Brother printer weirdness

Brand new MFC-L2750DW printer. Works pretty well (although Brother’s Mac integration is mediocre at best)—except for scanning.

Scanning works well for JPEG, TIFF, PNG, etc. formats—but not for PDF. Scanning to PDF format works if COLOR is selected. But if it’s Black&White or Text, the result (regardless of resolution selected) is garbage. Like this (attached as JPEG, because this board won’t take a PDF upload). Brother tech support is MIA, and its web pages on this matter all point to since-deprecated ControlCenter software, which doesn’t work with modern Macs.

I’ve uploaded the latest driver, installed all the latest software. (Running OS v. 10.14.6.) Any ideas?

My guess is that the PDF converter needs more than 1-bit per pixel. Is there a grayscale option? Try that.

Don’t see one, sadly. Brother’s stunted software seems to have done away with it.

I tested this on my Brother DCP-1510. Firmware and driver updated to the latest last week. MacOS Mojave.
Try this in Image Capture 8.0:
Kind: Text (their expression for 1-bit black and white)
Image correction: manual
Threshold: adjust until the preview is legible

With this settings „Text“ and also „Black&White“ scans are very good, also in PDF.
I am always sursprised with the good scan quality of this cheap multifunction machine.

The only thing I can think of that you haven’t already tried would be the printer’s firmware. Most Brother devices (and I assume yours as well) have a web interface for management. Log on to it (you may need an administrator password - if you don’t have/know it, there is a procedure to reset the printer to factory defaults, which will reset the password as well). From there, you can check for, download and install firmware updates.

What scanner software are you using? According to Brother’s download page, the “iPrint & Scan” software is supplied via the App Store. It says it was last updated (to version 8.1.0) three weeks ago.

You might also want to try using third-party scanner software. It’s been my experience that Brother’s scanner software isn’t very good even when it works (and the 2-star rating on the App Store indicates that other people agree with me).

VueScan says it has support so you may want to download an evaluation copy and pay for a license if you like it.

I was going ask Charlie if he was using Image Capture software. It is an under-rated utility that has come with Mac OS for more than a decade. I have generally had problems with printer manufacturer software for scanning to a Mac but Image Capture has worked every time. I like the feature where, when scanning to a PDF file, you can add the scan to the previous one.
It is also good for importing photos - more versatile than the Photos app.


Thank you all for your help. Brother’s eventual response indicates this is a known (but clearly not publicly well documented) conflict for that version of the MacOS software—and is a problem with either the Printer control panel or Image Capture.

We’re aware of an issue affecting Macintosh 10.14 users scanning with Image Capture or AirPrint, in which, the scanned images have horizontal lines.

This issue is caused by the way the Operating System processes the image after is has been scanned. We recommend using one of the following techniques to resolve this issue:

- Change your scan file settings to .jpg.

- Change your scan type settings to Color.

- Use an alternative method for scanning such as Brother iPrint&Scan or ControlCenter2. The available scanning applications will vary based on your model.

Ah. You hadn’t said that you were scanning via Image Capture.

I would definitely try using another software package. Either iPrint&Scan or VueScan.

Or, as another option, scan to JPG, PNG or TIFF files and then combine them into PDF using a different tool (e.g. Manual Labor)

Sorry if I wasn’t clear. No, I wasn’t scanning with Image Capture. I was using the Scan function from within the MacOS’s native printer control panel. But, as I noted, Brother says Image Capture has the same problem.

iPrint&Scan doesn’t solve the problem because it allows the PDF to be named only after a doc’s been scanned, and that doesn’t fit with our workflow.

VueScan is tempting—thanks, hadn’t heard of it—but the notion of paying $90 (necessary to use VueScan with a document feeder) is tough to swallow when Brother should just fix its software to work out of the box—for free—with all 20th Century versions of Mac software.

I’m pretty certain that the two are using the identical system API (the Image Capture API) under the covers.

That makes sense!

Just to close the loop:

Brother offered no solution other than to use its own scanning software (unacceptable, because it’s crippled and it doesn’t allow documents to be named before scanning, which is important for our purposes) or to update to a newer MacOS (a problem because we use a version of Microsoft Word incompatible with newer Mac system versions).

Instead, we bought VueScan software (which works the way Brother’s should, but doesn’t) for $89.95.

Thanks to David @Shamino for the tip!

And boo to Brother for selling a printer with crippled support.


fwiw I use an old brother mf2700- use PDF penPro for scanning- for several years- 300 dpi B&W works well. PdfpenPro also does OCR

Thank you again. Interestingly, our old Brother 7460DN works fine, no problems (except for a persistent printing paper jam I’ve been unable to resolve, which is why we bought the troublesome new one).

Postscript: I nagged Brother into compensating us for having to buy separate scanning software … by giving us a free TN-760 toner cartridge.