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Hands On: Evernote Scannable (iOS)
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MacNN Staff
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Jan 9, 2015, 10:55 AM
It's not often that software makes you laugh -- at least, not for good reasons. The new Evernote Scannable, however, is so fast at scanning documents that on our very first go, we failed to get our thumb out of the way quickly enough, and it scanned that. We really did laugh at this big, fuzzy thumb -- and were then delighted, and surprised, and genuinely impressed with what happened next. Evernote Scannable removed our thumb from the image. Automatically.

The final result has it replaced by the same white as the document we were aiming at. In this case, the effort was fairly pointless, as our thumb obscured half the planet, and we had to redo it. But you're going to use Evernote Scannable a lot for business cards, and this means you don't need to put them on a table before scanning. Just hold them toward the camera, try to not cover up anything important with your fingers, and the app will scan what you want it to scan.

We used it across every type of document we could find, but it probably is business cards that it's best for. Business cards, receipts, any fiddly little bits of paper that you need to keep information on. Wave this app at it, and it detects the edges, scans those in, and moves on -- ready for the next one. You can manually adjust what it scans, but we did not find one case where we needed to: from US letter and international A4 paper to a London train ticket we still had in our wallet, it worked out what we wanted to scan and what we didn't. By itself.

When you're done with one scan or many, you can then step through checking them out, and making broad decisions like cropping, rotating or just flat-out deleting. I never wanted your contact details anyway!

Then you have to get your scan out of the app and at the risk of gushing here, that's either easy or very easy. One tap sends the scan via email or iMessage. You can save it to your phone's Camera Roll, export it to iCloud Drive -- though we're not sure why that option is called Export rather than just "iCloud Drive," as there's currently nowhere else to export to. There's also a More option that calls up all of iOS 8's sharing extensions so you could, for instance, send a scan straight into OmniFocus.

However, the chief thing to do with your scan is to save it to Evernote. It's good that you're not required to do this, that you can have all these other destinations, but it is Evernote that works best. After you've logged in for the first time, and it has retrieved a list of your notebooks, you save to Evernote with a single tap.

It's also very much expecting you to be doing this with business cards, so as well as signing you in to Evernote, it wants you to sign in to LinkedIn, where it will pull some extra information to supplement the person's card (if they have a LinkedIn account). The company clearly wants you to also use its Evernote-branded edition of Fujitsu ScanSnap, and there's an animated ad for that which shows how you can control your scanner. That feels like a different app, though, and anyway as much as we might recommend the Fujitsu scanners, the Evernote branding adds far, far too much to the retail price.

We're generally fans of Evernote -- we'd like the main app to be faster, and we've regularly been disappointed with Evernote support -- but the new Evernote Scannable is tremendous. It's also free, so even if you're locked into OneNote or DEVONthink instead of Evernote, go get it from the App Store anyway. Do note that it requires iOS 8.

Who is Evernote Scannable for:
Anyone with an iPhone, bits of paper that need digitizing, and an Evernote account.

Who is Evernote Scannable not for:
It's not worth buying an iPhone for if you haven't got one, but it is worth getting an Evernote account: basic levels are free.

-- William Gallagher (@WGallagher)
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Jan 10, 2015 at 07:14 AM. )
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Jan 9, 2015, 02:12 PM
Did you notice the "activity log" that this maintains? Did you notice that there is no apparent way to delete it?Wonder who has access to what you are scanning.
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