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Old 07-03-2014, 10:51 AM   #1
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Document Scanner Alternatives -

I have a very old document scanner, that still works fine for my occasional needs (no longer supported on Mac or Windows, but works fine under Linux/Xubuntu). I occasionally look at new ones, thinking about the day I will need to replace it, but then...

I realize my kids don't own scanners, and my DD recently needed to scan some docs related to her summer job. She was home, so we used mine, but I started thinking about alternatives, so she could scan if she was away from home.

She has an iPad and a laptop with a webcam, so I figured in a pinch the camera would work for this, and then I started looking at specific scanner apps. I didn't do an exhaustive search, but when I came across this one (CamscannerHD), it worked well enough that I stopped looking:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cams...558157442?mt=8

And on Android as well (though I have not tried this one, but I assume it is equivalent):

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...cannerhd&hl=en


I found the app to be really great. You go from 'capture' (click the camera), to a very user-friendly crop option (that uses some 'smarts' to make a good first guess at the document edges, but easy to over-ride), to an 'Enhance' (worked perfectly for my tests, adjust contrast and brightness better than I could with manual tweaking), and then you can easily email it (as either jpg or pdf), or save to an 'album' (which I could print from the iPad as I set up the 'Cortado Workplace App' printing app).

Best of all, you can 'sign' or markup a scanned document very easily, just write on it with your finger-tip, using one of the pen tools, all very easy. The app is free, for a monthly charge it unlocks some other features (you can do an OCR in the free version, but view only, you can't copy or email it - a 'teaser' for the paid version I guess).

Maybe others have found better apps? But this one is worth checking out IMO.

If you do occasional scanning, I think this is all you need. It won't replace one of those fancy sheet feeder types that does all sorts of automatic things, but it really is very useful. I plan to get all our photos scanned with my stand-alone scanner (even lighting, great rez), then probably retire it.

Also, a few other similar apps that may be of interest -

Use your iPad as a magnifying glass, most of these have a 'freeze' feature: eMagnifier, MAGNIFicent (my fav - no ads, color options, good 'freeze' - upgrade gets more options, but good as is), MagnifyHD. All free, some have an ad banner, but only ~ $2 to remove ads.


Another interesting one, SayText - scan, does OCR, and then will speak the text:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sayt...376337999?mt=8

The only 'problem' for some, it doesn't do the 'speak text' unless you have the iPad set up in 'assistive' mode, which changes how things work. But worth checking out, IMO.


I was thinking about making a stand and a light to make it easier to get a good 'capture', but I found it was pretty effective to just set the iPad on the kitchen table with the camera in the corner hanging just over the edge, and lay the document on a piece of cardboard on a chair. Placed near a window, we got plenty of even light. You could put some books under the document if you need to get it closer.

-ERD50
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Old 07-03-2014, 11:12 AM   #2
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Good idea, but what about some terrific document organization software? I understand that some document scanners come with great software.
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Old 07-03-2014, 11:14 AM   #3
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Very timely, thank you. I am setting up DH's iPad, now mine as he hasn't touched it in about a year...happy with his iPhone . As soon as I get done with print apps, I will be looking at scan apps.
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Old 07-03-2014, 11:35 AM   #4
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Good idea, but what about some terrific document organization software? I understand that some document scanners come with great software.
Right, that's why I said "If you do occasional scanning, I think this is all you need. It won't replace one of those fancy sheet feeder types that does all sorts of automatic things, but it really is very useful."

But if someone wants to list some of the more powerful software in this thread, that would be great. Plenty of room to cover a bit more area. I'd especially be interested in software that isn't bundled with a device.

But then again, for my occasional scanning needs, organization really isn't an issue, I just drop it whatever folder makes sense for that document. And if you were doing a lot of scanning, a sheet-feeder might be the way to go. OTOH, this app and an iPad might be faster than a typical flat bed scanner - a camera click is likely faster than that scan process, but my old scanner is slower than new ones, so I don't know.

-ERD50
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Old 07-03-2014, 11:52 AM   #5
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Multi-function laser printer/scanner/fax has worked well for me. My model will print duplex, but does not have a network connection. When I bought it, was about $100 at Staples after I brought them an old used printer for $50 discount. At the time, I actually had a scanner and a printer and a fax machine. So this saved a good amount of space in my home office.

If you have a proper stand, I think a tablet would do well in a pinch.
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Old 07-03-2014, 12:14 PM   #6
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I use the Scanner Pro app on my iPad. I don't know if it's better than CamscannerHD, which I have not used, but I am happy with it.
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Old 07-03-2014, 12:16 PM   #7
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I've used CamScanner for Android and the scanner on my cheap HP all-in-one printer.

Just downloaded a magnifying app. That's going to be useful now and then. Thanks!
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Old 07-03-2014, 03:49 PM   #8
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I use the Scanner Pro app on my iPad. I don't know if it's better than CamscannerHD, which I have not used, but I am happy with it.
I see it gets good reviews. I had limited my search to free apps, because I like to try them out before committing even a few $. But at $3, and good reviews that's worth considering - ahhh, it looks like the 'scanner mini' is their free, very limited version (no save), but good enough to test the features, I guess.

https://itunes.apple.com/app/scanner...ign-mpt=uo%3D4

I'll bookmark the Pro version in case the CamscannerHD lets me down.

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Old 07-03-2014, 03:53 PM   #9
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I ...

Just downloaded a magnifying app. That's going to be useful now and then. Thanks!
I plan on making a stand to use with that app, and maybe add a light to it. My MIL has very degraded eyesight (MD), but she can read her iPad with the largest fonts. I think one of these magnify programs and a stand would let her read the paper and labels on things easier than with a hand-held magnifying glass.

And the 'freeze' feature is nice, like to lock a phone number on the screen, and then take it to the phone w/o needing to keep the paper and iPad all aligned.

-ERD50
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Old 07-03-2014, 03:57 PM   #10
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Thanks ERD. I occasionally use my phone or the iPad to take a photo and then crop the result in the camera or in Photoshop if I am trying to digitize a printed photo. For receipts, documents, etc this sounds like a good, one stop app. The reviews are quite positive. Downloading now.
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Old 07-03-2014, 03:59 PM   #11
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ERD - I see they are flogging the pro version for $.99 (80% off). Do you see any value in going pro?
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:38 PM   #12
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ERD - I see they are flogging the pro version for $.99 (80% off). Do you see any value in going pro?
I think it gives you OCR, which could be nice - other than that, (going by memory), I think there were more color filters, and collaborative stuff. but for 99 cents, since the main app seems to work pretty well, I guess I'd go for it. My first OCR trial worked perfectly and fast (but the free version doesn't allow saving or anything useful, just display), so that's worth it if you ever would want the editable text in one step.

EDIT: Wait, are you talking CamScannerHD? I just looked and it is asking for a $4.99 per month subscription for these features. At least on iPad.

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Old 07-21-2014, 09:34 AM   #13
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A little update on this:

The CamscannerHD and some various Magnifier apps work great with the iPad as I mentioned. Recently, I bought a cheap tablet, an Acer A1-810 for ~ $130. It has many features that are better than an iPad (GPS, HDMI, USB, micro-SD), but at ~ 1/3rd the cost of an iPad, as expected, they did cut some corners on the camera and display.

While the ACER camera seems fine for casual use, it is very marginal as a document scanner/magnifier. Night & day difference in clarity of the text. I think the ACER is fixed focus, while I can see the iPad actively performing auto-focus.

This is not a criticism of the ACER, I expected some corners cut at this price, I think it's an excellent value. But just be aware that using a phone/tablet as a doc scanner/magnifier does require a good camera, so YMMV.

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