There are few things worse than trying to run back and forth to the photocopier when doing your expenses or to be asked to urgently sign a contract when you’re on the move. If you have an iPhone, the answer could be Scanner Pro 7, which calls itself a “scanner in your pocket”.
This app is ideal if you need to do your expenses quickly. It can scan a pile of receipts, clean up the scans with photo-editing tools and then save them into a single- or multi-page PDF and email it straight off to your accounts department.
You can also scan paper documents, mark them up with highlights and handwriting, insert text and even sign them. Plus you can purchase the developer’s PDF Expert within its productivity pack bundle (which also includes Printer Pro, to print straight to a Wi-Fi printer), for US$12.99.
Another great use is to scan books or magazine articles — Scanner Pro will remove the “split” down the middle caused by the central binding of the page leaves, and you can then turn on the OCR text (or optical character) recognition to convert the image to text.
However, I found the text scan worked poorly. A sentence from an interview in a woman’s magazine – “I was never told, ‘You can’t do this because you’re a woman.'” – was converted to: “I was morbid. You can’t do this because you’re a woman.”
The “show image as text” option also creates a ghosting, shadow effect on the text within a scanned image.
It’s not always easy to take a good photo in the app and to ensure that it frames the picture you want (especially with unusually sized books and magazines), and the flash can cast shadows; a built-in distortion corrector will do a fair job of straightening your snap out.
Scans are saved as PDFs or JPEGs and can be uploaded to Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, iCloud or OneDrive storage. You can password-protect PDFs too.
The app costs $3.99 on iPhone – there’s no Android version, unfortunately.
q&a app makes you go green
Suzanne Locke expands on the uses of Scanner Pro:
Can I avoid buying a scanner altogether then?
There are free alternatives – Google Drive’s apps for Android allows you to scan documents and even do text conversions using OCR. Genius Scan works on both Android and iPhone, as do the popular CamScanner and Microsoft Office Lens (which also works on Windows, of course). Evernote’s Scannable is also free on the iPhone. But Scanner Pro is worth its cost for its additional features.
Why should I bother scanning instead of just using the photocopier?
Apart from ease, saving soft copies instead of hard ones is a great way to go green. The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year – 4 million tonnes of paper, according to the US Clean Air Council and Environmental Protection Agency.
Does Scanner Pro do anything else?
It has a very handy function that’s not overly advertised called Radar, which automatically trawls your entire iPhone photo library for photos of documents, receipts and felt-scribbled whiteboards.
Does the developer have any other apps?
Readdle, which produces Scanner Pro, also has a Calendars app, available on its own or in different bundles, which allows weekly calendar views and a much nicer view of your diary than the native iPhone calendar.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter