Picture this scenario – You’re at a client’s office. You’ve given them a document such as a purchase authorization form to sign. You need to get the signed form back to your office, but you won’t be back for a couple days and your office doesn’t have a fax machine. You could take a picture of the document with your smartphone and send it via email, but image files tend to be large and could potentially be blocked by your office’s email system based on size limits. Even if you can email the image file, the size of the file is not very conducive to storage, especially as more and more documents are stored this way. You need to make a PDF of the document, which you could do if you could scan the document. Unfortunately, your phone doesn’t have that ability…UNTIL NOW!!!
Genius Scan is a free iPhone app which adds yet another useful function to your phone – document scanner. The app will work with both photos in your phone’s camera roll and with photos you take while in the app. Once you have your document photoed, you can bring the image up in Genius Scan. The app will let you crop the image so that only the document is in the picture. When you’ve cropped the image to your liking, Genius Scan will then reformat and enhance the image so there is no issue reading the document, then convert the document to PDF. What’s especially nice is that you don’t have to take a direct picture of the document. Even pictures taken at an angle of the document will be reformated and enhanced by Genius Scan to where the document looks like it was scanned directly into a PDF.
The functions of Genius Scan go beyond documents. Pictures you take can be reformated and enhanced by the app as well. This is especially useful for college lectures or business meetings which utilize white boards. If you want to get a shot of the notes and diagrams on the white board for future reference, but are sitting off to the side, you can still take a picture of the white board and use Genius Scan to crop the image and re-angle the shot as if you were standing directly in front of the board, making everything visible and easy to read. The app even recognizes that you want to save this as an image file instead of a PDF, so you don’t lose any resolution in the final result.
The free version of Genius Scan allows you to keep all your scanned files within the app’s library and send those files via email or over a wifi network. Images can also be saved in your iPhone’s camera roll. You can also combine documents into a single PDF, allowing you to take pictures of multiple pages of a document without having to create multiple PDF files. Upgrading to the paid Plus version of the app allows you to send files to the iBooks app, Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Docs. The upgrade is $2.99 and can be done via the App Store of from within the free app.
This app has become one of my go-to apps on the iPhone, especially considering that I spend a lot of my job on the road visiting clients. I prefer using Genius Scan to faxing as I also have an electronic backup copy of any document which I scan using the app. Even if there’s an issue emailing the document, I can pull it off my phone when I get back to the office and print it out or put it on the server for storage purposes. There are many uses for this app which I haven’t even thought of yet, so be sure to play with it as much as possible. The effort and the app’s price are well worth it.