Back in the old days, like before late 2009, if you wanted to scan a document and save or send it as a PDF, you had to take it to a big, boxy scanner (sometimes incorporated into a printer/copier). Then smartphones appeared, with built-in cameras that produced higher quality images than many point-and-shoot digital cameras. That’s when several geniuses all had the same idea that went something like, “Why don’t we create scanner apps so we never have to use big, boxy scanners again!” And the rest was history.
Here’s a roundup of some favorite document scanner apps (or scanning apps) suggested by SmallBusiness.com users.
One of the earliest (Dec. 2009) and best reviewed (2,931/five stars) scanner apps, TurboScan has been the #1 business app in the U.S. for the past two years. Boasting speedy algorithms for document edge detection and straightening, TurboScan also offers SureScan, which allows for sharper scans, even in low-light conditions. It also allows users to upload your .PDF or .JPEG to any number of online storage sites like Evernote, Dropbox and Google Drive. ($2.99, Available on iOS, Android)
Scanner Pro has a similar feature-set to TurboScan, even allowing files to be synced between all devices. Its developer, Readdle, has several other popular productivity apps. (Dec. 2010, 4.5 star rating, $6.99, iOS)
CamScanner touts itself as the world’s #1 mobile document scanning and sharing app—”installed on over 60 million devices.” While it performs the same functions as TurboScan and Scanner Pro, it also features optical character recognition (OCR), which extracts text from images and allows them to be searched, edited and shared more easily. There are two versions of this app—a free and a monthly subscription version ($4.99/month or $49.99/year). The free version is ad-supported and adds a watermark to all scanned documents. (Tip: If you have a premium version of Evernote, the OCR feature of that software makes CamScanner’s OCR feature redundant, iOS | Android)
Like CamScanner, Genius Scan comes in two versions: a free and paid version ($6.99). The difference is, there’s no watermark included on scanned documents in the free version but you can’t print using AirPrint, export to the cloud or include customizable email signatures. There are also ads. We scanned both color and black & white documents perfectly while using the free version of Genius Scan. For its price (free), it’s a great buy. (iOS | Android)
A relative newcomer to the scanner app game (released Aug. 2014), Easy Scan is a free app that allows you to do what some of the others don’t. It allows you to use AirPrint and possibly upload to cloud services. It lacks OCR, but doesn’t include a watermark on scanned documents. (iOS)
Okay, there are reasons to keep big boxy scanners
As we work in an open office with several print graphic designers, we understand there are certain needs that require professional-grade scanners the size of washing machines. Something to do with pixels, we’re told. We’ll stick with our apps.
(Feature illustration: SmallBusiness.com)
Any suggestions for your favorite scanner app? Tell us why in the comments below