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How To Quickly Scan Documents in the Notes App

Did you know that your iPhone and iPad can Scan Documents and send them as PDFs? We’ve been scanning documents way before smartphones were available. The machines were clunky and expensive. With the new camera technology in your iPhone and iPad, it’s easy to turn any document into a digital version that’s always available.

How To Scan Documents Using the Notes App

Before scanning a document, the first thing you should consider is placing it in the best position to get your desired results.

If the document you want to capture is primarily white, place it on a darker background surface. Your iPhone or iPad automatically detects the document, and placing it on a surface with a white background will confuse the camera.

  • Open the Notes app
  • Tap to create a new Note
  • Select the camera icon
  • Tap Scan Documents
  • Frame the document with the camera, and the screen will flash yellow when the scan completes
  • Tap Save when you’re satisfied with the results and choose a destination to export as a PDF

Your iPhone or iPad will continue to scan documents until your cancel the process making it easier to scan multiple pages. 

To manually adjust the scan area. Make sure Manual is showing in the upper right corner. tap the large round button at the bottom of the screen and drag the circles to the appropriate positions.

To review or edit your scan, tap on the thumbnail of the latest scan. You can make your edits, retake the picture or tap Keep Scan to exit.

Save or Send Scanned Images As PDFs

If you’ve saved your scanned documents or images in the Notes app, you can share them as PDFs at any time. Here’s how:

  • Open the Notes app
  • Select the Note which contains your scans
  • Tap the scanned document
  • Now tap the Share icon
  • Choose how you want to share the document and complete 

When exporting from the Notes app as a PDF, you must ensure that you open the scanned image before tapping Share. Sharing the Note itself will save the file in the wrong format.

The New Scan Text Feature

Sometimes we need specific information quickly, and we want to turn that info into a digital record. That’s where the Scan Text feature shines. The Scan Text feature added in iOS 15 lets you extract the text you need from almost anything. 

The text can be extracted from a printed or handwritten note and saved in Notes. You can then edit that text and move it to other text processing apps.

Try this feature out in any app that lets you enter text. 

  • In the text entry area, tap and hold for a couple of seconds and release your finger. The scanner icon should appear.
  • Tap Scan Text or the scanner icon, and your camera will now be ready to scan. 
  • Point your camera at the text you want to scan, and it will appear in the text entry field.
  • Tap insert when you’re ready to place the text.

There may be cases where you want to use a traditional type of scan or the new Scan text feature. Both work well and can be used immediately on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.


Your old-time scanner may produce better results when capturing photographs and multiple documents, but I think you’ll find the scan feature easy to use, and the results are good enough! Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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I help mature adults master their iPhone and iPads, even if they aren’t  techie! 

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