From top features to the best apps, everything you need to know to find the right mobile scanning solution for you
The modern definition of a workplace is a lot broader than it was just a few years ago. Armed with the right tech, most professionals can do their jobs just about anywhere. Even complex tasks like document scanning, traditionally only possible using large office equipment, can now be performed on the go with your mobile device — provided you use the right software.
If you’re looking to add a document scanner app to your professional toolkit, stick around. From top features to the best apps, this article gives you what you need to find the perfect mobile scanning solution. In addition, we will suggest a desktop scanning solution to capture larger volumes of paper.
Top features to look for in a document scanner app
While you might think document scanner apps have a limited feature-set, the truth is the best mobile solutions are incredibly powerful pieces of software. From intelligent document detection to file organization, here are the features the best scanner apps provide.
- Intelligent document detection: Instead of relying on a user’s steady hand, top-of-the-line document scanner apps use technology to detect the borders of a given document during the scanning process to ensure only the document is captured.
- Optical Character Recognition (OCR) support: You should look for an app that can convert your document to searchable PDFs in your specific languages, making search and retrieval easy.
- Perspective optimization: As anyone who has attempted to take a straight-on picture of a document knows, snapping a shot at the right angle is extremely difficult. The best apps can correct suboptimal capture angles and automatically square the document to the frame.
- Image quality optimization: Photos of documents taken by hand rarely turn out well: odd lighting, awkward shadows, and other image issues are practically inevitable. To compensate for these errors, document scanner apps can automatically edit and enhance the file so that the initial scan produces a pristine image.
- Scanning flexibility: A vital feature of the best document scanner apps is flexibility when it comes to inputs, so make sure your app can handle everything from a whiteboard to a business card.
- Broad file format support: TXT, PDF, and DOCX file support can be important depending on your output needs, but you don’t have to settle for just the basics. Some apps support well over ten different file formats.
- High-speed processing: The best apps on the market take only a few seconds to transform a photo of a document into a usable scanned image. If your app spins its wheels for a minute or more during processing, you should consider looking for another solution.
- Cloud compatibility: Once the scanning process is complete, you’ll likely want to upload your image to the cloud. The best scanner apps are compatible with major cloud storage solutions like Google Drive and OneDrive as well as smaller solutions like FTP and SugarSync.
- Annotation support: While not essential, annotation support is provided by some leading document scanner apps. This feature allows you to insert comments and even signatures into scanned images, which can help you get a jump on any analytical or administrative work you need to do.
- File organization: The best scanner apps auto-suggest file names and support tag-based search to ensure the scan you want is always easy to find.
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The 3 best document scanner apps (in our opinion)
Genius Scan is stacked with features. The app’s smart page detection ensures that you can easily line up a document under the camera; perspective correction rectifies any alignment issues; and image enhancement optimizes the image before you even consider editing it. Once you’ve scanned a document, Genius Scan suggests names related to the document, provides file tagging support, and allows you to upload the files to most cloud storage providers. The app also has stellar data security, including encryption. Overall, this app is probably one of the most robust options available.
SwiftScan is another formidable mobile scanning app. The app is built for almost any document, enabling users to easily scan sketchbooks, whiteboards, receipts, QR codes, barcodes, and more. Like Genius Scan, the app automatically crops, straightens, and enhances the image after capture, delivering crisp high resolution scans that meet most quality standards. It also offers similar smart naming features and cloud storage platform compatibility. What really sets SwiftScan apart is the top-of-the-line OCR technology it leverages. The app can recognize text in numerous languages and extract it with high precision.
Although Adobe Scan isn’t the most powerful mobile scanning solution, it might just be the easiest to use. This straightforward app makes scanning everything from intake forms to business cards simple and fast. And it produces perhaps the cleanest images of any app on this list.
After scanning, you can make any aesthetic adjustments you want to the file — color, crop, etc. — in Adobe Scan’s editing window. If the image is a form, Adobe Scan allows you to fill it out within the app. It also handles the uploading step for you, as the app automatically saves every scanned image to Adobe’s cloud storage service.
Did You Know? PCMagazine described the ScanSnap iX1600 as “...easy to use, fast, accurate, well built, and quiet.” Click here to read the full review and learn why it earned an “excellent” 4.5 out of 5 rating.
Need a more powerful scanning solution?
While a mobile scanning app can be useful in a pinch, nothing can replace a desktop scanner when it comes to scanning lots of paper. Mobile apps are great for single sheets but desktop scanners are the best choice for going paperless. We pride ourselves on having spent the last 50+ years designing and developing some of the most beloved electronics in the world, including our line of award-winning, easy-to-use, one-touch ScanSnap scanners.
For those looking for an all-around scanner, the ScanSnap iX1600 is the right solution for almost any job. The flagship of our award-winning ScanSnap scanner line, the iX1600 couples speed (40 pages per minute) and capacity (50-sheet automatic document feeder) with a user-friendly touchscreen interface and processing software. Interested? Click here to learn more and shop the full line of ScanSnap scanners.