4 Best Ways: How to Edit a Scanned Document in 2022

Published on: November 2, 2022
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Scanning a paper document is a great way to make a copy of a it, share it with others, or store it long-term.

Scanning a is easy, but how do you edit a scanned document?

Sometimes we may need to edit our scanned document before it's ready for our needs. This problem is even more important when the PDF has text that you want to edit.

It can be frustrating and confusing if you don't have the right tools and the know-how.

Fortunately, it's easier than you may think. There are multiple, easy ways to edit a scanned document. We've gathered the most popular ones to help the most amount of people.

Continue reading or use our Table of Contents to jump right to the section you need!

What to Know Before You Start

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a technology that extracts text from images and image-based PDFs, and turns it into editable and searchable text.
  • Scanners that use OCR will create the scanned documents with editable text. While scanners without OCR will create images of the paper document in PDF format.
  • An easy way to test if your PDF had OCR done on it is by trying to select or highlight text within the scanned document. If you cannot select or highlight text, that means no OCR has been done, and it will need to be done before you can edit the text in the scanned document.
  • The best way to edit a scanned document is by using a PDF editor with OCR technology.

How to Edit a Scanned Document with a PDF Editor

The best way to edit a scanned document is by using a PDF editor with Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

OCR is a technology that turns text from images, scanned documents, and PDFs into text that you can edit, search, and interact with.

However, not every PDF editor or scanner comes with OCR.

A PDF editor with OCR can instantly turn a scanned document into an editable PDF file. This saves immense time when working on scanned documents where you may not have the original file handy.

If you regularly work with scanned documents, we recommend PDF Pro + OCR: our all-in-one PDF editor, creator, merger, and OCR tool.

We've made PDF Pro to be easy to use and affordable, while not compromising on powerful tools and usefulness.

Don’t have a PDF editor? Download PDF Pro for free today!

  1. Open the scanned document in PDF Pro.
  2. OCR tab > Current file.
  3. Select the Editable text radio button, then press Run.
  4. Press the Edit tab > Edit text.
  5. Make your edits.
  6. Save the changes made to your scanned document.

How to Edit a Scanned Document in Adobe Acrobat

If you pay for Adobe Acrobat DC, you can use it to edit scanned documents. However, please note that this feature is only available with a subscription to Adobe Acrobat DC. This method will not work Adobe Reader.  

  1. Open the scanned document in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Tools.
  3. Edit.
  4. Begin making your edits.
  5. File > Save As.
  6. Save the changes made to your edited document.

How to Edit a Scanned Document in Word

If you have Microsoft Word you can use it to turn a scanned PDF document into a Word document, edit it, then export the document back into PDF format.

Word isn't perfect when it comes to PDF conversions, so this method is prone to formatting and spacing issues, but if you already have access to Microsoft Word, it can be helpful as a free method in a pinch.

Please note that this method requires that the original document was scanned using a scanner with OCR (meaning that the document is text-based, not just an image of a document). Not sure if your PDF is text-based? Try highlighting selecting text with your mouse. If you can, then your document was made with OCR, and contains editable text.

  1. Launch Microsoft Word.
  2. Open.
  3. Browse.
  4. Find & Open the scanned PDF document that you want to edit.
  5. Ok.
  6. Begin editing.
  7. Export > Create
  8. Name & Save your new PDF document.
  9. Publish.

How to Edit a Scanned Document in Google Docs

Similar to the Microsoft Word method above, this method requires that the scanned document that you want to edit was created with OCR. This will ensure that the text that is created within the document is editable.

Note: Google isn't perfect when turning PDFs into editable documents, so formatting and spacing issues are common. If accuracy and reliability matter to you, consider using a PDF editor.

  1. Upload the scanned document to Google Drive.
  2. Open the document in Google Docs.
  3. Ok.
  4. Perform your edits.
  5. Download > As PDF.

FAQ

How can I edit scanned documents in Word on Windows?

You can open your scanned document in Word, perform your edits, then export the document back into PDF format.

Launch Word > Open > Browse > Open the scanned PDF document > Ok > Make your edits > Export > Create PDF/XPS > Publish.

Edit Scanned Documents Like a Pro

Google isn't perfect when turning PDFs into editable documents, so formatting and spacing issues are common. If accuracy and reliability matter to you, consider using a PDF editor. And Word isn't perfect either.

They can be helpful in a pinch. But will only work on scanned documents that have already had OCR performed on them. If you have a scanned document that needs editing, the most reliable method is by using a PDF editor with OCR technology built-in.

Optical Character Recognition is the technology used to make text editable in scanned documents, images, and PDF.

This will automatically turn your scanned document into an editable and searchable text-based PDF. PDF editors are the most reliable way to edit scanned documents. You won't have to worry about formatting issues, missing images, or the like.

If you need a PDF editor with OCR, we recommend PDF Pro: our all-in-one PDF editor, security, converter, merger, and OCR tool.

PDF Pro is our no nonsense, affordable Adobe alternative.

What does "no nonsense" mean?

It means we've made PDF Pro to be simple, intuitive, and easy to use, while not compromising in quality. No complicated menus, no steep learning curves!

When it comes to PDFs, removing signatures is just the tip of the iceberg.

PDF Pro can help you:

Don’t have a PDF editor? Download PDF Pro for free today or Buy Now!

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Arron StaradubDigital Marketing Specialist
Arron is a Digital Marketer at PDF Pro, where he writes helpful and engaging articles for those that that use PDFs in their daily life. He has a knack for explaining concepts in an easily understandable way. He also loves reading and drinking too much coffee.