Scanning in paper documents

Each paper document should be scanned in as a PDF. Various methods of scanning are explained below.


Method 1: Use your scanner to scan to a USB stick or SDcard

Many scanners have a slot for a USB stick and/or SDcard so that you can scan as a PDF direct to the USB stick or SDcard. You can then insert the  USB stick of SDcard in to your computer or other device and copy the PDF to your device. 

Method 2: Use your scanner connected to your computer

Alternatively you can connect the scanner to your computer, tablet or phone and scan documents as PDFs that way. Most scanners have a variety of ways to connect to all kinds of devices using Wifi or cable and you can use whichever is most convenient.

Whichever method of scanning you use it is important that all pages of a single document should should be scanned into a single PDF

Whichever method you use, if a document consists of more than one page, make sure that all pages are scanned into a single PDF. Don't produce a separate PDF for each page as it makes it very difficult if you have to keep closing one PDF and opening another to read through the document. 

If you put all the pages of a document in the document feeder on your scanner they should, by default, be scanned into a single multi-page PDF. If you are not using the document feeder but are instead putting each page of a document, in turn, on the glass (e.g. because the pages are fragile) the scanning dialogue you use should prompt you after scanning each page to say whether there are more pages of the document to be scanned (or whether the page you have just scanned is the last page of the document) so that it knows whether or not to include the next page in the same PDF as the preceding pages.

Do you need a new printer/scanner?  

If you have a very old scanner which does not have a document feeder and does not prompt you when scanning from the glass, consider buying a new scanner. The cost of good quality scanners is coming down all the time and you can buy a combined colour scanner and printer, which can scan and print double-sided, A4 and A3, for less than £250. When buying a scanner make sure that the scanner has a double-sided automatic document feed (ADF) as you may find that many of the documents you need to scan in are printed on both sides.

Scanner/printer shown above is a Brother MFCJ6530DW 

Scanning with your phone 

It is possible to scan using an app on your phone such as Scanbot but the results will not be as good as using a scanner so it is much better to use a scanner. 

Naming the PDF copies

When you scan in a document and save it as a PDF you can type in the name you want the saved PDF to have. Give the PDF a name in this format: 

2015-09-10 Letter Smith to Jones

Don't scan in two pages side-by-side

If you have a document in leaflet form - e.g. a single A3 sheet of paper folded in half to make a four page A4 sized leaflet - make sure you scan each page (rather than scanning two pages side by side) so that you produce a PDF containing four A4 pages (and not two A3 pages).

So don't scan it in like this

Scan it in like this


with any backsheet at the end.

Similarly, if you have a booklet consisting e.g. of 8 A4 pages made up of two folded A3 sheets stapled at the crease, make sure you scan each page so that you produce a PDF containing eight A4 pages (and not four A3 pages).


The information on this page about specific computer techniques is provided for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date at the time it was written but no responsibility for its accuracy, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by me. You should satisfy yourself, before using any of the techniques, software or services described, that the techniques are appropriate for your purposes and that the software or service is reliable.

Any explanation about naming conventions or other matters in the context of tribunal or court procedure is only an overview and in order to be reasonably concise I have had to leave some details out - details which are likely to affect what the procedural law would say about your own situation. So please do not rely on the above but contact me for advice.

This page was lasted updated in May 2020. Disclaimer