Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I can go to the "Printers & Scanners" panel from Spotlight, but I cannot call the scanner directly. Is there any way to make Spotlight index a shortcut to the default printer's Scanner app?

It would save the 2 to 3 clicks it takes to click on the correct printer if needed, click on the "Scan" tab and finally on the "Open Scanner" button.

(It's rather counter-intuitive to have to go to a System Preferences panel to be able to scan a document)

[Edit: I mean this app:] enter image description here

share|improve this question


  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Select the "Printers & Scanners" control panel
  3. Select the Scanner that you want to create the shortcut for
  4. Once the scanning window opens, right-click on the Scanner's application icon on the right side of your dock, and select "option/keep on dock"
  5. Next time you want to open the scanner, just click on its docked icon
  6. If it is a combo printer/scanner, step 5 may open the printer queue window instead of going straight to scan mode. If this occurs, simply the click the "Scan" button that shows in the Printer Queue window.
share|improve this answer

If you make an alias of /System/Library/Frameworks/Carbon.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/Print.framework/Versions/A/Plugins/ to for example /Applications/Utilities/, the alias is included in the Spotlight menu:

If you use Alfred, it can be configured to include all applications in the default search results:

share|improve this answer

You could try to type-in the name of your printer inside Spotlight, the interface showing up should let you click on the "Scanner" button.

The quickest way I found so far; and I don't think you can get to that "scanner-button-interface" directly i.e: you have to go through the printer-interface.

(see How can I access my scanner directly without going through System Preferences?)

share|improve this answer

While the scanner application is running, have a look at the dock to see the icon (and on right-click the name) of the scanner application itself. To start it directly, just type this name into Spotlight.

Or you can pin the scanner application to the Dock so it's always available without using Spotlight at all.

share|improve this answer
The problem is that the scanner utility is part of PrinterProxy, part of Mac OS X. I now realized I can open the printer itself looking for [PrinterName].app and then hitting Command+3 (Menu item for Window>Scanner Utility). Two keystrokes is better than one keystroke and three clicks, so thanks for guiding me there. – guidod Nov 29 '13 at 19:07
Having some kind of command line tool that I can launch via Spotlight to open the PrinterProxy driver in the scanner utility itself would be great, though. – guidod Nov 29 '13 at 19:07

The fastest way to activate any program is to use the ⌘ + SPACEBAR shortcut to bring up Spotlight and then type in the name of the Applciation you wish to start, in this case, your scanning application name is what you would enter. After you enter it in the spotlight search field, it should show up under the Applications heading in the Spotlight Result list, if it isn't selected already, simply use the arrow keys to highlight it and then hit enter to select it.

This is the method I use to start up many, if not all of the applications I use because it doesn't require me to lift my hand off the keyboard and I can just keep working.

share|improve this answer
I know that, in fact I mention it in my question. The issue is that the scanning application is part of the printer which in turn is inside System Preferences. I now realized the printer itself has a .app, although it doesn't direct me to the Scanner app it brings me closer. – guidod Nov 29 '13 at 19:05
What kind of printer do you have? My HP All-in-one has a scanner software app called "HP" that I just execute from spotlight. Perhaps your printer manufacturer has software you can install rather than using Apple's provided scanning software which is what it sounds like you are using. – Anil Natha Nov 29 '13 at 19:10

Type the word scan into spotlight and click the resulting icon.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.