I have the occasional need to scan and/or convert scanned images into PDF format. OS X Mountain Lion does this natively, but as far as I can tell it's just an image wrapped in a PDF, so text selection, search, and signing the document isn't possible.

I've tried out the latest free trial of Adobe Acrobat Pro, which has scan to PDF functionality that does precisely what I want. Combined with its ClearScan option I've managed to get pretty decent looking PDFs at a reasonable size that I can search, select text from, and digitally sign. Awesome! Except it costs $199, which is a little steep for very occasional use.

That being said, is there anything else out there that has similar functionality at a lower price point? I'm not expecting free.

One app that keeps coming up in my search is PDFScanner, which makes the resulting PDF searchable by running it through OCR, but from what I can tell it's the equivalent of Adobe's searchable image format. One important requirement is being able to digitally sign the resulting PDF, but it's not clear if PDFScanner can do this. Text selection is nice but not absolutely necessary.


2 Answers 2


I know of a website that people have used that is supposed to be very good (there is no software to download) and everything is carried out online. It is called FillAnyPDF:


which includes digital signature. I have never used it myself, but it may turn out to be what you are looking for, but it might just be for form filling.

Alternatively Wondershares PDF Editor for Mac maybe cheaper than Adobe:


I left another suggestion in the comments below however this article by OSXDaily (particularly the comments section) should provide more insight to your needs:


  • Thanks for the suggestions. FillAnyPDF looks interesting but unfortunately it didn't work as well as advertised. Wondershare PDF Editor Pro looks promising though. After converting a scanned document I was able search, select text and sign the document in OS X Preview.
    – Peter
    Nov 26, 2012 at 1:48
  • If you need the functions on a regular basis, PDF Pen also might be ideal, as it provides alot functions that Adobe provides but at a much reduced price smilesoftware.com/PDFpen/index.html
    – Simon
    Nov 26, 2012 at 9:36

I know this is an old answer, and full disclosure -- I'm the developer, but I wrote a pretty simple app that turns a scanned PDF into a searchable one using OCR. It's called Elucidate and available on the Mac App Store.

It doesn't offer signing capabilities, but you could easily run the output PDF through Preview to use its built-in signing capabilities.

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