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How to Make PDF Look Scanned? (3 Free Online Ways)

Are you asked often to print a PDF document, make some changes to it or sign it and then upload the scanned PDF copy? Do you just want to do all these changes digitally, then, make it look scanned? Or do you want to prevent people from making edits to your PDF document so that they cannot make edits even with PDF editors? There could be several other reasons why you may want to make PDF look scanned, and we have the solution to all those reasons.

In this guide, we will be exploring 3 free and online ways that you can use. Additionally, if you want an offline experience, then we have a solution for you as well.

So, stick with us till the end to find out which option works the best for you amongst all the others.

Part 1. Make a PDF Look Scanned Online via i2PDF

i2PDF is an online PDF tool that comes with lots of PDF editing and other tools. It also allows users to convert their PDFs to look like scanned documents and offers multiple benefits. Its benefits include high security that ensures to delete your files from its cloud storage automatically after 30 minutes of your conversion.

i2PDF provides instant processing of documents, and it gives a preview of the first page that helps you make sure that you are working on the right file. There are some customization options available here as well.

However, a major downside of this method is that it does not support batch conversion. Below are the steps you may follow to convert your PDFs to look like scanned documents.

Step 1: Open the i2PDF PDF to the Scan tool and click "Choose Files" to upload your PDFs.

make pdf look scanned i2pdf

Step 2: After file uploading is complete, you will see a preview of your PDF along with different options. You may click "Options" to customize multiple things in your PDF. Here, you must click "PDF to Scan" and wait until it is complete. Click the "Download" button, and your converted PDF document will be saved to your device.

make pdf look scanned i2pdf

Part 2. Make a PDF Look Scanned Online via LookScanned

LookScanned is an online tool dedicated to making PDFs look like they are scanned. While it does not offer any other functionalities, it offers amazing benefits and features when converting PDFs into scanned form.

For example, you get a detailed preview to see the real-time quality of the content of multiple pages. There are lots of customization options with slider control to ensure you get the quality you need.

In fact, once you access the online tool, it will not need any internet, and you can disconnect from the internet. The security here is top-notch since all the processing happens at your end. Unlike many other online PDF tools, there are no ads on this one.

In terms of the downsides, there are no additional features, and this tool only supports one conversion at a time.

Steps: Go to the LookScanned website and upload the PDF by clicking "Select PDF." A preview of your PDF will appear, and you can generate its scanned PDF by clicking "Generate Scanned PDF" and then save the file by clicking "Download Scanned PDF."

make pdf look scanned updf

Part 3. Make a PDF Look Scanned Online via PDFCandle

The last online option that we will discuss here is PDFCandle and it is another option with multiple features for working on PDFs. One of its many tools is the PDF-to-scan converter, which provides instant conversions without any registration.

While it gets the job done, it does not provide many customization options. In fact, the user interface is not very well designed, and there is no file preview when converting your PDFs. However, if you still want to proceed with this method, you may follow the steps below:

Step 1: Open PDFCandle PDF to scan the converter on a browser and click the "Select the file or drop file here" button. It will show file upload progress, and when upload is complete, you can click this red button again to convert PDF to scanned.

make pdf look scanned PDFCandle

Step 2: Click the "Download" button to save scanned documents on your offline storage.

make pdf look scanned PDFCandle

Part 4. Make PDF Non-Editable on Windows and Mac

If the main goal of making a PDF look like a scanned document is to prevent others from editing it, then you can use UPDF. It works on both Mac and Windows operating systems.

The best thing about UPDF is that it offers 2 ways of making your PDF documents non-editable. We will explore both of those methods in this guide.

However, before you begin with any of these methods, it is essential to download UPDF on your Windows computers and Macs.

Windows • macOS • iOS • Android 100% secure

Way 1. Make PDF Non-Editable via OCR

The first option to make your PDFs non-editable with UPDF is by using the OCR feature. When performing OCR, you get 2 different options, and here you will use the "Image-Only PDF."

When you perform OCR with this option, the resultant file has no text or search features available. So, nobody can edit that document and here is how to do it:

Steps: Launch UPDF by clicking its desktop icon and click "Open File" to open a PDF document from your offline storage. Now click "Recognize text using OCR" > "Image-only PDF" > "Perform OCR." Now, you will follow the on-screen file saving steps, and the file saved by UPDF will be non-editable.

make pdf look scanned updf ocr

Way 2. Make PDF Non-Editable via Print

The next option to make your PDFs non-editable is by using the Print feature. When you are in printing options, you have the choice to print as an image, and when you do that, your file becomes non-editable. There is a greyscale print option available as well that you can use to get greyscale prints. Here is how the Print feature can make your PDF non-editable.

Steps: Open UPDF software on your PC and click "Open File" to open your PDF document. When your PDF opens in UPDF, you will get printing options by clicking "File" > "Print."

make pdf look scanned updf print

Step 2: In the printing options popup menu, you will have the checkbox option for "Print as image." you must check and make sure that you don't select any physical printer from the dropdown above.

If you want the non-editable PDF to have only black and white content, then you must select "Print in Greyscale" and click "Print." Now, you only need to save the file using on-screen steps, and you are done.

make pdf look scanned updf print

UPDF is a comprehensive PDF suite that comes with almost every feature that you will need while working on your PDF documents. Each of its features comes with unique benefits like the following:

  1. UPDF Cloud is used for automatically syncing all your PDFs between your devices and it provides dedicated PDF cloud storage.
  2. 2. PDF OCR feature helps convert scanned PDFs and images into editable PDF content. It works with 38 languages.
  3. UPDF AI is a ChatGPT integration in UPDF that brings you an artificial intelligence assistant for translating, explaining, summarizing your PDFs and more.
  4. 4. Annotate PDF feature helps you take notes with highlighter, comments, stamps, stickers, freehand sketching, and more.
  5. Edit PDF gives complete control over PDF images, text, and links. You can edit existing ones and add new ones.
  6. Convert PDF documents into commonly used document and image format and vice versa. This feature works for Word, PPT, HTML, Excel, TXT, and more.
  7. Protect PDF documents by adding passwords to prevent unauthorized access and editing.
  8. Fill and Sign your PDF forms, edit existing form elements and create new PDF forms from scratch.
  9. Organize PDF files by extracting, deleting, inserting, and replacing pages or by splitting or merging documents.
  10. Compress PDF files to reduce their size significantly without causing any impact on the quality of contents in PDF.

Every feature from UPDF uniquely benefits you, and you can learn more about its features by reading the How-To Geek UPDF review. In fact, the below video tutorial teaches more details about different UPDF features and their usage.

Final Words

You get multiple benefits when you make PDF look scanned. The primary benefits include making PDF contents non-editable and making your digital signatures look like you physically signed the PDF. No matter for which reasons you want your PDFs to appear like they are scanned, you can use one of the methods above.

These free online ways work on every device without any problems but one. You need to be careful about uploading your confidential and private documents online.

So, if you want a more secure and reliable offline option to make your PDFs non-editable, you may use UPDF. Download UPDF to make your PDFs non-editable using PDF Print or PDF OCR features on both Windows computers and Macs.

Windows • macOS • iOS • Android 100% secure

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