How to email scanned documents on Mac

To email a physical document on your Apple Mac, you first need to scan it using your printer or scanner.

Then, you can edit it using one of your Mac’s native apps or a third-party document solution. 

For example, PandaDoc lets you upload documents — including scans — and add form fields, track changes, and more.

You can then email it from PandaDoc or use your Mac’s Mail app.

Figuring out how to email scanned documents on Mac OS X (and later) can be approached in several ways. These include:

How do I scan and email documents on Mac?

To scan documents on Mac, you need a printer, a scanner, or an iPhone.

Firstly, let’s look at how to  scan your document with a printer:

  1. Put the document into the printer.
  2. Go to the Apple menu > System Settings and click Printers & Scanners.
  3. Find your printer and click on it. Then, click Open Scanner.
  4. If your printer has a document feeder, select Use Document Feeder. If your printer has a flatbed scanner, skip this step. 
  5. For more scanning options, click Show Details. Options include resolution, color, size, file destination (such as iCloud or the Google Drive app), and file type (such as JPEG or PDF).
  6. Click Scan.

The scanned files are saved in the destination you chose. You can then edit them, add a digital signature, and more.

For example, by using a document workflow solution like PandaDoc, you can easily add digital signatures to PDF documents, including scanned documents.

Just upload your scan to the app.

Once you’ve done your modifications, you can email your document by doing the following:

  1. Open your email account.
  2. Click New Message. This will bring up the window to compose a new email message.
  3. Click the paper clip icon (for adding email attachments).
  4. Find your scanned file, click on it, and press Enter.
  5. Write your message, then add the recipient’s email address.
  6. Click Send.

Using a printer’s scan-to-email feature

A more straightforward option is to use your printer’s scan-to-email feature.

The process may vary, but these are the general steps:

  1. Put your document on the scanning bed or into the document feeder.
  2. Choose Scan to Email in the menu and press Scan.
  3. Enter the recipient’s email address.
  4. Click Send to send the file. You should then receive a confirmation message.

The downside of this method is your recipient won’t be able to reply directly to your message.

Using the Image Capture app

You can also scan documents using the Image Capture app by following these steps:

  1. Put the document in the printer.
  2. Open Image Capture and choose your printer from the left-hand pane.
  3. Choose a destination for the scanned document in the Pictures drop-down menu.
  4. Select a size for the enclosing box, or drag the corners to fit the page. You can draw several boxes to scan different parts of the document.
  5. For more scanning options, click Show Details.
  6. Click Scan.
  7. You can then attach the scanned images to an email.

Using the Preview app

The Preview app is another option for scanning a document with your printer:

  1. Put your document in the printer.
  2. Open the Preview app.
  3. Click on File > Import From Scanner and select your printer. You should see the Import dialog.
  4. Choose your scanning options (you may need to click Show Details first).
  5. Click Scan.
  6. Once you’ve scanned all the pages, your scanned items will open in a single window. You can then attach them to an email.

Using an iPhone as a scanner

If you don’t have a printer or scanner, you can use your iPhone’s built-in document scanner.

You can either:

  • Use your iPhone’s Notes app to create a new note and then scan the document using the Scan Documents feature.
  • Use your Mac’s Continuity Camera feature to use your iPhone instead of a printer.

To use Continuity Camera, you must have iOS 12.0 or later and macOS Mojave or later.

Your devices must also have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on.

If you meet these requirements, you can scan with your iPhone by following these steps:

  1. Move your cursor to where you want to insert the scan (for example, in a document, note, or email).
  2. Click File > Insert From iPhone or iPad and select Scan Documents. You can also control-click a folder in the Finder window to access Scan Documents.
  3. The Scan app on your iPhone will open automatically. Hold your iPhone over the document. You should see a semi-transparent box over the image. Once the entire document is in view, your iPhone will scan it.
  4. Tap Save. Your scan should appear as a PDF file on your Mac.
  5. You can then edit your scan. For instance, you could crop or rotate the scan or add form fields or an electronic signature with a solution like PandaDoc.
  6. Attach your document to an email.

Why does Apple Mail embed my attachments?

The Mail app’s default setting is to display Apple Mail attachments within the email message as “inline attachments”.

Inline attachments are useful for one or two images.

But for emails with lots of images, you may want to turn off inline attachments.

You can turn off inline attachments using the Terminal app by following these steps:

  1. Close the Mail app.
  2. Go to Applications > Utilities and open the Terminal app.
  3. Enter this command: defaults write DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool yes.
  4. Open the Mail app. Your email messages should now display attachments as icons.
  5. To turn inline attachments back on, open the Terminal app and enter this command: defaults write DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool no.

Easily send scanned documents from your Mac

Using your printer and apps, there are many ways you can learn how to email scanned documents on Mac.

Before you email your scan, though, you may want to consider editing it with a specialized document solution.

For example, with PandaDoc for Mac, you can upload your scanned documents and add form fields such as text, dates, signatures, and initials.

You can assign recipients and email your document or send it via a link. Plus, you can track your document’s status, send reminders for signatures, and more. 

Sign up for a free trial and see how PandaDoc could streamline your document workflow.