Using HP Scan & Capture To Create PDFs From Your Scanner
HP Scan and Capture is a free app for Windows 8.1 that can generate PDFs from scanned reports – if your PC and scanner meet the specifications. It may help some of you avoid paying Adobe’s high approval rate for Adobe Acrobat.
HP Scan and Capture leads the takeaway
- HP Scan and Capture leads out to your HP scanner and creates both JPGs or multi-page PDFs.
- HP Scan and Capture is a full-screen modern application for Windows 8.1 only. This is not for Windows 7 PC.
- The applications work with any HP scanner installed with up-to-date HP drivers. It doesn’t work with other brands of scanners.
- It needs a bit of luck to avoid being one of the people who charge that the app doesn’t work. It’s worked for me each time I’ve experimented but your rate may change.
HP Scan and Capture to PDF Formats Background
Scanning reports to PDF is a daily necessity in most offices. Adobe successfully made the HP scan and capture to create PDF format a global standard, in part by the original trick of widely sharing the Adobe Reader, which can show PDFs but not create them.
The PDF standard is open and clear, any company can create a program that creates files in PDF format. Adobe Acrobat is a certain value for most offices. It has characteristics that extend far beyond the easy creation of a PDF file; it shares with Office programs and Outlook; and line-of-business programs will only communicate with Acrobat to provide PDF support, in much the same method that Quickbooks is the only financial program supported by most LOB applications.
There are some supremely adequate alternatives to Acrobat but they manage to have problems. They might be later designed, or aging bad, or they’re produced by organizations that aren’t getting any money, or they’re supported by adware that mucks up your PC. Or maybe they’re quite nice, like the long-time stalwart Foxit, which is just fine but has the weakness of not being Acrobat – and at some point that becomes a problem.
The issue is that Acrobat is high. Adobe hasn’t received the memo about a new period of lower prices for software license agreements. Microsoft will give you five licenses for all the Microsoft Office programs but Adobe declines to move and charges to install Acrobat on two computers. (To add insult to injury, it’s not simple to figure out how to buy that Acrobat support – here are suggestions about how to buy Acrobat.)
- Some applications have built-in support for creating PDFs.
- Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013, for example, can create PDFs from Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files – click on File / Export.
- (No built-in support for PDFs in Outlook, though.) Quickbooks can turn receipts into PDFs and attach them to an email message.
- Built-in PDF support is growing more common in business programs; that’s why your printer folder is getting jammed up with PDF writers.
HP Scan and Capture on Windows
Scanning to PDF, though, has traditionally been a more difficult problem. Some scanners – adds some HP scanners – adds software that can generate PDFs. If you have an HP all-in-one, see if you have an HP Scan on your list of applications. If you do, it might (or might not) generate PDFs. I can’t find a list of HP printers that adds HP Scan or that support PDFs out of the box. HP’s support report for HP Scan on Windows 7 helpfully states:
- Windows 7 and 8 include a weak and difficult program, Windows Fax and Scans, which does not generate PDFs. Windows Fax and Scan was originally developed for Vista and seems like it hasn’t been upgraded since then.
- For most offices, that’s the end of the options. You’re forced to put up the money for Acrobat if you want to using HP scan and capture to create PDF.
- HP Scan and Capture provides a free alternative for Windows 8.1 users with an HP scanner or all-in-one. Multi-page scans are saved to PDF with a couple of clicks. Once they’re saved, they can be viewed in a familiar desktop program like Adobe Reader.
- There is an important shortcoming: the program does not do OCR on the scan, so the text is not known. Acrobat does OCR by default when it scans; when it’s complete, lines of text can be features and the text is searchable.
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