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Use Your iPhone or iPod Touch as a Document Scanner

Remember the days when scanning a document required a big, ugly, space wasting device connected to your computer? Today we take a look at a free app that will turn our iPhone or iPod Touch (with camera) into a convenient document scanner.

Even if you have a modern scanner connected to your PC, it can be a cumbersome process to scan a document. You have to be at its location at home or work, and then scan each document. Even some of the portable scanners that you hook up to your laptop can be a bit to much when traveling. If you own a iPhone or iPod Touch with camera, Genius Scan is a quick and easy way to scan your receipts or documents and email them to the right person.

Genius Scan for iOS

Download and install Genius Scan which is a free from the App Store on your device or through iTunes.

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After you have it downloaded and installed, launch Genius Scan and you’re brought to your library. This app is free but also ad supported, but a small banner at the bottom of the screen is a small annoyance for how well this works.

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Scanning a Document

If you travel a lot and need to keep your receipts for expense reports, Genius Scan allows you to scan them from anywhere. Once you’re at the Documents screen select From camera…then focus on what you need to scan and tap the camera button.

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After you scan a document you can then crop a specific area of the document.

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In this example we are scanning a page from a knitting book that we borrowed from the public library.

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Then narrow it down to just the pattern we need from the page.

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After taking the shot there are a few different options you can use to process the document from nothing, to color, or in black and white.

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Here we went with Black & White Document processing for a sales receipt.

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When you’re done with the image you can save it to your device or email it off.

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Sometimes it might be best to save them on your device in case you don’t have a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.

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Then you can easily move them from your iOS device to you PC or Mac from Camera Roll. Or email them when you have an Internet connection again.

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If you’re tired of saving receipts until you have access to a Scanner, Genius Scan for your iPhone or iPod Touch 4th gen is easy to use. Quickly take a shot of the document you need, edit it, then send it off.

Genius Scan iTunes Preview

Keep in mind to use this app you’ll need an iPhone or iPod Touch 4th Gen with a camera and iOS 4 or later.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/8/10

Comments (11)

  1. Michael

    What is the benefit of this over, let’s say, simply taking a picture and cropping it?

  2. Greg

    What is the difference over, let’s say, simply taking a picture and cropping it?

  3. Lady Fitzgerald

    I agree. This seems to be much ado over nothing. I’ve been using a small camera I keep in my purse for a portable scanner for years.

  4. Jeroen

    The difference seems simple to me. Anything that can be done with an I-something is presented (or appears to the owner) as being either revolutionary or infinitely improved over anything existing previously.

  5. Terry

    Does not work on my iPod v4 os. Clicking From camera simply return to the deskto screen????
    NOT impressed!

  6. Erin

    I’m not sure how often I’d use it, but I just tried it out and for those wondering the benefit over a photo… it corrects the angle/straightens the image so it’s truly flat.

  7. chess

    ya what erin said. taking some pictures of post-it notes and makes them straight

  8. Lady Fitzgerald

    I never need to straighten photos since I take them at the correct angle to begin with. Again, big deal.

  9. YOUNIS

    dear sir,

    with reference to your product you sell :
    Scan Anything With Your iPhone
    air mouse pro
    can I use these application with an iphone alike which produced in china which are using same software as iphone use
    model SCIPHONE I9XXX which alike to G3
    model SCIPHONE TG4 which alike to G4
    PLS IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA ABOUT THIS ISSUES PLZ ADVICE ME,
    MY REGARDS

    YOUNIS

  10. Paul Dennis

    Corrections: “can be a bit TOO much when traveling” and “move them from your iOS device to YOUR PC.” Who proofreads this stuff?

  11. Lala

    I use this app and I still not sure about how good it can be, it takes a different image from the camera’s software, the letters become smoth… well, i’m still waiting for something better! Apple could give us a better camera :(

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