Turn your phone into a document scanner for free

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Scannable is one example of an app that makes short work of “scanning” documents with your phone.


So I’ve spent well over an hour trying to make the case for the NeatReceipts mobile scanner, which Woot has on sale today (refurbished) for $44.99 — roughly one-fourth the price it once was, and half what you’d pay for a new one.

Good deal, right? As I often say, a low price can help you overlook — or at least tolerate — certain product flaws. But the more I wrote about the NeatReceipts, the more I realized it’s just not a smart buy for most folks. Not when you can accomplish most of the same things using the phone that’s already in your pocket.

…or are you just happy to see me?

This is not a new idea; “scanner” apps have been around almost as long as smartphones, but the apps themselves have improved dramatically in recent years, in tandem with huge improvements to phone cameras.

So I thought I’d tell you about my favorite: Scannable by Evernote. The first thing you should know is it’s for iOS only. But fear not, Android users: I also highly recommend Microsoft’s Office Lens, which is available for both platforms. Needless to say, Scannable is a top choice if you’re already an Evernote user; consider Office Lens if you hang your document hat in OneNote.

Again, there are countless other options, most of them much more agnostic, able to scan to a variety of cloud services instead of just a few. If there’s another scanning app you like better than these, by all means shout it out in the comments.

But allow me to gush about Scannable just a bit, because although I don’t need it often, when I do, it’s insanely useful. (It’s also free, same as Office Lens.)

The ol’ tap-and-scan trick

With Scannable, you simply position your document so it fits within the viewfinder (i.e., your iPhone’s screen). The app will quickly and automatically capture it, then straighten, sharpen and otherwise improve the quality of the image.

With a creased receipt, for example, it virtually eliminated the fold marks from the scan and evened out areas of different contrast. And with those extra-long receipts, I didn’t have to capture them in sections — the app did fine when I pulled back to snap the entire thing at once.

I especially like how it makes short work of multi-page documents. After you capture the first page, it’s almost immediately ready for the next one. I daresay this is even faster than a sheet-fed scanner — one more reason I prefer this to the likes of the NeatReceipt.

When you’re done with a scan, just tap the check mark icon to review each page in a side-scrolling tray. Don’t like how one turned out? Just flick it up and out of the tray to delete it.

So Scannable makes the whole scanning process really easy, and automatically uploads to Evernote when you’re done. You also have the option of sharing a scan via email or the other usual iOS share options. You just have to remember to rename it before sending it on its way, otherwise it’ll keep the default “Scannable Document” filename.

As I said: It’s one option of many. What’s your favorite scanning app, and why?

Bonus deal: Is there a more fascinating machine than the human body? I think not! If you’ve often wondered what makes us tick, anatomically speaking, don’t miss this: For a limited time, you can get Human Anatomy Atlas 2018 for iOS for 99 cents. Regular price: $24.99! It’s an exhaustive 3D anatomy reference aimed at teachers, students and healthcare professionals — but also awesome for the intellectually curious. And it’s a buck! (Sorry, Android users: Your version is still priced at $25.)

This is a 65-inch TV for under $500. But it’s a refurb, so there are caveats.


Bonus deal No. 2: I’m on record as saying you shouldn’t buy refurbished TVs, largely because you’re getting such a short warranty (usually just 90 days). But, man… Walmart has a deal right now that merits discussion. It’s a refurbished Hitachi 65L6 65-inch 4K TV for $465.75 shipped (plus tax).

My usual caveats apply: There’s no warranty information provided, so definitely check with Walmart before ordering. Also: check with your credit card company to see if they’ll double it, which is sometimes the case. If Walmart gives you 90 days and you can get another 90 from your credit card, that’s not bad.

Curiously, there’s no extended protection plan available for this — not through Walmart, anyway. But consider that most 65-inch TVs (new ones, anyway) sell for at least $1,000.

But not all! Walmart also has a Sceptre 65-inch 4K TV, which is new and $599.99 shipped. And it has user reviews (nearly all positive), which the Hitachi doesn’t. Come to think of it, that’s the killer TV deal, here. Forget I mentioned that refurb. [Whistles and walks toward the door…]

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