FineScanner Takes on Your Desktop Device

There are plenty of times when a scanner is useful. Turning hard-copy pictures into digital files and converting multiple loose receipts into one document for an expense report are two examples that come to mind. But scanning takes time to set up and execute. And it’s rarely easy on the go, unless you carry around your all-in-one printer/scanner/fax machine.

FineScanner takes the practice mobile and offers several ways to send and store your files. It even lets you do some basic editing before saving and sending them in PDF or JPEG format. Can FineScanner be a substitute for your desktop scanner? Find out after the break.

Snap a Shot

To use a file within FineScanner, you’re going to have to take a picture of it, as existing media on your iPhone can’t be imported into the app. But upon opening FineScanner, you should instantly be taken to the product’s camera, which has a similar look and feel to the one that’s already on your device.

You’ll notice a scrolling button next to the camera icon. This is what lets you select how many pictures you’re going to take and consolidate into a file. If you’re only going to take one, you’ll see the button grayed out.

Rip out a lot of magazine articles? Scan and convert multipage features into a single, merged PDF.

Rip out a lot of magazine articles? Scan and convert multipage features into a single, merged PDF.

But if you plan on making a multipage PDF, move the button to the right. Doing so will reveal a blue tab next to the camera icon with a number count. Another will also appear within the scrolling button itself, featuring an icon of two overlapping pages. This signals that the photos you’re about to take will be grouped together and considered one file for future sending purposes. You’re also able to snap and add more photos to a file at a later time.

Photo Fix

A few iPhone photographers get the perfect shot every time. Luckily for the rest of us, FineScanner comes with editing tools that will improve the look of files before they are shared.

Whenever a file is open, icons for these effects are stationed along the bottom of the screen. Users can crop images, switch between color or two-tone displays, adjust the brightness and rotate files.

The crop tool (left) trims an image, while the color tool (right) changes its hues.

The crop tool (left) trims an image, while the color tool (right) changes its hues.

The crop tool throws its frame around what it thinks is the intended image, which you may need to adjust. To edit the corners, a magnifying glass-style zoom hones in on the area so you can tighten up the edges.

Color options include as-is color, black-and-white, and gray. The gray (or grey, per the app) option is the best at taking an image and transforming it into a black-and-white rendition of a color photo. However the black-and-white icon drains the image of its texture and instead makes it look like a series of outlines.

Beware! Once a color image has been saved as gray, it cannot revert to color. Additionally, gray images saved as black-and-whites cannot go back to being color or gray. Remember to hit the cancel button before leaving any images you are editing and to remove any changes you don’t want to keep. This allows you to return to the original files and alter them later.

Source and Send

You’ll be given plenty of options along the way to sending out or storing your files. First, you’ll be asked if you want to send a single file — the one on the screen — or if you want to send all of the files that you have grouped together.

Peruse the file menu (left) and select the image you want to work with (right).

Peruse the file menu (left) and select the image you want to work with (right).

Second, you’ll be asked to select where the files are going to go. Choices here include an e-mail, Facebook, Evernote, Dropbox and Google Docs. You can even turn your scans into hard-copy documents by sending them to a printer. But for the other channels, just make sure that all of your accounts have been connected to your FineScanner app in the settings.

Finally, pick the format in which you want the files delivered: PDF or JPEG. If you choose PDF, all of the files you have chosen to send will be consolidated into one document.

You'll pick where the image goes (left) and in what format (right).

You’ll pick where the image goes (left) and in what format (right).

The JPEG option will rely on whether or not you elected to send one or multiple files. If you have selected to “send all,” a JPEG of each file in the collection will be attached, added or uploaded. For e-mails — after you’ve chosen a recipient for the pictures — you’ll further have to choose if you want to attach the pictures in small, medium, large or actual size.

A Substitute for a Scanner?

Overall, FineScanner is good and does what it says it will do. While the available tools are great, its internal limitation is its inability to execute more common edits, such as altering the sharpness or retouching. Beyond that, most of FineScanner’s struggles occur outside the app.

You’ll have to have a steady hand and, in order to get a perfect shot, you will have to depend on your iPhone’s camera and how well it can focus. Lighting is also key to snapping a perfect pic. Uneven light can lead to glare, shadows or over-saturated colors, so try to balance it as much as possible prior to taking a photo in FineScanner. Even if you don’t take a great shot, you can still edit a photo — provided you have the appropriate software on your computer. But with PDFs, you’ll likely be stuck with the files as they’ve been scanned.

FineScanner won’t produce as high a quality of file as most scanners will, but with a few tweaks, it comes close. You may want to hold on to your desktop device for a little while, but FineScanner’s on-the-go capabilities will make it a fine addition to your productivity arsenal.


Turns picture scans into sendable PDF and JPEG files.