Even though we live in a digital age, some of the information you need -- a fly-casting article from your granddad's 1952 issue of Field and Stream, receipts from your business trips, an idea you jotted down on a restaurant napkin -- is still in old-fashioned paper form. That makes it easy to misplace and cumbersome to carry around. You could scan it electronically and create a digital copy on your computer's hard drive. But that requires lugging that pile of paper back to your desk, waiting while the scanning software loads on your computer, carefully positioning all the pages face down, and getting the lid on your desktop scanner to close properly (no easy task, in the case of hardcover books with stiff bindings).
Gee, that seems like a whole lot of work for a little convenience. Wouldn't it be so much easier if you could simply snap a picture of a paper document with your iPhone and then automatically convert that picture into a searchable electronic file you can access on any of your devices? Wouldn't it be even better if your phone could use optical character recognition (OCR) to convert the item's contents into text, so that you could paste the information into an e-mail or a word-processing document?
Well, surprise -- you can. There are a slew of apps that will turn your phone into a pocket-sized scanner that does much of what a desktop scanner does. Additionally, you now can scan stuff anyplace anytime -- think the public library, government records archives, and other places you wouldn't want to lug a portable scanner and laptop. And you might find a simplified iPhone app easier and faster to use than a complicated desktop scanner program. Here are five scanning apps to consider downloading.