Do Handheld Scanners Really Work?

JotNot App

The free version of the $1.99 JotNot Scanner Pro is probably the best free scanning app for iOS, but be warned; the interface is crammed with ads that we found intrusive and far too easy to click on by accident.

JotNot has a very similar interface to DocScan for scanning documents, down to the option to use the forward facing camera. But it does the worst job of automatically detecting the edges of documents and the cropping handles are small and tricky to drag. That’s not helped by the way the interface zooms in to the corner you’re cropping and then jumps out again. We do like the gridlines that help you see how the perspective you’re setting works across the whole image rather than just the edges though.

The gridlines in JotNot help for adjusting skewed images

You can choose from four document types to help JotNot process the image: receipts, blackboards, whiteboard and colour documents or standard black and white printed pages. You can also set the contrast in advance but unless you do a lot of experimentation you’re not likely to know in advance what to set this too, so the option is in the wrong place. If you want to change these settings afterwards, JotNot takes you back to the same screen so you have to be careful not to change the cropping size if you only want to adjust the contrast.

All the adjustment options are before you see the final scan, and some are hidden by ads

Like Turboscan, JotNot removes colored backgrounds, which results in odd-looking documents. It didn’t produce the clearest text and shadows often persisted as noise on the page.

JotNot did best with large, clear text but this scan has a distinct color cast.

In the free version, you can fax or print your scans, or save individual pages as JPEGs. Alternatively you can connect to the app from a Web browser or using Bonjour to extract your documents. Upgrade to JotNot Scanner Pro and you can export to a wide range of cloud services (EverNote, Google Docs, Dropbox and Box) or email your scans.

Mary Branscombe is an experienced freelance journalist, editor and author, who has been writing for more than three decades. Her work has appeared in The Financial Times, The Guardian, Tom's Guide, and many more. She has also written several novels — including the Cassidy At Large technomysteries — and two IT guides alongside her writing partner, Simon Bisson.

  • blackmagnum
    They work... but not well.
  • Instead if trying to use weird apps that gives you crappy results you can use document scanning services like Kirtas at or .

  • CTRL + F ... click "Replace".
    Find "EverNote"
    Replace with "Evernote"
    THEN submit article. Even your screenshots show the application - which clearly says "Evernote".
  • The company and product names are "Evernote" not "EverNote"
  • Patrick Benesch
    A new app that creates high quality scans is Scandock