Lawyers: Don’t Waste Time and Money Printing PDFs to Paper and Then Scanning Them Back to PDF

What do you call a lawyer that prints a perfectly good PDF to paper and then scans it back to a PDF so that there is no hidden information in the PDF and the text in the PDF can’t be selected?


Not a very funny joke I’ll admit, but as the first words out of my mouth were “are you joking” when I heard about the consultant who advises lawyers to do exactly the above, I thought it was fitting.

It’s certainly true that taking a PDF and printing it to paper and then scanning it back to PDF is going to accomplish two key things:

  • destroy any hidden text and metadata
  • make the PDF hard to use (it will need to be OCR’d before any text can be searched for or selected)

Why would a lawyer want to do this? Well, as one example, during the discovery phase of a lawsuit it might be necessary to send the opposing party certain documents. You don’t want to accidentally reveal any sensitive information that is somehow hidden in the document, so it’s necessary to take some precautions. Another reason might be that you don’t want to make life easy for the opposing party, so you want to send them a PDF that needs to be OCR’d (which will create a lower quality PDF).

Of course this doesn’t just apply to lawyers, there are many people who will want to make 100% sure that there is no hidden information in a PDF before they send it to someone else.

That’s why we added a special action in Debenu PDF Maximus called ”PDF to Image-based PDF“. Technically the steps required to print a PDF to paper and display a PDF on a computer screen are the same. In both scenarios the PDF is rendered to an image format and then sent to the printer or displayed on the screen.

So why not just take the rendered image and skip the printing to paper bit? The end result is the same — you have a new PDF that is an image-based PDF, that is it doesn’t have any text objects or hidden text/metadata — but you don’t waste time, money and paper printing the PDF and then scanning it back to PDF.

Luckily Debenu PDF Maximus is here to save you time and money, use it to process a single file or thousand of files, in a batch process or through an automated workflow with watched folders.

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