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

9 Answers 9



  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.

If you make an alias of /System/Library/Frameworks/Carbon.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/Print.framework/Versions/A/Plugins/PrinterProxy.app/ 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:


I have made an applescript that launches the specific printer/scanner app that resides in user library and then presses cmd+3 as Hotschke suggested.

set SCAN to "/Users/user/Library/Printers/INK 8600.app"
tell application SCAN to activate
tell application "System Events" to keystroke "3" using command down

this is saved as Scan INK 8600.app in apps folder and launched through spotlight.

It opens the printer app and then launches the scan interface.


I know this is an old question, but I found a pretty easy way to access the scanner without going through System Preferences every time.

  1. Find the printer via System Preferences->Printers & Scanners, and click Open Print Queue... This should open a new window for the printer. Printers & Scanners window
  2. Right-click (or Cmd-click) on the title bar of the print queue window. Select the Printers option. This will open the hidden Printers folder in Finder. Print Queue window Printers folder in Finder
  3. From here you should be able to see the app for the printer. Hold down Cmd and Alt while dragging the app to create a shortcut anywhere you want (I put mine in the Applications folder), and now you can use the shortcut to open the print queue window directly without going through System Preferences. Then just click the Scanner button to scan a document. Print queue window Scanner button

Hope this helps!

  • How does this help in calling the scanner application directly from Spotlight?
    – nohillside
    Sep 3, 2019 at 5:42
  • Spotlight will find the shortcut in the Applications folder (if that's where you create it) when you start typing the name of the printer. NOTE: this still will not directly open the scanner application - it will open the print queue, and from there you can click the Scanner button. Not quite a one-step solution, but a lot better than going through System Preferences. (It also has the added benefit of creating an alternate way to get to the scanner for users who don't normally use Spotlight.) Sep 3, 2019 at 19:12

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?)


I have a flatbed scanner, separate from the printer.

Solution 1: What works for me is, in Spotlight, to type the first letters of the name of the scanning device (in my case "Epson Perfection 2400"), and open it. This opens the scanning window directly from Spotlight.

Solution 2: you can rename the scanner device to include the word "scanner", by going to Preferences > Printers and Scanners, right-clicking (or Ctrl-clicking) on the scanner name, and rename it. In my case, I renamed it to "Epson Perfection 2400 scanner". This did the trick. Now I can type "scanner" in Spotlight, and open up the scanning window directly.


If you use Alfred.app, add the path ~/Library/Printers to the Search Scope of Default Results enter image description here

Now, I get following results when entering HP

enter image description here

Final step for my HP LaserJet M1536dnf MFP is to press CMD+3 to open the scanner window!

Or search for the mac OS utility Image Capture which also lists scanner.


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.

  • 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, 2013 at 19:05
  • What kind of printer do you have? My HP All-in-one has a scanner software app called "HP Scan.app" 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
    Nov 29, 2013 at 19:10

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

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .