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Turn your iDevice into a PDF Scanner!

by Hanno Strydom Strydom.Hanno@MacPhail.org

In my quest to ditch paper in as many areas of my life as possible, I've become a daily (sometimes hourly!) user of TurboScan, an app that (for $1.99) has turned my iPhone into an excellent scanner. The app uses the iPhone's onboard camera to capture the image, and turns it into a remarkably clear PDF. Here's how it works... 

  Center the image to be scanned and click the camera icon. (The icon in the lower right turns the camera flash on/off.)
  TurboScan is very smart at recognizing the intended frame. If the frame needs to be adjusted, simply drag the borders at any of the indicated points.
  This window provides an image preview, and offers several options: return to the frame adjustment window, discard the image, rotate the image, or edit the image brightness. The icon in the lower right allows one to select how the image is saved: as a photo, black and white PDF, or color PDF.
  Again, this window offers several options: return to the preview screen, close (and save) the file, edit the document properties (add title, select page size, etc), add another page to your document, or click the icon in the lower left to see the options below...
  As you can see, there are quite a number of options. I typically select "Email as PDF"...

...enter my Evernote email address, and mail the document directly into the relevant notebook in Evernote. With the tag "@Repertoire" following the document title, this example would land in my "Repertoire" notebook in Evernote.

Simple! Using TurboScan I've essentially eliminated the need to carry stacks of music and other paper materials with me when I teach; it's all in Evernote! I also use it to save receipts, and—in conjunction with Evernote and Google Drive—I've transferred my entire work and household filing system to the cloud.

Note: TurboScan and other scanner apps work on both iPhone and iPad. However, the camera on the iPad 2 is not good enough for scanning music. Here are examples of a PDF scanned with my iPhone 4S and with the iPad 2.

Go Back

The iPad 2 doesn't have a good enough camera to take a clear enough picture (See Hanno's note at the end of his post with examples.) My iPhone5 works like a charm though. I used the phone to take a picture of the music and then opened it up in ForScore on my iPad.

Can an IPad do this?