Scanning with your iPhone

Danny Gorog
10 October, 2010
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The iPhone is a great tool for business. However, one pain point for many business people on the road is dealing with small receipts, the kind you get when you take someone out for coffee or lunch.

JotNot Scanner Pro ($2.49)

Lately I’ve been using an app called JotNot, which helps to take the pain out of managing receipts and effectively turns your iPhone into a very capable scanner that lets you photograph, scan and file your receipts away anytime you’ve got a spare couple of minutes.

According to the developers, MobiTech 3000, JotNot is more than just a camera app. It uses proprietary image processing (similar to the imaging technology used in flatbed scanners) to automatically remove shadows, correct contrast and adjust white balance, so that your scanned documents come out looking as crisp and clear as possible every time.

JotNot will attempt to automatically detect the document in the image, making it easy to remove the information you don’t want in the scan – like the stuff lying around your desk: pens, coffee mugs, loose change, etc.

JotNot lets you scan both single and multipage documents, but you can also use it to scan other things like whiteboard drawings, business documents and even business cards. Once you’ve taken a photo of the document JotNot offers to scan it.

You can save your scans in JotNot or you can use the included functions to easily upload the scanned document to a number of different services like iDisk, Evernote,, Dropbox and now Google Docs. If you’d prefer, you can also attach the PDF or JPEG of the image as an email attachment.

If you’re interested but unsure check out the YouTube video about how JotNot works at

There’s also a free version of JotNot, which has limited functionality (but enough for you to test)

As you’d expect on the App Store there are some competitors to JotNot. Two popular alternatives are Readdle Scanner Pro and DocScanner.

Scanner Pro ($8.99)

This Readdle app offers many similar features to JotNot but gives an option for more control over the image processing and provides a slightly different workflow. It’s also got printing integration via the Print N Share app from EuroSmartz, plus the ability to password-protect PDF files you create.

DocScanner ($7.99)

Norfello Oy’s DocScanner’s claim to fame is it’s ability to optically recognise characters in a photo – typically known as OCR. That means that any document you scan using DocScanner will be converted to editable text. Unlike other options, the OCR feature occurs directly on the device without sending your document up to a server for processing. This means it’s even more useful as you can process your documents when the internet isn’t available, such as on a plane on the way back from a business trip.

DocScanner also has the ability to Wi-Fi-share, which lets you access the documents you have scanned via a web browser as long as your iPhone and Mac are connected on the same network.

Abbyy Business Card Reader ($12.99)

This app lets you snap a photo of a business card and scan the information directly into your
contact list.

I’ve used ABBYY a number of times with mixed success. If your contact card is clearly laid out then ABBYY does a good job, but if it’s got a modern design with lots of separation between the numbers and contact details the results aren’t impressive – and often means you’ll spend more time than it’s worth getting the app to work.

This article originally appeared in the September issue of Australian Macworld magazine.

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