ABBYY FineScanner is a simple iOS app that allows users to “scan” documents using their device’s camera, keep them organized and share them as appropriate with Facebook, email or various cloud storage solutions.
The app is very simple to use, though does not appear to include a tutorial or in-app help facility, so the user is left largely to discover how things work themselves. Basic functionality is easy to work out, but it’s when more advanced features come into play that this lack of documentation becomes something of a hindrance.
The basic use of the app involves taking a photograph of a document with the device’s camera, applying some mild touchups (including irregular cropping, adjusting brightness and optionally converting to black and white or grayscale) and then either saving the document within the app or sharing it via email, Facebook, Evernote, Dropbox or Google Docs. “Scanned” documents may also be printed using AirPrint, assuming a compatible device is within range.
This basic functionality is solid. The retouch facility is even able to automatically crop documents based on their contrast from the background — when tested, the app had no problem in accurately cropping out a piece of paper resting atop a desk, for example. On the occasions where it does get the cropping wrong, it’s a simple matter to either adjust it or simply use the whole photo taken. Once a document has been “scanned” it may then have tags applied to it for later retrieval in conjunction with the in-app search facility — particularly useful for power users, who may have many documents in the app and not wish to scroll through the list until they find the date they took the photos on.
The app also promises multi-page document support, though this is where things get a little more obtuse. To create a multi-page document, the user must either flip a small switch in the lower-right corner of the camera’s display (which shows a rather nondescript “O” icon normally) to turn on “batch mode” or, alternatively, open a previously-scanned document and tap on an icon with a camera and a plus sign on it, at which point the user can then either take further pictures to add to the document or add photos from the phone’s photo library. There does not appear to be a facility to merge “scanned” documents within the app, which seems like something of an oversight.
Once the user has all this figured out, however, ABBYY FineScanner is a simple and convenient means to store digital copies of important documents, organize them by title, tags and date, and save copies of them in various places around the Internet as appropriate. New users may find themselves initially a little confused by the somewhat nondescript icons in the app, but once they have experimented a little things become clear. It would be significantly improved by either an initial interactive tutorial or an in-app help facility, but as it stands it is a solid product that appears to work well — and support for such a wide range of popular cloud storage solutions is a particular bonus.
ABBYY FineScanner is available now at a special price of $0.99 for a limited period. It does not appear to be listed on our tracking service AppData at the time of writing. Check back shortly to follow its progress through the App Store charts.