Scannable: mobile scanning made easy

Scannable became a part of my workflow shortly after its release by Evernote Corporation earlier this year. In contrast to Evernote’s ever-expanding feature set, Scannable does one job well. This free mobile scanning solution captures documents and dispatches them to your favourite cloud storage service. At the time of writing, Scannable is only available for iOS 8 and higher. An Evernote account is not required.

photo credit: Camilo Rueda López via flickr cc

photo credit: Camilo Rueda López via flickr cc

Overview

Scannable activates the camera when the application launches so you can get straight down to business. The application detects document edges when you hold your mobile device above a page. Image capture, cropping and de-skewing happen without further intervention. I’ve had good results with notebook pages, loose paper, business cards, and even computer screens.

Scannable relies on third-party cloud services for document storage. Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud are all supported. You can also share scanned images via email, messaging services or save them to the camera roll.

Image formats

JPG and PDF storage formats are both available. The default setting (auto) saves single-page scans in JPG format and multi-page scans as PDF. You can also force Scannable to always use a specific file format.

Using Scannable

Edge recognition is fast and accurate with the document placed against a contrasting background. When capturing pages from a notebook, use the page marker to help the camera recognise page boundaries. Capturing the full spread as a single image also works well.

Scannable is also great for:

  • Scanning business cards. Linked In integration helps improve the accuracy of text recognition.
  • Scanning receipts.
  • Capturing meeting notes from a whiteboard.
  • Saving interesting magazine articles (no need to tear pages out).
  • Saving an image of a book cover for later follow-up.
  • Taking screenshots of computer screens where more conventional approaches are not possible.

Crop and rotate are the only editing tools inside Scannable. My only real criticism of the application is the way it handles cropping. Each of the four image corners has a cropping handle. Cropping would be simpler if there were four extra handles on the mid-points of each side as is common in photo editing software. I usually send the uncropped image to Evernote and where this action is easier to carry out.

Conclusion

For a version 1 product, Scannable is already an excellent tool for which I keep finding new uses. If you ever need to scan on the go, I’d recommend you check it out.

Question: What’s your favourite mobile scanning solution?

My free ebook, Supercharged Notes, describes how I scan handwritten notes into Evernote. Scannable makes this process even easier. Stay tuned for an update in the not-too-distant future.

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13 Responses

  1. David says:

    have you seen officelens? worth a look.

    turns whiteboard notes into office .doc via a photo. magic.

    • John Scullen says:

      I’ve heard lots of good things about Lens but haven’t tried it yet. Might be time to check it out. Thanks.

  2. Marco says:

    Scanner Pro from Readdle does a great job too! https://readdle.com/products/scannerpro5

    • John Scullen says:

      Thanks Marco. I found Scanner Pro buried on my phone. I’m not really sure why I stopped using it. I’ll take another look into this too.

      • Marco says:

        John, I’ve been playing with Scannable. Love the quickness and it’s various share options.
        However, I cannot add to an existing PDF doc, as I do in Scanner Pro, for ongoing weekly expenses. I can also rearrange pages and easily upload/download via WiFi. I’ll probably use Scannable for all my scanning needs except for when I’m creating an ongoing weekly document, like my expenses. Like all other apps, use what works best for your current situation. Thanx for the tip!

        • John Scullen says:

          Speed is definitely a strength of Scannable. Everyone’s circumstances and needs are different so it’s good that we’ve got choices. I mainly use the phone as a capture device. When I need to splice PDFs together or edit them I prefer to do this on my Mac in Preview or PDFpen.

  3. Lino Velaa Gregory says:

    The only criticism I have for Scannable is that when I was in Evernote on my Lap Top running ms8.1 every time I attempted to edit the note it would lock the program then had to reboot.
    No problem on any other platform

  4. Simon Bates says:

    Hi John,

    Happy New Year!

    is Scannable better than the document scanning in Evernote itself?

    • John Scullen says:

      Hi Simon

      Happy new year to you too.

      In terms of the end result, Scannable is on par with Evernote’s inbuilt scanning engine. Not long after Scannable was released the Evernote app was updated to include many of Scannable’s features. I expect they share a lot of the same code now.

      I prefer Scannable for 2 reasons:

      1. Scannable is faster. Evernote takes a few seconds to load, then a couple of taps before you’re ready to scan a document. Admittedly you can speed this up by adding the Evernote widget to the Today View in the Notification Centre. By contrast, Scannable is ready to go as soon as you launch the application.
      2. Scannable is more flexible. Much like the Drafts app, Scannable focuses on quickly capturing (scanning) and THEN deciding what to do with it. I find Scannable’s ability to send the image via email or to a cloud storage service like Dropbox really useful.

      Scannable has the edge over the Evernote app in these important areas. For the way I work it’s the better option.

  1. June 2, 2015

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    […] and paper. I like getting rough ideas out on paper before turning to digital tools. Scannable or Carbo can convert the paper-based image into a digital […]

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