Document scanners have played an essential role in small businesses for years. But now that we're living and working in a mobile-first era, a desktop scanner isn’t enough. When you and your employees hit the road, you need mobile scanning capability in your small business toolkit.
[Don’t miss the: Small Business Guide to Document Scanners]
Fortunately, as the saying goes, there's an app for that. Actually, you'll find plenty of full-featured mobile scanning apps that can turn smartphones and tablets into document scanners. Mobile scanning apps let you capture and convert receipts, whiteboard notes, and just about everything else into a PDF or other file format—all at the touch of a button.
We gathered five of the best mobile scanning apps to help you keep your business moving—even when you're not at your desk.
Created by INTSIG and available for both iOS and Android devices, the CamScanner mobile scanning app features smart cropping technology that makes page edges easily detectable and cleans up the final document. It also automatically enhances scans to make every word and image as clear as possible.
The scanning app lets you save your scans as either PDF or JPEG files. You then have the option to share your scans via email, through social media, or by sending people a link to the scanned file. The app supports protecting confidential scans with a passcode, or you can choose to set a password for any links that you share.
If you own multiple devices, you can take advantage of CamScanner’s cross-platform sync feature. Log in to any device with the CamScanner software, and you can access all of your scans, no matter where you created them; a great feature for flexible editing and sharing.
- App Store download: CamScanner for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
- Google Play download: CamScanner for Android
Genius Scan from The Grizzly Labs uses image enhancement and smart page detection to help it capture the very best scan possible. Not only does the mobile scanning app recognize page edges, it corrects the alignment if your scan is slightly crooked. It can also improve the lighting if your scan appears either dim or overexposed. You don’t need to make any post-processing image changes immediately, which is helpful if you’re in a hurry. Instead, you can go back and handle the touch-ups in Genius Scan later.
The mobile scanning app's batch feature lets you scan multiple pages quickly. You can save new scans in JPEG or PDF file formats, and you can even create multi-page PDFs if you need to store lots of scans in a single document. Tag files for quick retrieval later, or use Genius Scan’s efficient search feature to find the scan you want.
Created by Scanner App, iScanner uses automatic border detection to keep scanned image clean, even when the original item—a torn piece of paper or an oddly-sized receipt—is less than tidy. The iOS-only mobile scanning app’s image enhancement features include noise removal and color correction to help create quality documents every time. Once you complete a scan, you can edit the file further by copying, cutting, and pasting pages as needed.
IScanner's file management structure lets you select folders for each scan, and it also provides easy drag-and-drop functionality. You can view and sort completed scans by collection, date, and file name. And you can share scans through a multitude of popular platforms, including Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive—or you can send files to collaborators directly using email. Password protection lets you boost security by limiting access to confidential scans.
- App Store down load: iScanner for iPhone and iPad
PDF Scanner, an Android-only mobile scanning app from Grymala, relies on advanced image processing to correct tilted pages, ragged edges, and aspect ratio errors. The built-in OCR feature lets you extract text from images, which makes searching for and identifying important data in scans a cinch. You can then take that text and insert it into any application on your phone.
Beyond creating new PDFs, you can also use the PDF Scanner to annotate documents—including highlighting and erasing text. The mobile scanning app even supports extracting and converting existing PDF pages to JPEG images.
You can save completed scans to any folder on your Android device or its SD card. You can also upload PDF Scanner files to cloud platforms—such as Google Docs and Dropbox—distribute them through social media channels, share via Skype, or send as emails.
- Google Play download: PDF Scanner for Android
While Appxy's Tiny Scanner detects page edges automatically, it goes one step further. It lets you decide whether to scan items in color, black and white, or grayscale. Need to tweak your PDF page size? Tiny Scanner’s options include legal and A4 in addition to standard letter. You can sort scans by title or date, and you can view them either as thumbnails or as a list. If you don’t want to scroll through your list of scans, you can also search for specific files by title.
Save your scans into folders, send by email or fax, or share them through cloud services such as Evernote, Google Drive, or Dropbox, to name just a few. Security minded? You can prevent unauthorized access by protecting your Tiny Scanner files with a passcode.
[More mobile scanning: HP Brings SMB Scanning into the Cloud and Mobile Era]
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from food service to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
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