Sending a copy of a document, a record, a signature to an internet contact is a simple process today, but quality is important in many cases. Few people have a scanner at home, and the quality of a photo may not be enough.
Still, it is possible to scan documents directly from the cell phone, with enough quality; just follow a few simple steps and of course, use the right applications.
Why scan and not shoot?
For a simple reason: a photo is just an image, and for a document it is important to have OCR (optical character recognition) capabilities, a technology capable of recognizing the words of a text, through the camera. So, what you will get at the end is not a photo, but a text file.
By allowing the conversion of a text captured by the camera into a file, you can search for excerpts, edit (depending on the format and applications used), place watermarks, sign … anyway, much more options than a simple photo.
Through Optical Character Recognition (OCR), you can recognize printed, scanned, photographed, typed, and even handwritten texts, provided the author is not a physician. Unfortunately, it’s not all the apps that offer the tool, and some that do it usually charge for access.
How to scan documents by phone with quality
Some tips are basic to the document scanning process, which can be followed regardless of which app you are using:
1. Use a lighted place
Because we want a readable document, it is always advisable to capture in a place with enough light, to facilitate the work of the apps and to avoid that there are errors in the recognition of the text. To help with this part, try to keep the camera lens of your phone always clean and the document itself. The sharper the document, the easier the capture and the better the results.
2. Hold firm hand
While apps do a lot of good at recognizing text, it’s always good to keep a firm hand when scanning documents to prevent software from recognizing words in the wrong way. At this point, having a bench stand or a tripod helps a lot, so you do not run the risk of deflecting your hand or start shaking during the process.
3. Do not worry about the size of the document
Scanning apps have tools that allow you to select only the desired area, since what matters is not the document itself, but its content. So do not worry if the pages are too big or too small, damaged or yellowed.
The most important thing in the capture is the text, which will be converted into a readable file; it’s the one that needs to always be readable, with no erasures, no missing parts or smudges and grime, even though the OCR software is smart enough to use concordance and context if it is available.
4. Use filters that highlight text
For best results, some apps offer filters (like Instagram ) to apply various effects to the final document. Depending on the purpose, however, it is advisable to give preference to filters that enhance the text by adjusting the contrast and brightness to make the content as readable as possible.
By following these tips, your document will be well readable and presentable, even for the most demanding users.
The best apps to scan documents
Here’s a list of the top four apps for scanning documents on your phone, all with no payment or sign-up features:
The Evernote ( iOS, Android ) can deliver good results, even without OCR. It has sufficiently balanced adjustments for a good end result. It does not allow area selection, but it does auto page bracketing and does not offer filters, but the results are quite satisfactory.
Because it is a free solution (not dependent on the subscription plan) reasonably well-stocked, scanning Evernote can be a very simple and affordable option when scanning by mobile.
2. Adobe Scan
The Adobe Scan ( iOS, Android ) allows you to create editable PDF files, can frame the pages automatically and allows you to select only the text you want to scan. It has OCR, but only in read mode for free users; to edit, you need to sign Acrobat DC.
Overall, it allows the user to use color filters to leave the page looking like, and usually delivers good quality files, but it is a slightly more limited application for those who do not want to pay.
The CamScanner ( iOS, Android ) is one of the most complete because it allows scanning documents and even business cards. It recognizes batch pages, something very useful for digitizing books, and allows you to select only the text that matters. In addition, it has enhancement filters and has OCR, only in read mode in the free mode.
Still about CamScanner’s free mode, all created PDF documents contain watermarks, and to release the extra functions, such as saving in text format, the app requires a monthly subscription; in the end, it is very similar to Adobe Scan.
4. Genius Scan
The Genius Scan ( iOS , Android ) allows scanning without major restrictions, but as Evernote, the app does not have OCR. Still, it offers image enhancement filters and the resulting PDF is often of good quality.
With it, you can automatically select the page area and different from the others, you can scan a page and apply a digital signature. In the subscription version, you can print the files and export them to the cloud, which is a very interesting option.