Your Smartphone is a Scanner
Scanning is the opposite of printing: when you print, you convert an electronic document into a hard copy; when you scan, you convert a hard copy into an electronic document. Your scanner simply takes a picture of your document.
So, can you use your phone’s camera (or your tablet’s camera) as a scanner?
- Take a picture of a form you just filled out and email it where it needs to go.
- Take a picture of a framed photograph, rather than take it out of the frame and put it on the scanner glass.
- Take a picture of a newspaper or magazine article you want to share.
- Take a picture of a written recipe — or one from a book — and file it or share it electronically.
- Take a picture of a receipt and file it in your computer or email it to whoever will reimburse you.
Once you have the picture, you can edit it and/or email it right from your phone. Or, you can email it to yourself, pick it up in your computer, and file/edit/send from there.
Smartphone cameras take pictures in the .jpg format. If you need your scan to be a .pdf (a document format), use a program or an app designed to convert a .jpg to a .pdf, and even combine pages into a single document. Shop your app store for these.
Most likely, your flatbed scanner — with its cover that blocks light, shadow, and glare — will take a higher quality picture than your camera phone will. But, if you are not near your scanner or you can’t easily place the object on the glass, use your phone.