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April 19, 2006

ScanR - use camera phones for OCR

scanR is a free service that lets you transform camera phone pictures into PDF documents. You can take a picture of a document, send it to scanR by email and in less than a minute you'll get a PDF file. If you save the file as text in Acrobat Reader, you'll have the text contained in the document. You can also use it for whiteboard images.

scanR requires 1 megapixel cameras for whiteboard scanning and 2 megapixel cameras for document scanning. For best results, take pictures about 12" from the document, in a well-lit area.

I tested this online OCR service with Sony Ericsson K750i and the results were pretty good. It missed some characters, so it can't be used as a replacement for an OCR software as Abbyy FineReader, but the PDF from scanR can improve the results of an OCR processing with a commercial software.

Use Gmail to break PDF DRM


  1. Sure, if you don't mind the time waiting to upload and then wait to see the results. I'd rather just use my smartphone as a "scanner" and take the image files and drop them into an application like TopOCR or FineReader. Also ScanR has limitations on the size of the file, etc, and looks like they might soon start charging for their service.

  2. Yes, the file size iz a problem, especialy if you send the file from your mobile phone - data costs!

    Try comombo, they compress the file before sending it

  3. File size is no problem if you have an unlimited data plan (very common these days). And as compression degrades quality, I'd rather pay a few cents in data comms rather than lose on the scan quality. Anyways, unless u r going to make a lot of scans a day, the added cost of data transfer is at worst marginal imho. I use after testing all three and it wins by far in quality and usability. Oh and it does color scans as well -- unless im wrong, comombo only does bw, and scanr does color only for whiteboards. My 2 cts.

  4. hey, you work for qipit!!

    you left the same comment, word for word on:

    not nice to do all that underground advertising ;)

  5. I am amazed to know that a Mobile could be used as a scanner, its great to update my knowledge, thanks to you...

    Cheers : )

  6. Yep, they are charging now.

  7. What are the existing systems that let you do OCR on mobile phones