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Phone Scan-to-PDF Apps

We are scanning homework (and more) for electronic submission (due to the Covid-19 pandemic and remote learning, but this will be common in the future).

It is important to get an app that you know how to use well so that you can scan homework to a PDF document for uploading to WesternOnline.  Most use a phone or iPad.  Three suggested are below.

Note: Before scanning, make sure you have your name on your paper and write what assignment you are doing (for example, “3.2 homework”).

Basics* (many of these may be done automatically)

  1. Use good light. A shadow (or a shadow from the phone) can distort the image.
  2. Hold the phone/iPad still so that it can focus before you take the picture.
  3. Make sure it is a PDF (portable document format) and not a .jpg (graphic).
  4. Make sure the pages are upright.
  5. If the homework has multiple pages, scan them into one (PDF) document. In most cases, you will upload one file to WO (WesternOnline).
  6. Crop down to the page itself (no need to see you feet or your cat in the background).

*As with all technology, learn from friends and classmates and ask questions.

Strongly Encouraged

  1. Use a descriptive filename. Most apps allow you to do this near the beginning of the process. You might even make a simple naming system for yourself, so you can consistently name your files every week.
  2. Save a copy for yourself where you can find it later.

Recommended Apps

  1. Dropbox – I highly recommend Dropbox, which is a very good cloud storage system. It can be synced to your computer.  It has a built in scanning app. The PDF’s can be saved to your Dropbox.  Tip: navigate to the folder first then hit the plus to add a file. Dropbox also has a Dropbox Scan app.
  2. Lens – This is a free scanning app from Microsoft.
  3. Adobe Scan – I have not used it, but others have recommended it.


Here’s a video I made which may have tips for you. (Actually many of the apps have been improved and are even easier to use now than the one in the video from March 2020.)