I keep my eye out for apps that can help save me time and be more productive. So when Evernote recently released their new app, Scannable, I was eager to try it out. Not only was it designed to do one thing really well–namely, scan documents–but it filled a niche that I found I needed more and more in my efforts to go paperless.
For those who aren’t familiar with the app, Scannable uses the camera in your iPhone or iPad1 to scan documents into Evernote (or other apps). It makes it incredibly easy to do this. You simply start the app, hold the device over the document so that the entire document appears, and wait a few seconds while Scannable detects the edges, and snaps a photo. You don’t have to click button. Scannable does it all. It cleans up the image, makes sure the edges are straight, and then gives you the opportunity to send the document to Evernote or other applications.
How it works
First, you start the app. Then you hold your device over the document you want to scan, and wait a second or two. When the document is highlighted in blue, it means Scannable has detected it and automatically grabs the image. Note how the document below is highlighted and detected even on the edge of my table.
Once detected, you can continue to scan more documents, or deal with the ones you’ve already scanned.
When I finish my scanning, I send the document or documents to Evernote. Doing this, I am prompted for which notebook I want the documents to be filed in:
A few seconds later, my scanned document is available in Evernote.
How I’ve been using Scannable
Scannable has made it possible for me to:
- Cut down on the amount of scanning I do at home.
- Capture documents I might not otherwise have been able to capture easily
- Have instant, searchable access to documents I scan using Scannable
- Easily annotated my scanned documents without having to first go home and scan them.
Cutting down on the amount of scanning I do at home
Since I started using Scannable, I no longer have to bring documents home with me. If I got to a homeowners meeting and they hand out an agenda, or other documents, I use Scannable to quickly capture them, and then give the originals back. I don’t have to bring them home with me. I scan them the moment I get them, and that makes things a little more efficient for me.
Capture documents I might not otherwise have been able to capture easily
When I was at the dentist recently to have some wisdom teeth yanked, I had to sign a ream of papers before going in for the procedure. These papers had to be returned to the reception window, meaning I would not have had a chance to bring them home and scan them. Fortunately, I had Scannable. I scanned all of the pages into a note in Evernote before returning them.
Have instant, searchable access to documents I’ve scanned using Scannable.
A few seconds after scanning a document, it appears in Evernote. And it is fully searchable. To demonstrate, I scanned a troubleshooting guide for my new work laptop using Scannable, and sent the note to Evernote. A few seconds later, I ran a search in Evernote for the term “Dell wired”. The note I’d scanned using Scannable was the first match:
This has the potential of being a huge time-saver, not just in terms of scanning, but being able to search dense documents seconds after receiving them in order to find specific information.
Easily annotate scanned documents without having to first go home to scan them
Because the document is scanned into Evernote, I have the ability to annotate the document, even on my phone. I can, for instance, easily highlight passages, or make other annotations. I don’t have to wait to go home to scan it first.
But couldn’t you have done this with your camera, or the previous document scanner in Evernote?
Yes, some of this was possible from within the Evernote app, but I never found the process as fluid and easy as it is using Scannable. Scannable cuts out several steps, makes for smoother transitions between steps, and produces good quality scans, all in one app. Using Scannable for capturing paper when I am away from my home office has been a huge time-saver for me.
If you have a suggestion for a future Going Paperless post, let me know. Send it to me at feedback [at] jamietoddrubin.com. As always, this post and all of my Going Paperless posts is also available on Pinterest.
Previous post: Distraction-Free Evernote.
- Sorry folks, right now the app is just iOS. ↩