How to Use the New iOS 11 Document Scanner in Notes on iPad and iPhone

Friday September 22, 2017 10:35 AM PDT by Juli Clover

In iOS 11, there's a new feature in Notes that allows you to quickly scan all kinds of documents so you can keep track of everything from receipts to recipes to photos.

The Document Scanner detects the edges of a document, aligns things properly, and removes all glare and tilt so you get a clean scan every time. The new feature is available on both iPhone and iPad. Here's how to use it:

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Create a new note.
  3. If the keyboard is open, tap on the black "+" button located above the keyboard. On iPhone, it's in the middle, and on iPad, it's on the right side of the display.
  4. If the keyboard is closed, tap on the yellow "+" button at the bottom of the Notes app.
  5. Choose "Scan Documents."

Once the document scanning interface is open, there are a few additional steps to follow to get a clear scan.

  1. Tap on the three circles at the top to choose color, grayscale, black and white, or photo for your scan. The default option is color.
  2. Tap on the flash icon if you need to adjust the flash options. The default is auto, which will cause the flash to go off if you're in a room with low light.
  3. Focus the camera on your document, making sure the yellow box is lined up with the edges of your document.
  4. When it's aligned, press on the camera button to snap a photo.
  5. Adjust the edges of your scan to get a perfect alignment. The Notes app will automatically correct for any tilting.
  6. If the scan is to your liking, choose "Keep Scan." If you want to try again, choose "Retake."

The Document Scanner is set up to take multiple scans in a row, so once you tap "Keep Scan," it returns to the scanning interface. To get back to Notes after you've scanned all of your documents, you'll need to tap on "Save."


Your scanned document is inserted into the current note, where it can be edited. To edit, simply tap on the scan. Editing tools include adding an additional scan, cropping, changing the color, changing the orientation, and opening up the Share sheet to send it to Messages, Mail, social networks, and other apps.


Apple's document scanning tools are well engineered and impressive, producing dozens of clear, clean scans in our tests, with excellent performance on everything from photos to documents. Apple's new Notes tool rivals even well-established third-party document scanners and can easily replace them.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
33 months ago
I love it but it LACKS “save as pdf”.
I am still using Scanbot because i need this.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago

I love it but it LACKS “save as pdf”.
I am still using Scanbot because i need this.


Actually if you hit the share option when you click on the scanned doc, one of the option is to make PDF, which I assume also lets you combine multiple pages from a single scan session.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago

Really? Scanner Pro is still way better. the scan itself is darker and easier to read, it scans text (OCR) automatically so it is easily searchable and it saves as .pdf in any location you want.

I agree. I just used Notes to do a couple tests and Scanner Pro gets a PDF scanned and in my ~/Documents folder with fewer steps.

I think using Notes for this will be okay for the occasional user who does not have something like Scanner Pro, but Scanner Pro seems more streamlined for this purpose.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
It does a great job, especially at an angle. I wish, though, that this were a standalone capability. Don't want to create (and then delete) a note, just to get a scanned document. Relatively minor nit, but a nit, nonetheless.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago

Where do you store your notes? I think you need to use iCloud or similar. Exchange or similar do not have these options.

I like the scanning, and it is surprisingly crisp even in poor conditions. Now some kind of OCR possibility would be even greater.

Thank you! I was using notes in yahoo and not iCloud. Now it works!
[doublepost=1506106995][/doublepost]

I had this problem when they updated it to RTF. I think I had to turn on iCloud notes. I could be wrong though. I can’t remember how I got it to work. I checked my settings to see if there was something obvious. I didn’t see it.

Should look like this.

Thank you! It works with iCloud notes and not with Yahoo.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
Forgive me cause I’m slow lol but what’s the difference between this and taking a photo?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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