How to use your phone as a scanner!
by Robin Lang, LAR Membership Services
Almost daily I have members who need to send a document to us, whether it be a CE Certificate, Transfer form, or something else. By far the best way to do this is to email a .PDF of the document. There is a very easy way to do this using phone apps available for both Android phones and Apple iPhones. My current favorite is called Scanner for Me. I have also used Tiny Scanner and DocScan with success.
Scanning apps allow you to take a picture of your document, and the software then converts that document to a file type, which is easily printable (.PDF). When I receive photos in the office, I often must edit the photo to make it readable and printable. Sometimes even after the editing, it is still too small or blurry to get a good printable image. Think of what an old faxed photo looked like – yep, that’s pretty much what it looks like when emailed to me as a photo. I use a scanning app all the time with my family, too. Recently we needed to send a bunch of forms including a copy of an insurance card and passport for some international travel for my son, and all scanning and emailing was done with our phones.
Here are a few tips for success!
- Search for a scanner at your preferred App Store by using search terms such as scanning pdf, scan pdf, or scanning, or typing in the name of the scanning program you are looking for. Look for FREE apps to start with.
- Download a FREE scanning app and play with it for about 5-10 minutes. If you can’t figure out how to use it and email a .PDF (to yourself for a test), then move on to another FREE app. Many of the FREE scanning apps do have paid versions as well. I have never needed the features in the paid versions, and my guess is you will not either. Either way, start with FREE until you find one you like.
- Scan by placing your document on a DARK surface. At the office we have a great black counter that works well. At home I use a dark towel, or sometimes even the hardwood floor. You want a big shade difference between the color of the paper, and the color of the background. Lighting can be tricky with some scanning apps. Try to decrease dark shadows. I find that for scanning, light shadows do not tend to be an issue (unlike taking a photo of a document, where shadows are frustrating).
- Practice! Scan a document that isn’t important and when you have no time constraint, and send it to yourself. Print it. How does it look? It should look like a really excellent fax.
Email your CE Certificates to firstname.lastname@example.org