If you own a Mac, you can take scanning document to a whole new level. You can technically scan documents with any modern computer, however, if you own a Mac, you’ll have a special experience.

Although you don’t need any specific software in order to scan a document on a Mac, it would be a disservice to Apple users everywhere to ignore the many comforts Mac computers provide us. In other words, macOS already has a pre-installed program known as Image Capture, which not only simplifies the process of scanning documents but also has easy-to-use controls when it comes to editing your document.

This is especially useful to those people who may not be very tech-savvy. To learn how to scan documents on your Mac using the Image Capture program, follow the instructions below.


1. On the top right corner of your Mac’s screen, there will be a small icon, shaped like a magnifying glass. Click the search icon, and the Spotlight window will pop up.

Image Capture

2. In the pop up search bar, type in Image Capture, and open the program. The icon of the program will be a grey camera, as seen below.

Devices and Shared

3. A window will open, with two panes. You will have to select your scanner from the pane on the left. There will be two options labeled Devices and Shared. If your scanner is connected via a USB cable, it will appear in the Devices section, however, if the scanner is connected to your laptop via wireless network connection, it will appear in the Shared section.

Note: If you’re unable to locate your scanner (such as in the picture below) you may have to reinstall your device. If this doesn’t solve the problem, make sure that you have downloaded and installed all the necessary drivers and software needed for the scanner.

4. If you have a flatbed scanner, which are large scanners, often built into multifunction printers, Image Capture will conduct an overview scan. This will give you a preview of your expected result. Image Capture will also automatically warm up your scanner.

5. On the right pane of the window, you will see options to edit your scan such as Kind, Resolution, and Size. Fill in the fields accordingly, and take note of where your scan will be saved.

  • Kind: Declare whether you would like a Color, Black & White, or Text scan.
  • Resolution: Declare the desired DPI (dots per inch). The greater the DPI, the more pixels in each square inch.
  • Size: In inches, declare the size of the selection box around your scan.
  • Rotation Angle: Declare the angle at which you would like to rotate the selection box clockwise.
  • Auto Selection: Declare whether or not you want Image Capture to automatically place a selection box around your document.
  • Image Correction: Depending on your scanner, you may see image adjustment options such as brightness, temperature, and saturation.

5. Click Scan in the lower right corner to begin scanning.

6. Your scan will save in the Scan To location you noted in step #5.

Please be patient while your document is scanning. The process is relatively quick, but may take some time for some users.

You have now scanned your document accordingly. You may scan more documents and combine them into a single PDF if you check the box labeled Combine into single document. Alternatively, you can combine documents into a single PDF using Preview after each document has been scanned.

Image Capture can also be used as a photo importing tool for the photos on your iPhone and is an application lauded by consumers around the world. If your scanner has an automatic document feeder, you’ll be able to scan multiple pages at once. If you have a flatbed scanner, you can straighten any pages that were placed crooked on the scanning bed and can scan multiple images. Each image can be saved to its own file.

Mac computers often come with built in software to help with your everyday technical tasks. Image Capture is just one of the few software services Apple offers in order to make your life easier. You may not even know of all the applications installed on your Mac, which can help you greatly. Feel free to explore around on your Mac to discover other applications, such as iMovie, GarageBand, Keynote, and more, that may make your other technical tasks much easier.

The best part is that most of these applications can be found on your iPhone as well. You can easily do work from one device to another. Not only that, but Apple provides these software services to you free of charge. So, go on, enjoy Image Capture and the countless other applications on your Mac that you likely didn’t even know you had installed on your device.