Mobile devices are great for scanning document and pictures. Many mobile applications now offer the ability to able to capture and save a JPEG version of a photograph or a PDF version of a document. Doing this can save you the hassle and expense of printing the document. Here are some of the best apps available for scanning:
Scanner Pro (iOS and Android app)
This is one of the few apps on my iPhone for which I have actually paid, and it is outstanding. This app allows the user to scan anything (documents, photos, handwritten notes) and does an excellent job of recognizing the boundaries of the paper and creating a really clean looking document. The app also has a optical character recognition feature that can help convert a document to editable text. The app can be setup to automatically save documents to a variety of cloud-based services, including Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, OneNote, and Evernote. You can also store scans on your device and then send them via email to others.
Microsoft Office Lens|PDF Scan (iOS and Android app)
Microsoft’s scanning app can be set to capture a document, a whiteboard, a business card, or a photo. It can then convert these captures to their appropriate formats, such as a PDF, picture, or even a contact entry. It is not as good as Scanner Pro at automatically finding the edges or the media and capturing a clean image, but it has several great features that make it superb.
Office Lens gives you tools to use once a scan is captured, including the ability to crop and rotate, the ability to add text, and the ability to draw directly on the scanned image. Like Scanner Pro, you can also save to a wide variety of locations, like directly to your Photo Library, to OneNote, and to OneDrive. You can also share with others via the Outlook or Mail app. One huge advantage of using Office Lens is its ability to open a scanned document with the Immersive Reader tool. This tool actually scans to recognize the text in the document and can then read it back to you. You can also use this tool to enlarge the text and to apply color overlays. These features can help those with vision issues or dyslexia.
Google Drive (iOS and Android app)
The Google Drive mobile app gives you the ability to photograph items and then store these pictures to Drive. The Drive app does not have special features for recognizing the boundaries of a document, so the quality of the “scans” will not be as good as those made by the other apps. If all you want is a quick way to photograph (or video) something and then store immediately to Drive, this app is for you.
Google Photo Scan (iOS and Android)
This past May when my son was a high school senior, I needed to scan a collection of older print photos of him that we had taken through the years in order to create a slideshow. Photo Scan was the app I used for this, and it worked very well. The app is specifically designed for scanning prints, and it has a special mechanism for eliminating the glare that occurs when overhead lighting bounces off the glossy paper of the photo.
Notes (iOS app)
Notes is an app that is found by default on all iPhones and iPads. Users normally use the app to create text notes, but it also has the ability to scan and capture documents, which it places within the note on which you are working. It does a good job of recognizing the corners and edges of a scanned document. You can crop and rotate the scan as well as apply filters like color, grayscale, and black and white. You can also create a PDF of the document, mark it up with various pens and ink colors, and share via email, Drive, and several other services.