Hot on the heels of iOS 7 (see “iOS 7 Pre-flight Checklist,” 18 September 2013), Smile Software has released a new iOS app, the $4.99 PDFpen Scan+, that turns your iPad or iPhone into a document scanner. You can make use of the camera in your device to scan a document directly — the app offers its own camera interface for that — or you can use images from your device’s photo collection.
I also use GeniusScan+ and have been very happy with it. The quality of the scans are great.
With PDFpen Scan+ you can combine multiple images into a single multi-page document. The result is a PDF that you can share easily with Smile’s PDFpen for iPad or iPhone, or with a number of cloud services, including iCloud, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Docs, Alfresco, and Box. The app also features page-edge detection and an OCR (optical character recognition) capability that supports sixteen languages.
PDFpen Scan+ does decent job considering the conditions under which it must obtain images — shaky hands and available light as opposed to a stable flatbed scanner with a cover and its own light-source. In fact, I’m surprised that the images are as good as they are, considering that they are being produced by a device that can fit in my pocket! Frankly, if you need to make a quick PDF of some paper documents while on the go, I can’t think of an easier or cheaper way to do it. Plus, PDFpen Scan+’s tight integration with Smile’s PDFpen apps for iPhone and iPad makes it simple to annotate and mark up the PDFs you make.
At the same time, the OCR results are quite variable, and, all too often, disappointing (though sometimes unintentionally hilarious). Before I could recommend it to a serious road warrior who needs high quality OCR on the go, I’d want to see some significant improvement. However, for casual use I have no qualms: I fully intend to use it on my next trip to the museum!