How to Turn a Scanned Document into Microsoft Word Document

Updated July 20, 2017

Turning a scanned document into a Word document is fairly easy, and this process will show you how to turn a scan into editable text. For the purposes of this step-by-step procedure, I used Microsoft Word 2003 running on Windows XP Professional SP2, a Lexmark scanner and Adobe Photoshop. However, any scanner or version of Word should be fine, and Paint can be substituted in lieu of a more professional photo or image editor.

Prepare your document to be scanned. If possible, select the option to scan a black and white document. It is not required, however this will allow for a more accurate read of the text later on. After this is complete, scan the document.

Open the file you've scanned with any type of image editor that can save .TIFF files. Microsoft Paint and Photoshop can both do this. Adjust the picture so that it is upright, if necessary. Click on "File," then click on "Save As," name your file, and next to "Format", save the file as a ".TIFF."

Click on the "Start" button. Go to "Programs > Microsoft Office > Microsoft Office Tools" and select "Microsoft Office Document Imaging."

Click "File," then "Open." Open the folder where you saved your scanned image, click on the file, then click "Open."

Go to "Tools" then click on "Send text to Word." It will prompt a message asking where to save the file (click on "Browse" to choose where you want it to go), then click "OK." At this point, it may prompt a warning that it will take a while to process. The overall process shouldn't take more than a minute or two. Additionally, it may prompt to install the feature that allows the Word conversion to work. In this instance, you may need a copy of your Microsoft Office Installation CD, as it may prompt for it as well.

Look for your file to open in Word automatically once the process is complete. If it does not, go to the folder where you saved it, and open the file from there. The document will not be the exact format of the original document, but it will recognise all the words and lay them out for you automatically.


Sometimes after converting the scan into Word, you may see some misspellings in the Word file. This occurs because the document scan is hazy, or if your scanner saves the scan as a regular photo or colour image. If you can scan as a black and white document, the amount of misspellings should diminish greatly, if not completely.

Things You'll Need

  • Scanner
  • Microsoft Word
  • MS Paint or any photo editor
  • Microsoft Office Installation CD (if needed).
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