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I currently use paint.net to scan documents but it's not optimized for that purpose. Ideally I would want a software that produces a searchable PDF and that's free.

What's the best pick?

  • What's "best" is always subjective: one man's owl is another man's nightingale. Better describe what would make this software fitting best for you – which then enables us to give fitting recommendations. See What is required for a question to contain "enough information"? for more hints. Eg: are online services (for OCR) acceptable, or is the material rather confident? Are there specific features you need? A minimum quality/resolution? Anything else? – Izzy Jul 19 '17 at 14:59
  • If you have a good scanner, the answer is no software is needed additionally. As you have to go to the scanner (which is usually not next to your PC) anyway, my preferred option is to have everything scanned to an SMB share using the scanner software. Good scanners even can send E-Mail and save to cloud services if wanted. – Michael S. Dec 19 '17 at 12:32
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As far as installable software goes, there is PDF-XChange Editor, but I have not used it myself.

Or, once you have a scanned PDF, you can convert it to a searchable PDF with these free online services:

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