PDFpen Scan+ Scanning App

PDFpen Scan+ icon

Smilesoftware has released PDFpen Scan+ and app that allows you to use your iOS device to “scan” and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) documents. Once they are scanned, you can then share them using email, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive and with other methods.

The concept is simple. Open the app and use your camera to take a picture of the document. The app captures the image. After that, you can OCR (covert readable text into searchable text) and then store the image.

The features are as follows:

  • One-touch scanning directly from your iPhone or iPad camera
  • Scan multiple images into a single document
  • Detect page edges automatically and crop scan
  • Use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to convert scans into searchable PDFs (OCR is performed in-app, not sent to a cloud service)
  • Copy text recognized by OCR
  • Email and share PDF documents with embedded, searchable OCR text
  • Import scans from your photo library
  • Import scans from image and PDF files via “Open In…”
  • Store documents in iCloud for sharing between devices
  • Rotate scanned pages
  • Enhance brightness/contrast of scanned pages
  • Adjust scan resolution for color, grayscale, and text
  • Print documents
  • Share documents with PDFpen for markup and editing
  • Import and Export documents using Dropbox, Evernote, Box, Alfresco, and Google Drive cloud services
  • Import and Export documents using iTunes, FTP, and WebDAV

The basic steps to capture a document are as follows:

  • Open the app
  • Screenshot
  • Lay your receipt, page, note, etc. on a flat contrasting surface.
  • Take the picture of the document from within the app.
  • Let the app detect the edges of the document and crop automatically or adjust the edges.
  • Screenshot
  • Adjust the resolution and select the color to preserved…black and white, grey or color.
  • Screenshot
  • Name the document and save it.
  • Screenshot

You can even scan in multiple pages and create a single document. Once the pages are scanned in can you can drag and drop to reorder.

You can watch a 5 minute video of the app in use here.

You can use iCloud to store documents and access them through PDFpen Scan+ on your other devices. However, you cannot access your PDFpen Scan+ documents from PDFpen for iPad or iPhone. You will need to export the document instead.


There are several apps that turn your iOS device into a portable scanner. Few combine all of the features offered by PDFpen Scan+ into one app. As to the OCR function, keep in mind, the better and more legible the original (not crumpled and a poor quality font) the better success with OCR.  If you are looking for an all in one app with the ability to simply scan, combine multiple pages and OCR, you should definitely check this app out.


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