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article imageAdobe's new app will make you a PDF from just a photo

By James Walker     Jun 2, 2017 in Technology
Adobe has launched a new app that uses the power of your phone's camera to create editable PDFs from photos of documents. Called Adobe Scan, it employs optical character recognition technology to convert written words into printed text in real-time.
Announced today, Adobe Scan is intended to be used by professionals and students who routinely take photos of printed documents to save them for later. Rather than keep the files in your camera roll, Scan uploads them to the cloud and converts them into editable PDFs.
The result is a set of documents that's far easier to find and refer to than an image file on your phone's camera. The app is powered by Adobe's Sensei technology, a machine learning platform that processes the photo from your camera into an image that looks like a scanned document.
When you take a photo, Scan will intelligently automatically crop it to the borders of the document. It then automatically removes any shadows and variations in light intensity for a uniform appearance. Further tweaks include a perspective correction phase that makes sure everything looks straight on the page.
When you save the captured document, it will be uploaded to the Adobe Document Cloud. As Document Cloud is accessible from desktops, smartphones and the web, you can access the file wherever you are. If you have a subscription to Adobe's Acrobat DC PDF reader software, you can start to edit its contents or add a digital signature as soon as it's uploaded.
Adobe Scan is an obvious attempt to win over fast-moving, mobile-first users who find themselves sorting through reams of photos to find an important document. For those seeking to become entirely paperless but struggling to keep digital files organised, Scan presents a simple solution.
"Adobe Scan turns your phone or tablet into a powerful scanning and text recognition tool that converts printed text into digital text that can then be re-used wherever you need it," said Adobe. "Whether you’re snapping a picture of a slide during a planning meeting to work into your yearly plan, or grabbing an image of a design board off your camera roll and reworking the copy before sending to your client for approval – Adobe Scan helps you get work done from anywhere."
It's worth noting that Adobe Scan isn't the first entry into this market. Microsoft's Office Lens has been available on mobile devices for years and offers more features than Scan. Office Lens uses similar post-processing techniques to convert photos into scan-reminiscent documents. Unlike Scan, it offers several different output options though, including PDF, a OneNote page or an immediately editable Word document. Everything is uploaded to Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage.
While Scan doesn't offer anything new to existing Office Lens users, it's likely to become an important companion app for users tied into Adobe's ecosystem. For a heavy Document Cloud user who works across several Adobe apps, Scan makes it simple to create PDFs and save them straight into your regular workflow. It's available now on iOS and Android.
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