Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Scanning apps for your smartphone

No need for scanners any more. Your smartphone can scan documents, books and just about anything you need

Want to scan a few documents or photos while away from home and office? If your smartphone has a good camera, with the right scanning app you can scan anything from a simple bill to an entire book.

Tiny Scanner

Price: 319

Download from: Google Play store, Apple App store

Simple and compact, Tiny Scanner can scan documents in colour and has a more customisable interface–you can create new folders or change the view of the interface. Besides scanning documents into greyscale and original colour, it can scan in monochrome with five different contrast levels. The interesting bit is that you can protect your documents with a passcode and in case you want to put them straightaway on to a cloud storage, the app has integration with Dropbox, Microsoft’s One Drive, Evernote and Google’s Drive. Tiny Scanner is fast, works well from odd angles and shows the scan history within the app.

Microsoft Office Lens

Price: Free

Download from: Google Play store, Apple App store, Windows app store

Developed by Microsoft, Office Lens allows users to change the camera resolution from the app interface, which can directly impact the resolution quality and the size of the document. It offers most of the features one expects from a scanner app without charging a dime. You can frame a shot from any angle and can adjust the angle later. This is a useful feature especially when you want to scan a poster placed on a circular pillar or a billboard that is higher on the wall. The scan quality is really good. However, it is a bit slow and is not very effective when it comes to scanning crumpled documents, or those with folds. Though it doesn’t have as many filters or contrast options as the Tiny Scanner app, it is still a solid option for scanning documents, whiteboards and photos. Also, you have to configure your One Drive account on it, as that is the only cloud service it works with. Unlike free scanner apps, it doesn’t leave a watermark on the scans.

Google Drive

Price: Free

Download from: Google Play Store

If your scanning needs are limited to mostly documents that you need to share, the Google Drive app is perhaps the most handy mobile scanner. The fact that Drive comes preloaded on most Android phones nowdays makes it even more accessible. However it’s good for scanning documents only as the number of filters and option to edit a scan are pretty limited here. It struggles a bit with text in small font sizes and takes longer than usual to get the focus right (but that also depends on the phone’s camera). It can combine two separate scans together too. The scanner feature is currently available in the Drive app on Android, while the iOS version currently doesn’t have it.

Scan It-Book scanner

Price: Free

Download from: Google Play Store

Scan It is not meant for the usual scanning. It is specifically a book scanning app for saving books into PDF. Its quite useful for converting old books into ebooks. The two page format lets you scan two pages at a time, thus speeding up the process. It comes with a set of filters in case you want to enhance the scanned pages to make them look better. The fact that you can save them directly to the One drive, Google Drive or Drop Box makes it convenient too. When it comes to editing, the app is pretty basic and barring the filters, you can’t do much with the scans, such as change the resolution etc. Scanning a thick book can be difficult as it never actually opens up properly and one could see the slight bulge in the scanned file also.

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