Want to find the best free scanner software to scan various documents, images, and texts by using external devices like slide scanners? Our collection will help you make the right choice by comparing free programs for Windows and Mac, describing their functionality, and evaluating the pros and cons of each option.
You’ll find software suitable for simple document scanning, working with film negatives, as well and proper structuring of the scanned files.
Check out this list and pick the best free scanner software that is suited for your needs - from scanning document pages to old film rolls, as well as organizing received files on your computer or flash drive.
Verdict: Adobe is one of the world’s leading software developers, so it’s no wonder Acrobat is often brought up as the best free scanner software you can get. If you want straightforward PDF software that lets you compare documents, edit text from scanned paper documents and add comments using a convenient, minimalist interface, this is the choice for you.
Besides, Acrobat lets you create PDF files from Microsoft Office, your phone’s camera, webpages, emails, spreadsheets, etc. This software is also frequently found on the best free PDF editors list.
Verdict: Abbyy has released several popular business-oriented products, with FineReader occupying the scanning market, while generally being considered the best free scanner software out there.
FineReader allows you to edit, review, protect, compare, and convert documents and scanned files and the developer has recently released a mobile scanner app, meaning you don’t have to be tied to your PC and scanner to scan something.
The PDF editor toolset lets you comment and add notes to PDF files, which is great for cooperation. Besides, the compare feature is great for locating what changes were made in different versions of a file, helping you cut the time you spend on proofreading.
Verdict: PaperScan scanner software offers a more diverse toolset compared to most programs that come with scanners. Since manufacturers usually only focus on making the scanner itself as technically proficient as possible, they don’t have enough time to develop proper software for it as well.
This option strives to offer the extra handy functions that will let you not only scan a document with more flexibility but also manage the received files afterward. The free edition of PaperScan includes post-processing features like rotation, border removal, hole punch removal, color settings, and filters.
Verdict: OmniPage Standard makes a solid case for being the best free scan software on the market by offering scanning/conversion functionality and the ability to save scanned files as PDFs with searchable text. Other than efficient OCR software, this option is also great for text extraction.
Lastly, OmniPage lets you convert scanned documents, images, and photos into searchable Doc, PDF, Excel, HTML, and SharePoint formats, among many others, while also enabling you to export files to your Kindle reader.
Verdict: NAPS2 is short for “not another PDF scanner 2”, which is ironic because that is exactly what NAPS2 represents, a good document and photo scanner. Funny name aside, the aspect that makes this option stand apart from other best free scanning software is how simple it is.
NAPS2 comes with handy features like multiple file format support that goes a long way in making the scanning experience more convenient. The software allows you to create multiple scanning profiles that contain the name, resolution, size, and other file characteristics. NAPS2 also has a portable version that enables you to scan files even when you don’t have access to your computer.
Thanks to the minimalist interface of this software, even a complete beginner can start using it immediately. It’s also fully compatible with WIA and TWAIN. You can use simple editing functions to crop, rotate, brighten, or change the saturation of received files.
Verdict: ScanSpeeder is a reasonably-priced scanning utility mainly aimed at the mass market. If your goal is to scan, organize and edit a lot of images, this is a terrific option for you since it allows you to scan and crop several images simultaneously if you have a flatbed scanner.
Additionally, this software makes the scanning process significantly simpler, which is terrific for users that aren’t tech-savvy or can’t afford to purchase professional 3D scanners by Artec3D Studio. When you’re using the software to scan several images simultaneously, ScanSpeeder automatically separates them into individual documents and performs straightening, which can save you a ton of time on aligning the photos and documents on the scanner’s surface.
Verdict: Developed by ExactCode, ExactScan is probably the best free scanner software for Mac. It can scan and store up to 200 files and you can initiate the scanning of a document or an image either with your fingertip or by pushing a key on the scanner.
Thanks to the added button and profile support, you can perform scanning quicker and simpler than ever before. You can select auto Scan to PDF or other formats, design searchable PDFs in a matter of moments, or create your own profiles to ensure ExactScan is perfectly suited for your needs.
This software is supplied with advanced image algorithms that enable integrated drivers to recognize automatically how files should be cropped and aligned.
Verdict: Online Photo Scanner is very user-friendly. It works like a real scanner and outputs scanned photos in PDF and Image format. To start scanning, you need to click on Add Image button or drag and drop your file. You can upload images from external or mobile device cameras. If you are using a mobile phone, click on the Upload button to get the camera photo scan option.
It is important that file processing is carried out on your device, so your data is reliably protected. Another advantage is that this scanning tool works smoothly on major mobile and desktop platforms.
Verdict: By using the usually hidden capabilities of a specific scanner, VueScan allows you to configure such image processing aspects as expanded color correction, the ability to multi-stream and perform batch scanning, hardware exposure adjustments, max color depth selection, and save file format.
Probably the most interesting feature of this option is the ability to save the scan results as a RAW file and then process that data while the device is turned off, which relieves you from the necessity to repeatedly scan originals and increases the equipment’s resources.
VueScan is probably the best scanner software when it comes to working with transparent originals (negatives, slides) since the software contains information about the color characteristics of over 100 film types. VueScan lets you pick a mask from a list of the most popular films as well as manually adjust the color components of the masking layer.
Verdict: Nowadays, SilverFast is individually adapted to about 340 different scanner models to provide maximum quality on any device, by far outperforming the default software offered by the manufacturers.
SilverFast offers terrific multitasking. This way the user never has to pause their workflow to wait while the scanner gets ready or SilverFast performs any sorts of complex calculations.
For instance, when scanning several artifacts one after another, the user can already begin setting the optimization parameters for the second scan while the device is still reading the first artifact, which is a feature missing in most scanner programs.