

Likewise, the Image Correction option in Image Capture depends on the scanner support as it is an edit option. Along with PDF combine function after scanning, this is another significant difference between the Preview app and the Image Capture app. There are a few other options: unsharp mask, descreening, backlight correction, and dust removal options.

Xerox DocuMate 6440

Where Do Scanned Documents Go On Mac

Your scanner might be using proprietary software, or third-party software, or the macs default scanning app. Each of them has different methods of saving the scanned document. Depending on the settings, your file may be stored in the application default folders or custom location you choose. If you have no idea of where they are stored, you can use the below methods to find your scanned documents.

Search Method

This method is a simple and easy one and used by most people at least once for various purposes. Usually, scanned documents are stored as PDF, JPG, PNG, TIFF file formats. Click on any folder on the desktop and use the search filed in the folder window and search for the aforesaid file extensions. You get a list of all the files with the searched extensions and details such as name, date, size, type, and other specifications.

Having your path bar enabled on your folders will give you the location of a selected search result. You can find the complete path at the bottom, and clicking on it will lead you to the location directly.


On your menu bar, you can see the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner. Click on it and enter the file extensions suitable for scanned files. You can find your file from the list it provides.

Next time you know where to look for the scanned documents rather than wondering – Where Do Scanned Documents Go On Mac? There are a ton of quality scanners for you to connect to your Macbook on Amazon, get buy now.


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