Tech Tip: There’s More than One Way to Scan on a Mac


Q. I bought a multifunction printer a few years ago for printing from my Mac, but now I’d like to take advantage of the scanner to digitize some documents. It is not immediately obvious how to use the scanner part of the printer, though. Do I need to download software?

A. When you installed the driver software that originally came with the multifunction printer/scanner, you may have also added a utility program for scanning. Take a look in your Mac’s Applications folder for programs from your printer’s manufacturer.


In the Printers & Scanners preferences box, click the Scan tab and then on the Open Scanner button to access the scanning controls.

The New York Times

For example, if you have Hewlett-Packard hardware and installed the default programs when you were setting it up, check for a Hewlett-Packard folder containing “HP Scan” and other software for use with the printer. You can also download updated versions for your model from the support area of the manufacturer’s website.

Most recent versions of the Mac operating system (macOS Sierra and earlier editions of OS X) can use the system’s Software Update feature to automatically download the necessary software for scanning. When your software is ready to go and the printer/scanner is connected and powered on, you can also scan from the Printers & Scanners box — select the Scan tab above the model name and click Open Scanner to get the scanning controls.

Macs come with other programs for scanning, too. The same Image Capture software that imports photos from a connected digital camera can pull in images from a scanner. Just select the connected scanner from the Devices list in the program’s window to get started.

Apple’s Preview program for viewing and editing images and PDF files can also handle scans; with the scanner connected and a document on the glass, open Preview, go to the File menu and choose Import From Scanner. Both Image Capture and Preview should be waiting for you in the Mac’s Applications folder.

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