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Many traditional tools that were once large and bulky have made a digital transition such that they are no longer rendered an inconvenience to use. From telephones to calculators, the combination of mobile phones and apps have made them convenient and accessible no matter where the user may be. A prime example of this is scanners which is often regarded as one of the most stationary devices. With the introduction of mobile phones, scanners have made significant strides in terms of digital development as many apps aim to not only scan documents, but also process and manipulate them in advanced ways. As camera technology continues to improve in quality and speed, users are now able to use various apps to scan their documents to store, send, and edit while on-the-go. Given the vastness of mobile scanning apps that are available, this article discusses the best ones for a range of purposes.

Summary Scanner

As the amount of time that is dedicated to reading has been on the decline while the average number of minutes spent on mobile devices has skyrocketed, it is evident that a transition to digital text from physical documents is present. As an app that is aimed at countering the movement that shifts away from lengthy readings, Summary Scanner automatically summarizes documents from just a picture. The app couples advanced algorithms derived from Artificial Intelligence with the camera technology to identify the points which are most important to get a summary of the entire document without missing the relevant sentences. Through this model of reading, productivity is maximized as the process of manual data mining to obtain important information is alleviated. Beyond summarizing, the app enables for the conversion of physical documents to form editable, searchable versions to translate, use text-to-speech, or share. As one of the few apps that aim to process information from scans as opposed to simply capturing it, Summary Scanner is in an advantageous position given the push towards artificial intelligence and natural language processing integration in many traditional industry verticals.


As a highly intuitive scanning app, Scanbot makes the process of scanning documents extremely efficient. Upon opening the app, the camera is immediately available so that users can begin scanning their documents. What makes the app so intuitive to use is that users do not need to manually take the picture, but rather Scanbot automatically does so when the optimal resolution is achieved. In instances when the picture quality is sub-optimal, the app will then provide information on how the image quality can be improved to achieve better scans. In order to capture the greatest degree of efficiency, the scanner is able to continuously capture scans so that users do not have to take the scans in a slow manner with a lot of manual interactions. Beyond standard features that include the ability to crop and store documents on the cloud, being able to efficiency scan documents with minimal interactions makes Scanbot one of the best mobile scanners available.

Office Lens

As an app that has been developed by Microsoft, one of the largest technology-based companies, Office Lens introduces an extremely simple tool set that makes it one of the most widely used scanners. By having the ability to convert the scanned document into various formats such as PowerPoint, PDF, an Word, users can integrate many of their physical documents right into the platform that they need. Beyond this, all of the scans are automatically saved to the OneDrive cloud so that it can be accessed from anywhere using the same Microsoft credentials. With the ability to scan, store, and edit documents right on Office Lens, there is a streamlined solution to managing digital documents in a centralized location. One of the most differentiating features of the app is that it automatically detects the edges of various documents such as receipts and business cards and can automatically crop out the surrounding so that the scans are clean and easy to read.

Tiny Scanner

Although the name may imply a smaller, more nimble scanner, Tiny Scanner offers a wide array of tools that can introduce a seamless method of transferring and storing physical documents into a digital format. With the capacity and scanning accuracy of professional scanners, the app is one that has a significant number of offerings that can enhance the quality of the image such as filters and brightness adjustments. Through this, images that are not scanned in the best viewing settings can still be made to look clearer in a matter of seconds either manually by the user or the automatic algorithms of the app. A highly applicable feature of Tiny Scanner is that it offers an unparalleled degree of security that is uncommon in other scanning apps. For example, users can lock their files with a password so that even if the phone is compromised, the files will still be secure, making it perfect for confidential files. The collective of all of these features make Tiny Scanner a powerful tool, despite its name.

Scan: Document, Receipt to PDF

Being a multitool in terms of its abilities, Scan is a highly comprehensive mobile scanner that is applicable for any usage. For example, the app is able to scan in formats beyond text to include QR codes, barcodes, URL, ISBN, locations, and other formats. What differentiates Scan from competing apps is the degree of enhancements that can be done after the scan is complete so that the highest quality is achieved even when the scan is done in sub-optimal environments. Although the enhancement are extremely effective in improving the overall scan to include fixing distortions, geometric correction, and auto cropping, they are extremely simple to implement for new users. Packaged together in an easy-to-use interface, Scan is a Swiss-army knife of a scanner that streamlines the process of converting physical documents to a digital version for nearly any form of input even beyond text.

Developments in mobile hardware and software have disrupted a number of prominent industries including transportation, banking, photography, and music. Furthermore, the transition of desktop tools towards mobile apps has been a prevalent occurrence since the introduction of the smartphone, from landline phones, modems, keyboards, to the imminent detachment of bulky scanners. With the increasing number of mobile apps available, this article lists the must-have scanning apps for personal, business, and educational use.