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Phone it in: These apps use your smartphone to capture information

Liane Cassavoy | June 13, 2014
Sometimes, staying productive is all about the little efficiencies, whether it's the ability to dictate a quick note into my phone or using its camera in lieu of my big, bulky scanner. This week, I've found a few apps that take care of these tasks and more.


iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone; free

Paperwork and mobile phones don't always mix well, unless you have ScanWritr. This free app, which runs on Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone, turns your smartphone camera into a portable scanner. Take a picture of a whiteboard, a sign, a document, or anything else, and ScanWritr turns it into a digital file. You can edit the picture before it's captured, which allows you to control exactly which text is stored, and you can mark it up after it's saved. I especially like how easy it is to save your files as a PDF and share them with others, though the free version of the app does include a ScanWritr watermark on all of your files. 


iOS; $4 for iPhone, $5 for iPad

Another option for creating PDFs — especially more complex ones — is Save2PDF. This iOS app ($4 for the iPhone, $5 for the iPad) lets you create robust PDFs from a variety of documents. You can add photos, spreadsheets, text documents, and more, into a single PDF, which can be rearranged with a simple touch of the screen. It doesn't work as a scanner, though, so you'll need to have all of the documents you'd like to use already on your mobile device — and email will work, as it can handle attachments.


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