Academic Technology @ Palomar College

Must Have Apps for iPad

Must Have Apps for iPad

If you are the organized type, and you use your iPad a lot, you will want to own Scanner Pro by Readdle.  It turns your iPad’s camera into a document/object scanner with built-in algorithms to remove shadows, sharpen images, correct perspective and improve, as much as possible readability.  That’s what makes it better than just taking a photo of a document or object with your iPad.  What really makes it useful is its ability to convert the picture to PDF (a document image, not a searchable PDF with a text layer) and upload it to Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, or any WebDAV service, like your Palomar web space, for example.  I’ve tested all of these upload possibilities and they all work well.

This might be the easiest way for many people, especially people in the library doing research, to digitize pages from books, scan their shopping receipts, or snap an image of the professor’s white board when leaving class.  If you are the professor, you can snap an image of the whiteboard and upload it to Blackboard.

Using the app couldn’t be easier.  Simply start the app and choose whether to take an image with the iPad camera or import an image from your camera roll.  If you choose to snap a picture with the camera you can then ask the app to find its boarders (I have learned that taking some extra space around the document helps) or you can manually adjust the borders by dragging sizing handles around a selection rectangle to select part of the picture for capture.  You will then have the opportunity to increase/decrease contrast and brightness with sliders, or to view it as a color photo, a true black and white document, or a grayscale document.  When satisfied, tap Done.  The resulting scan is stored in your documents, and you can name it as you wish.  If you do not wish to provide a name it is time/date stamped.

Once the scan is in the apps documents area, you can email it as a pdf or jpg, save it in your photos, print it, upload it to dropbox or the other services mentioned above, or perform a couple of other advanced options.  You can also electo to Open the document in any app you have on your iPad that is capable of opening PDFs and is compatible with Scanner Pro’s API.  In my case this amounts to about 13 apps, including PDF Expert, GoodReader, QuickOffice, the Kindle and Nook reading apps, iBooks, and so on.  You also have the option of opening it as a JPG  in any other apps you have that meet the same conditions.

Here is the scan of my office whiteboard.  I have very significantly reduced the size of the image, but at full size on the iPad it is completely clear and legible—as far as my handwriting is legible, that is.

whiteboard

The shadow on the top of this image is an actual shadow, and not a distortion caused by the scan.

The cost for this app is $6.99, but its ease of operation, and all around usefulness, makes it a must have app, especially if you find yourself in situations where you might be running to the copy machine to copy pages from reference books or journal articles.  Or, if you will be shopping for the holidays, you might just want to scan all those receipts and upload them to Evernote where you can be sure to find them when it comes time to return those items.

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