Sunday, September 2, 2012

App of the Week: TurboScan

I'd like to start another series that I'm calling App of the Week.  Since I have an iPhone, all of the apps I discuss will be available for it.  A quick Google search will be able to tell you if it's available for your device.

This week's App of the Week is TurboScan.  I first read about it on Apartment Therapy and I thought it was too good to be true.  Here's the back story.

I LOVE the printer/scanner/copier combos that most of us have in our offices these days.  The auto feeder tray, the push to an email address and the sheer swiftness of how you can scan and organize a mountain of paperwork for record-keeping.  Since I've been making a push toward going more paperless (there's nothing like list-making on a pretty pad of paper or notebook) at home and in the office, I've been looking for something comparable to that magic cube-shaped machine that will just about make you breakfast and brush your teeth.  

We have a printer/scanner/copier combo at home, but it's nothing like the commercial ones and takes forever to scan something, and then use the software to organize it.  One. document. at. a. time.

Then there's the Neat Desk.  Um, yes, please.  Buuuut, not at that price point, no sir.

So imagine my elation when I discovered there was an app (okay, so I might be late to the game on this one - I'm sure there are probably other scanning apps out there) that would help me with scanning all of my papers with a piece of equipment I already had.  Expecting a hefty $9.99+ price tag (which I consider fairly pricey for an app, but fair for something that the description proposed), I was pleasantly surprised at the $1.99 asking price.  However, I'll admit that I was thinking, "Alright, what's the catch?  It's too inexpensive; I bet you can't push it to Evernote."  But, you can.  And Dropbox, too.  There's only so much you can learn from reading the description and reviews, so I took the plunge (and only a small monetary risk) and just downloaded it.

Boy howdy, this did it for me.  I don't much care for limitations in filing structure in Evernote and Dropbox, and after a little trial and error, I decided to email them to myself.  It takes some patience and a little bit of time if you're scanning 12+ pages, but it can be done.  I downloaded the attachments, pieced them together in Word docs so they can be later added to, and OCD'd them to death in my file structure.  

Instead of re-creating the wheel, this article lays out the features and steps on how to scan your documents.  Directly quoting from the article, you can see how easy it is:

  1. Snap a picture of the document you want to “scan”
  2. Adjust the frame of the document – this is a great feature that allows you to eliminate skewed images, which can occur if you don’t take a perfectly straight picture
  3. Choose the brightness level of the scan (also nice)
  4. Add more pages (if desired)
  5. Name the file
  6. Export to a number of different places in JPG or PDF formats, including e-mail, camera roll, and the Open With… app list (you can guess where I go with this).
The only teeny hangup (that can bee 100% avoidable with some practice) is that you have 1 opportunity to rotate the document.  If you go to the next step before rotating your document, you can't go back to do so (or I haven't found a way to do it yet) and you'll need to re-take the picture and start again.  But, like I said, that's totally avoidable with practice and the smallest amount of attention.  

Verdict:  It's a great app and worth more than the money you'll pay for it.

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