How to create scanned PDF without a scanner?

There are two ways to create a scanned PDF without a scanner. The first way is to create a scanned PDF from a regular one, and the other one is to use your mobile phone as a scanner.

 1)      Creating scanned PDF from a regular one

Though it might not be something that you want to do regularly, there are times when you might want to create a scanned PDF out of a regular one. For example, if you want to make a PDF with unsearchable text when placing it online, you might want to have a scanned one. Having a scanned PDF is a good way to protect your contents from unauthorized use. Scanned PDFs can be read, but this process requires special technology, such as our OCR (optical character recognition) technology, for example.

So let’s have a look at how you would go about creating a scanned PDF.

Assuming that you don’t have a scanner, there are not many, if any, Windows-based software options for doing this. However, here’s how you can do it using Cometdocs and some other tools to assist you.

First step: Scanned PDFs are basically image files saved as PDFs. Therefore, the obvious first step should be to make an image file out of your PDF, which can be done very easily using Cometdocs. Upload your file to Cometdocs, drag it to the “Convert” tab and then choose the image type you want the PDF to be converted to. Every page of your PDF will be converted to the image file type of your choice. The images are then zipped into one folder so that they can be accessed easily all at once. Cometdocs supports all of the most popular image file formats, including JPG, PNG and TIFF.

convert pdf to images jpg

You can also do this by using the Snapshot option in your PDF reader, but it’s a much faster process using Cometdocs.

Second step: Now it’s time to convert the images back to PDF in order to make a scanned PDF. You can use Cometdocs once again. If you are a premium user, the process will be much simpler, because you will be able to convert multiple images files at once, but you can still do it as a regular user, despite the fact that it might take a bit more time. Convert your image files back to PDF using Cometdocs. You now have PDF pages that are essentially images that cannot be read without OCR technology.

convert images to pdf format

Third step: Now it’s time to merge these newly created PDF pages into a single scanned PDF. There are some great open source merging tools that you can use to do this; we recommend PDFSam and PDFTK Builder. Once you have merged all of the PDFs, you will have one scanned PDF file.

2)      Scan to PDF from your phone

If you want to create a scanned PDF on your mobile device, there are some good apps out there that you can use without having to gain access to a scanner.

Google Drive

google drive scan to pdf

The Google Drive app has document scanning and OCR capabilities, which makes it perfect for taking pictures of things such as receipts and bills and turning them into scanned PDFs that can be used digitally.

Simple tap the “Add New” option in the app and tap the scan option.

Then take a picture of the object you want scanned once the scanner interface turns on.

Thanks to the OCR technology, the app extracts the content from the picture and save it as a PDF so that you will be able to search the document within your Google Drive cloud storage space.


Evernote has the same capabilities.

Open a new note and then tap on the plus button to select the Page Camera.

Take a picture of the object to scan it.

Evernote has a feature that Google Drive does not, which is the ability to scan multiple documents into one note without having to create a new note for each scan.


CamScanner might be the easiest app to use for creating scans on your mobile device.

Take a photo of your document through the app and then select the cropping tool. Use it to crop the picture and get the document into frame perfectly.

The photo can then be saves as an image file or as a PDF.