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How to Scan PDF files Inside iPhone or iPad Notes App

The almost hidden feature of the notes app is arguably one of the best document scanner there is.

iPad Notes App.
How to scan a document in Notes App.

There’s a hidden feature of the Notes app that is quite powerful and useful especially in this age of paper less transactions. These days we find ourselves scrambling to scan documents, then signing it using our electronic signature. Here is a guide on how to do that without the need to download a different app and without the need for any of those fancy all in one printers that has a scanner on it. We will also guide you through accessing the hidden features of the app. This works on both your iPhone and on your iPad.

How to Scan a document on iPhone or iPad

The document scanner is quite hidden in the Notes app on your iPhone and your iPad. You can access it by following this guide:

  1. Open the Notes app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Create a new note or tap on an existing note to add the document to it.
  3. Tap the camera button at the bottom of the screen or above the keyboard.

Make sure that the document is on a flat surface in a well lit area.

A yellow box will appear as the camera begins scanning and looking for the document. Just like when taking portrait phots in the photos app, you’ll see tips like “get closer” as your device looks for the edges and corners of the paper. Click on save and you’re done. If you have multiple pages, you can repeat the process to add additional scans to the document.

Once it identifies the document, it will automatically capture a scan. You may also click on the shutter button if your iPhone is struggling to find the corners of the document. This can happen when your document and the table you placed the document is of the same color.

After taking the scan, the document appears on your Notes app and automatically uses the first line of your scanned document as the title of the scan. By default, it automatically scans the document in full color, but you can change it to black and white by clicking on the icon that looks like three circles on top of the scan document. The Black & White option adds contrast to your document. You can edit the scanned document by clicking on that icon after the scan.

How to Sign and Share your Scanned Document

Once you’re done scanning the document, you can mark it up with any of the built in markup tools in the Notes app. You can highlight, handwrite, add text box, shapes or arrows, and even add your signature right from the Notes app.

  1. Tap the document in the note.
  2. Tap the Share button, then tap Markup
  3. Tap the Plus button, then tap Signature, and add a saved signature or create a new signature. Then you can adjust the size of the signature box and place it wherever you want in the document.
  4. Tap Done and the scanned document will save all the markup changes you made.

After saving the file, you can use the document just as you would a normal document. You can open it in your Mail app and attach it to an email, or send it in a text message. You can also save it in the cloud as a PDF file or just leave it in the notes app for future reference. This is the easiest way to scan documents on the go without the need to look for your scanner in your office to get it done.

Other Notes

Scanning a document works best if you shoot it from above. But snapping the document from an angle also works as Notes will automatically correct and straighten things for you. You can scan receipts, business cards and they all look super sharp and takes less than a minute to achieve.

The next time you’re in a hurry to scan a document, or make a digital copy of a receipt for reimbursement or business card, remember that you have the powerful Notes app always at your disposal. This is especially useful as we embrace the new world of paperless.

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