How to Scan a Document Into Microsoft Word & Maintain the Columns

Written by bryan cohen
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How to Scan a Document Into Microsoft Word & Maintain the Columns
(BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

For years, developers in the scanning industry have been trying to perfect OCR (optical character recognition). While scanning technology has improved over time, there is still no perfect program when it comes to maintaining the format of text-based documents. Enhance the accuracy of a document by correctly scanning it using the OCR function in Word.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Microsoft Word
  • Document
  • Scanner
  • Eyeglass cleaner or compressed air
  • Soft cloth
  • Microsoft Paint

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  1. 1

    Unplug your scanner from both your computer and your wall socket or surge protector.

  2. 2

    Remove or lift up your scanner lid.

  3. 3

    Spray the cleaner of your choice on your cloth and wipe your scanner to remove all visible dust, grease and debris.

  4. 4

    Wipe the screen dry with a second cloth or a dry part of the original cloth.

  5. 5

    If you desire a more thorough cleaning, contact a professional in your area.

  6. 6

    Examine the document you wish to scan. If it is a copy itself or poorly printed, consider reprinting the document or finding the original for improved accuracy.

  1. 1

    Since Microsoft Office 2007 does not install its scanning program by default, you must install it manually. Exit all programs, click the "Start" button, and scroll over to the Control Panel.

  2. 2

    Click "Programs" and "Programs and Features," and then right-click Microsoft Office Word 2007. On the menu that comes up, click the "Change" tab, "Add or Remove Features," and then "Continue."

  3. 3

    Click the plus sign next to Office Tools under the heading "Installation Options."

  4. 4

    Click the space next to "Microsoft Office Document Imaging," then scroll to "Run all from my computer" and click. Click "Continue" to enable Microsoft Office Document Imaging on your computer.

  1. 1

    Scan your document using the program of your choice and convert the file into a TIFF file using Microsoft Paint or another conversion program.

  2. 2

    Go to Microsoft Office Document Imaging by clicking on "Start," "All Programs," "Microsoft Office" and "Microsoft Office Tools" before clicking on the "Microsoft Office Document Imaging" icon.

  3. 3

    Click on "File," then "Open" and find the document that you just converted. The program will convert the document to an editable file. Select the entire document (shortcut: "Ctrl"-"A") and copy it (shortcut: "Ctrl"-"C"). This will put the document on the clipboard.

  4. 4

    Open Microsoft Word and open a new document. Select "Blank Document" and then paste the contents of the clipboard (your document) into Word (shortcut: "Ctrl"-"V").

  5. 5

    If your columns are not preserved to your liking, try making a blank document set into columns. Scan each column into the computer individually, following Steps 1 through 4 in this section and pasting each column in individually.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure to use a lint-free cloth when cleaning your scanner.
  • If you wish to further improve your accuracy, try a separate OCR program such as OmniPage Professional (see Resources).
  • The instructions provided are for Microsoft Office 2007 and Windows Vista. There are slight differences when trying to do this in Windows 7 and XP.

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