Can my mobile phone help me better manage my paper?

Is there really an app for that? Well that depends on what you need to do. You might think that just because there are many scanning apps available for your smartphone and tablet that (scanning) taking a picture using your device camera is the answer to the more efficient management of paper. I say taking a picture because it really is a different technology to the traditional document scanner (I should write about that another time…. It’s on the list!).


Check out this great review and comparison by PC Mag.

The Best Mobile Scanning Apps of 2016 – PC Mag

So is this really the answer?

As I said the answer really depends on what you want to achieve. The cloud makes apps like Evernote Scannable and CamScanner very useful tools. For a start they have cool technology that takes the best picture (scan) of the document possible given the condition of the document and the environment, there are no “user” chances been taken here!   And secondly you’re already on the doorstep of the cloud where magic really does happen. Some of these app’s now come with OCR (check out my acronym page) which makes them searchable, they really have come a long way.

That’s all great I hear you say but what are the drawbacks?

As long as your need is for casual scanning when you’re on the go then there really are no drawbacks but as good as they are smartphone app’s are not a solution to managing your business documents. Likely you’ll just have far too many pieces of paper and you really don’t have the time to take a picture of every single one.

If you have a strategy for better managing paper then you need the right tools for the job. Taking individual pictures of pieces of paper is so time consuming that the novelty will have worn off after a day or two. What you really need is a sheet fed scanner that can just scan multiple documents freeing you up for your real job.

But what about when I’m out and about?

Well why not, but don’t forget there are plenty of small wireless scanners available now that will scan directly to your mobile device. Mobile scanning apps are you are also limited by the camera in your mobile phone and of course your device battery life.

That said some of the mobile scanning apps are great for business card or receipt capture and if that’s all you need then why not!

The last word.

Your mobile phone can do a bit of everything now. I would suggest that a mobile scanning app is a great back up for your real scanning solution just in the same way as you wouldn’t rely on your mobile phone camera as the only way to take your vacation photo’s or instead of using the sat nav in your car.

Scanning apps are great for ad hoc capture but they really earn their worth when they are integrated into other functions like recording the label on a great bottle of wine or for reading QR codes.

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