Scan anything into a PDF using your mobile device.

Adobe Scan app, scan documents to PDF.

Scan to PDF, convert JPEG or TIFF to PDF.

Why one should say phrases like scan into PDF and scan to PDF instead of the scan anything and make it into a PDF. Is it the correct phrase?

Are phrases like these are common in English? What are these called as?

  • 2
    Why? Because life's to short to stuff mushrooms - or say scan and make [it] into [a] PDF when to PDF expresses the same thing perfectly well. And doesn't require major syntactic overhaul if you don't care about format details and just want to scan it [in]to your smartphone. Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 17:59
  • @FumbleFingers I agree that stuffed mushrooms are tasty, but I wouldn't want to have to do the stuffing. :)
    – Andrew
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 19:48

2 Answers 2


Time was, some decades ago, people would say "Do an Internet search for ..." Then everyone started using Google and to google something became a common expression that means the exact same thing.

In the same way "scan to PDF" would have been meaningless before scanners became common and PDF became the standard format for distributed documents. Originally you might have had to explain it in detail, but now everyone should know what it means, much like other modern expressions like put it in your phone, tweet it, and friend someone.


At one time (and on the scale of my life it wasn't very long ago) a direction like "Scan it and make it into a .pdf" would have made sense, because that really was what people did: first, they launched one piece of software from their desktop computer which saved the output off to some default image format; and after that they launched a different piece of software to embed the image in a .pdf.

Today, however, we no longer do it that way. Typically we don't launch any software at all from an external system: the scanner itself (or the smartphone, or whatever) is equipped with the software, and all the user does is plug in a thumb drive and touch a button that instructs the scanner to write its output to a .pdf on the drive. For the user it's not two actions but one: "scan the document into a .pdf".

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