Sunday, September 23, 2012

Use your camera as a scanner

     I just downloaded a great new app (Android) which turns the smart phone into a scanner!  I've been testing it and WOW, it works GREAT!!  It is a free app named "CamScanner".

     Once downloaded and installed you tap the icon for CamScan the app comes up with a row of icons at the bottom and a list of folders on the left.

     To begin tap the camera icon at the bottom left.  The phone's camera turns on with a row of icons on the bottom, SETTINGS, SHUTTER, GALLERY, SINGLE SCAN  point the camera to the page of writing and press the shutter control.  The scan is made and the photo presented.   Touch the CHECK MARK at the bottom right to move to the next step or click the 'X' to discard or the CURVED ARROW to take you back a step.

     Now the text photo is presented with a frame that has buttons on the corners and in the middle of each side.  It is a simple matter to adjust the frame to correctly encompass the text you wish to capture.

     When you have it correctly framed touch the CHECK MARK.  The image is automatically trimmed and you are given controls to adjust the image.  CONTRAST, BRIGHTNESS and GAMMA can be adjusted.

     Again touch the CHECK MARK.  The Image is saved into the folder of your choice.  Click the SHARE button and a pdf file is created and you are presented with an array of choices (ten locations on my phone; Upload, FAX, Print, Bluetooth, Dropbox, Email, Picassa, Gmail, Bump, Google Drive) where you would like to send the finished pdf.

     OCR (optical character reader) is performed on the file so when you open it with Acrobat it is searchable.

     This app works smoothly and, although I've only had it for a short while, I think it promises to be a great help to researchers, especially in libraries where copies are 25 or 50 cents or it is not possible to make copies at all.

     I am anxious to try this app on the microfilm reader in the library.  When I get a request for an obituary and find it on the microfilm I usually photograph the screen with my digital camera but that then requires several editing steps before the obit is ready to send to the person requesting it.  This app promises to make that procedure very much easier, allowing me to immediately send the document by email.

     I don't know whether Apple has a similar app for the iPhone, they probably do.

     Give it a try and let us know what you think.


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