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No Scanner? No Worries. Use an App

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By Robyn Hagan Cain on April 05, 2013 12:13 PM

Giant scanner/printer/copier work centers are pretty fantastic, if you can afford one. A fledgling practice, however, may not have the extra cash to splash on such luxuries.

If you're just getting your practice up and running, a scanner app for your smartphone could get your through your basic scanning needs.

Scanning apps use your phone's camera to capture document images. And, unlike your phone's basic photo functions, scanner apps optimize captured text for reading or printing.

The New York Times' Bob Tedeschi explains, "If you were to photograph a page from a book, for instance, you would have to push the page completely flat in order to get an image you could read. Otherwise the text curves so much that it hinders easy reading. For professional use, such photos would fall far short." Scanner apps, by contrast, correct those inconvenient curvatures.

Whether you're partial to iPhone, Android, or Blackberry, you have a smartphone scanner option. For example:

  • On the iPhone, you can test the scanner app waters with a free app like CamScanner Free, or really splurge with a fancy app like Prizmo for $9.99. CNET notes that Prizmo can scan documents "including business cards and whiteboard illustrations from a meeting or class, but it can also convert text documents into editable text files." CNET lists several other options as well. (I use Genius Scan, another free option on this list.)

  • For the Android users out there, Mashable has a roundup of five scanner apps, four of which have both free and paid options. (If you want a scanner with Google Drive, DropBox, and Box.net integration, consider CamScanner or Document Scanner.

  • BlackBerry users have their own scanner app, cleverly named PDF Scanner for BlackBerry. You can try it for free for 30 days, or just buy it for $1.99.

If you scan a lot of documents, you might need to enlist a scanner service or just buy a scanner. If you only scan occasionally, a smartphone app will probably be sufficient.

Have you found a scanner app that rocks your world? Secrets don't make friends. Tell us about it on our Facebook or Google+ pages.

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