If you don’t have one of those fancy all-in-one printers with scanners, being asked to sign, scan, and send a document can seem impossible. Not to mention an assignment from a decade ago. However, you may already be holding a scanner: your iPhone or iPad.
I don’t mean taking a picture and then cropping it to scan a document; that’s more work than it’s worth. It’s better to use the iPhone’s Notes app’s document scanner. The feature was introduced in iOS 11 in 2017. But if you don’t use Apple’s Notes app, you may be unaware of its existence.
How to scan a document with your iPhone
Place the document(s) on a flat, well-lit surface. Launch the Notes app and either start a new note or open an existing one. I made a folder called Scanned Documents in which I can store and easily find any scanned documents.
When you have a note open, tap the camera icon and then Scan Documents.
The camera on your iPhone or iPad will launch, complete with a shutter button near the bottom of the screen. Don’t press it just yet; instead, follow the instructions on your screen. Hold your device directly above the document for the best results.
As the camera begins scanning and looking for the document, a yellow box will appear. As your device searches for the edges and corners of the paper, you’ll see suggestions like “get closer.” It will automatically capture a scan once it has identified the entire document. If your iPhone is having trouble locating the document, you can use the shutter button.
A thumbnail of each page will appear in the bottom-left corner, and the scanner will remain open to scan additional pages. Then press the Save button.
Make perfect adjustments for the scan
After scanning the document, you can make changes such as defining the corners if the scan isn’t quite right, changing the color scheme, rotating it, or adding more pages.
When you open the document, you’ll see all of the editing tools at the bottom of the screen. You can also use the crop tool to adjust the corners or cut out a section of the document.
I’ve discovered that the best way to use the crop tool is to place your finger near the small circle in each corner of the document, which doubles as a magnifying glass. This will allow you to see your adjustments instead of hiding them.
Sign, share, or save your scanned document
You now have a few options after scanning and adjusting a document. You can either save it in the Notes app for future reference or sign and share it.
When viewing a document, tap the share button in the top-right corner of the screen to open the share sheet. Scroll down below the app shortcuts and tap Markup to add your signature. The markup tool includes tools for drawing, writing, and adding text, as well as adding your signature. To see all of the tool options, tap the “+” sign.
After you’ve signed or annotated the document, you can email it, save it to the Files app, or treat it like any other document on your iPhone or iPad.