10 Scanner Apps That Will Turn You Into a Data-Capturing Superstar

September 2014: Your smartphone’s camera is more than a handy tool for selfies and Twitter food pics —it’s a slick piece of office equipment that delivers professional-looking document scans. It can even create files that let you edit the text of your scanned documents. All you need is the right app!

Here are 10 awesome scanner app options that you can hop on right now — from super-simple to super-amazing — that make it easy to save, search and use the information you capture:

All good scanner apps start by doing basically the same thing — optimizing the image for text and letting you adjust things like contrast, perspective and size. This gives you images that are clean, straight, shadow-free and just as easy to read as if you scanned it on an office scanner. The image is saved as a PDF so you can upload it to your favorite cloud, mark it up and share it with whoever you like.

Some scanner apps take it a step further by using OCR, or Optical Character Recognition. When you scan anything that has words in it (including things like unnecessary street signs and labels), OCR technology recognizes the words. So you can search for them. Or even edit them, depending on the app you’re using.

For regular scanning that turns a photo into a PDF, try these tried-and-true favorites:
1. CamScanner for Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8 (free)
2. Scanner Pro by Readdle for iOS ($6.99)
3. Genius Scan for iOS, Android and Windows Phone (free)
4. Scanbot 2.5 for Android and iOS ($1.99)

All of these apps find edges automatically, but Scanbot also snaps the picture automatically once the image is in focus and includes QR Code scanning.

For scanning directly into apps you may already be using:
5. Evernote for iOS and Android
6. Google Drive for Android

For OCR scanning that makes your scanned text searchable:
7. Evernote Premium ($5/month or $45/year)

For OCR scanning that also can convert scanned text into editable text:
8. Scanbot Pro for Android and iOS ($4.99)
9. PDFpen Scan+ for iOS ($6.99)
10. CamScanner Premium for Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8 ($4.99/month or $49.99/year)

PDFpen Scan+ performs OCR on previously scanned PDFs to make them editable as well (convenient!) and CamScanner Premium lets you export scanned text as a .txt file

What kinds of things might you want to scan? How about receipts, business cards, legal agreements, event tickets, magazine articles, whiteboards, menus, instructions, Aunt Joan’s cobbler recipe, an epic idea sketched out on the back of a cocktail napkin – you name it!

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