If you usually scan documents, the software supplied with the printer equipped with a scanner (multifunction) is not suitable for your needs. To save the scan to PDF, especially in the case of multipage documents, you can opt for a more practical and easy-to-use program. The software we present to you is now considered a real point of reference for scanning to PDF.
Not Another PDF Scanner 2.0 ( NAPS2 ) is free software (distributed under the GNU GPLv2 license), open source, which scans the pages that make up the document and then combines them to form a single PDF file. NAPS2 supports both WIA and TWAIN drivers: regardless of those used by the scanner or multifunction printer; therefore, it is possible – very quickly – to scan to PDF.
PDF Scanning, Even Multipage
NAPS2 proves to be an excellent utility for all those who want to scan to PDF by speeding up document acquisition times. The advantage of NAPS2 is that the program works with “profiles”: whether you use the TWAIN driver or the WIA driver, it can communicate directly with the scanner, bypassing the manufacturer’s user interface.
In this way, you can define the preferences for scanning the document (scanner to use, power source, resolution, color depth, alignment, scale, brightness, and contrast) and then scan the various pages one after the other. Despite its age, TWAIN remains the reference standard even though WIA (Windows Image Acquisition ), introduced years ago by Microsoft, is compatible with many peripherals (see also Scan documents from printer to PC with WSD).
However, NAPS2 is not limited only to acquiring the pages that make up a document (with the possibility of activating a series scan…) but, and this is perhaps the most useful and interesting feature, it allows you to perform an automatic OCR scan and make it searchable the text of the PDF.
In other words, with NAPS2, it is possible to acquire – one after the other – “n” pages containing text, automatically submit them to optical character recognition (OCR) and make sure that the text present in them is selectable and copyable elsewhere (for example in a word processor or any editor) as well as searchable with the Edit, Find ( CTRL+F ) function of the PDF viewer.
Also Read: Microsoft Word Tricks And Features
How To Use NAPS2
When NAPS2 is started for the first time (it is also available as portable software, which does not require installation), by clicking on the Scan button, the program prompts you to create a profile for using the scanner or multifunction printer. Using the window reproduced in the figure, it is possible to specify the use of the WIA or TWAIN drivers and set all the preferences for acquiring the pages.
From the Feed drop-down menu, with compatible scanners (equipped with automatic document feed devices or ADFs), you can choose Feeder: in this way, all the sheets inserted in the Feeder can be automatically scanned and saved as PDF. With a click on Advanced, you can have NAPS2 automatically delete, for example, empty sheets. By clicking on the Profiles button on the NAPS2 toolbar, you can add more scanners or change the default settings for scanning documents.
One idea might be to create different profiles for capturing documents containing a lot of text or for those with different color graphics. NAPS2 allows you to scan, one after the other, multiple pages and then eventually reorder them or manage their orientation. After creating or selecting the preferred scanner profile by clicking on the small arrow to the right of the Scan button, the paper page will be immediately scanned and displayed as a thumbnail in the main program window.
By double-clicking on any acquired image, it is possible to apply rotations, crops, act on brightness and contrast and immediately save in PDF. Compared to the first versions of NAPS2, the OCR engine works much better and can correctly recognize – without asking the user anything – almost all of the text contained in the documents acquired by the scanner.
Compared to applications such as PDF XChange (see Convert a PDF to searchable PDF with OCR ) or the excellent commercial software Power PDF ( Edit PDF and also transform them into Word documents with Nuance Power PDF 2 ), which take advantage of excellent OCR engines, NAPS2 makes the text contained in the PDF document immediately searchable, as soon as it is scanned.
On the other hand, PDF X-Change and Nuance Power PDF 2 work on existing PDFs.
Suppose free applications such as PDF Shaper ( Transform images into PDF ) are excellent for managing existing PDFs (PDF Shaper, however, does not have integrated OCR). In that case, NAPS2 allows you to optimize the phase of acquiring the document from a scanner and saving it in PDF.
To OCR the text of any scanned image, press the OCR button in the NAPS2 toolbar and allow (only for the first time) to download the language files. After acquiring the document’s pages from the scanner, once the corresponding thumbnails have been obtained in the main NAPS2 window, click on OCR, and the text will be automatically recognized without asking the user anything.
Clicking on Save PDF will result in a multipage PDF file if needed. With any PDF viewer, you will notice that selecting the text of interest can be highlighted while pressing the key combinations CTRL+C and CTRL+V; this can be pasted elsewhere. Furthermore, by choosing Edit, Find, or pressing CTRL+F, you can search for the text contained in the PDF file.
The PDF Settings item that appears by clicking on the arrow to the right of the Save PDF button allows you to specify the so-called metadata, i.e., the additional information conveyed with the document and makes up its “properties.” In the same window, there is also the Encrypt PDF box which allows, if necessary, to protect the PDF file with encryption and to activate a series of limitations – for example – on copying and printing. Other programs for scanning to PDF are presented in the article Program for scanning, which is the most useful.
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