9 Best Free Scanner Software in 2021

9 Best Free Scanner Software in 2021

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.

Top 9 Free Scanner Software

  1. Abbyy FineReader - Multi-language support
  2. Adobe Acrobat - From the most professional
  3. PaperScan - Convenient management of scanned documents
  4. OmniPage Standard - Lots of export options
  5. NAPS2 - Simple and user-friendly interface
  6. ScanSpeeder - Scanner for photographers
  7. ExactScan - Suitable for most scanners
  8. VueScan - Allows saving files in RAW format
  9. SilverFast - Maximum quality on any device

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.

1. Abbyy FineReader - Our Choice

 
Professional OCR tool
  • Potentially the leading OCR software on the market
  • Intuitive software/application
  • Comes with all functions you might ever need
  • Convenient UI
  • Terrific performance
  • Multi-language support
  • Several features can only be accessed in PRO
  • Doesn’t have a versioning feature

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.

abbyy finereader scanner software interface

2. Adobe Acrobat

 
For scanning and editing files
  • Incredible number of features
  • Most popular file format on the market
  • Fast search feature thanks to text indexing
  • Smartphone app offers full editing functionality
  • Standard templates for file consistency
  • Lacks OCR proofreading features

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.

adobe acrobat scanner software interface

3. PaperScan

 
Universal program for work
  • Cost-effective
  • Available in multiple languages
  • Free edition
  • Can’t be used in the cloud

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.

You can save scanned files either in JPEG, TIFF, JBIG2, PNG or PDF format.

paperscan scanner software interface

4. OmniPage Standard

 
Easy to use
  • Terrific scanning and conversion quality
  • Impressive portability
  • Long list of possible integrations
  • Expensive PRO version

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.

omnipage standard scanner software interface

5. NAPS2

 
Free and open-source code
  • Convenient and user-friendly interface
  • Minimalist UI
  • Ease of use
  • Supports WIA and TWAIN
  • OCR system supports more than 100 languages
  • Occasional lagging

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.

naps2 scanner software interface

6. ScanSpeeder

 
Powerful and functional photo scanner
  • Free trial
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Clean UI
  • Allows exporting images/documents straight to Facebook
  • Can add text to images
  • Nothing worth mentioning considering the price

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 are using outdated scanners. 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.

scanspeeder scanner software interface

7. ExactScan

 
Built-in drivers for any scanner
  • Allows saving multiple user profiles
  • Completely free software
  • Doesn’t take up a lot of space
  • Simple interface
  • Doesn’t support some old scanners
  • Occasional performance errors

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.

exactscan scanner software interface

8. VueScan

 
If you need to scan film rolls
  • Lots of powerful functions
  • View documents in different formats
  • High scanning quality
  • Occasional slow performance
  • Doesn’t offer the freedom of picking different styles

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.

vuescan scanner software interface

9. SilverFast

 
Scanning and image processing software
  • Expansive feature-set
  • Built-in image optimization
  • Print-ready files
  • Slightly complex interface

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.

silverfast scanner software interface
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