The best scanning app
Free and refreshingly straightforward, Adobe Scan is the perfect app if all you need is clean PDFs and reliable text recognition.
Adobe Scan (for Android and iOS) is great at capturing the sort of documents life throws at you on a once-in-a-while basis—stuff like rebate forms, tax documents, and the occasional business card. It isn’t as complex or powerful as apps like CamScanner or our upgrade pick, ScanPro, and it can export only PDFs. But its simplicity means it’s extremely easy to use, and its scans look even better than those from other top scanning apps. It automatically stores every scan you capture on Adobe Document Cloud, so your scans are accessible from any phone, tablet, or computer. And its useful dedicated scanning modes mean you can add new contacts from business cards and fill out forms right on your device.
Microsoft Office Lens
If you need to export formatted text
Office Lens is especially good if you use Microsoft Office, but it’s a solid option for anyone who wants free scanning with (mostly) properly formatted OCR results.
If you like the sound of Adobe Scan’s simplicity but spend a lot of time working in the Microsoft Office suite, Microsoft Office Lens (Android and iOS) is the way to go. Its user interface is similarly stripped down, but the output options include Word documents and PowerPoint slides in addition to PDFs. Its scans don’t look as clean as what you can get from Adobe Scan or ScanPro, and you may find its sharing options annoyingly limited. But its world-class text recognition almost makes up for those drawbacks.
Expensive but powerful
ScanPro’s extra features and sharing options make it a more versatile, powerful app than Adobe Scan or Office Lens. But that versatility comes at a cost, especially for iOS users.
ScanPro (Android and iOS) is a more full-featured app than Adobe Scan or Office Lens, offering stuff like custom folders for better organization, smart file naming, iCloud syncing, and automatic uploading to your choice of more than a dozen cloud storage services. ScanPro produces good-looking scans across a variety of document types, including books, business cards, and even photos. It can perform OCR in dozens of languages, and the results are very good, if not quite best in class. However, the iOS app relies on a relatively expensive subscription model, and the more affordable (non-subscription) Android app isn’t as fully developed as the iOS version (though it’s still more feature-rich than our other picks). Ultimately, we think ScanPro makes sense only for people who really need the extra features.