Scanning documents and photos with phones and tablets

+21 votes
448 views

One of the things that I've been saving up in my RSS reader (see this thread for more on RSS) is articles on ways to use a smartphone or a tablet to scan photos or documents. (This was a much bigger need for me before I got a flatbed scanner.) But just recently, the thought occurred to me that this sort of thing could be highly useful to genealogists researching in archives, libraries, and places like that. Therefore, herewith the articles that I had collected on the subject:

in The Tree House by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (351k points)
I was at a library yesterday and I used the iPhone app "Scanner Pro". It worked pretty well, it saved everything as PDFs to Dropbox.
good to know, thank you.
This is great info for everyone. If you use Android, the google photo scan app is great - if you own a pixel all photos are backed up at full resolution free of charge forever as well (I own a pixel, this is a wonderful feature!). Also, Adobe has a great free pdf scan app that will create a pdf from photographed documents. I do this with the documents and photos in my grandparents house (slow going work but worth it). I have a photo album from the early 1800s that's too delicate and damaged (found it in my great grandma's house in a tequila box of all things) to try to scan in a traditional matter and I wanted to have a digital copy in case something happened until I can have them professionally scanned. The phone worked wonderfully.

3 Answers

+11 votes
Great info to have.   Thanks Greg.  

I've just spent most of the week scanning my recently deceased Aunt's photo albums..... so I might wait a few days before I seriously check out the links.
by Peggy McReynolds G2G6 Pilot (328k points)
+14 votes
Nicely done.  Just recently I was having trouble with scanning with my printer.  Sometimes it would work and other times it would not.  It never seemed like an issue until I learned that HP had some kind of security issue and I had to download a HP Security Scan Doctor and then download with the current update for my printer.  Works fine now.  If you find that some of your devices aren't working the same, and you've unplugged and plugged everything in several times.  Then turn to your devices' website for help, input your model and make, and run a check if you're using the most current DRIVER(S) for your device.  It's important that you're using the DRIVER(S) meant for each device to work properly.  Most are free.  Google is great!  I Google everything.  I encourage those who are looking for something specific to use Google search.  My opinion only.  Thanks for reading.  Your interest is appreciated.  Good luck.
by Paula Reinke G2G6 Mach 8 (84.3k points)
+4 votes
I've been using the Google PhotoScan app on my Android phone since discovering it some time ago.  It was originally designed to photograph pictures behind glass and eliminate "hotspots" and reflections.  This feature makes the app particularly useful for "scanning" old photos and documents that have curled corners.  Place your photo or document on a flat surface and cover it with a clean sheet of glass (get one at your local hardware or craft store, or take one out of an unused picture frame.)  The PhotoScan app will automatically adjust the lighting, remove reflections and hotspots, and crop the image to only include your document or photo.  

Additional tip:  Make sure the flat surface you're using is a different color than your documents and photos.  For instance, if you're photograping documents on white paper place them on a wooden table, or if your photographs have a sepia tone place them on a white cutting board before laying the glass pane over them.  The color contrast between the document and work surface allows the PhotoScan app to find the edges for cropping and making small adjustments to correctly align the document to be straight.
by Erik Oosterwal G2G6 Mach 4 (48.6k points)

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