Hack your commute: Digitise your paper documents


Are you someone who prefers making handwritten notes to smartphone memos? Someone who believes the best way to read something with due consideration is to have it printed out so you can make notes in the margins? Someone who needs to make mark-ups on proofs on a regular basis?

If so, on more than one occasion you have probably found yourself sitting on a train frustrated at the realisation that your most important piece of work only exists in hard copy, and you don’t have it with you. If you match this description, a mobile scanner app could be just what you’re looking for.

Apps such as Notebloc offer a simple solution for quickly digitising, filing and sharing handwritten notes and hard-copy documents. Available for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play, Notebloc allows you to photograph your document, then creates a PDF that automatically detects the edges of the paper and smoothes out shadows and lighting to produce a white background.

The file can then be shared via email or cloud services, sent to a printer or saved to your device storage directly from the app. In effect, it’s like having an office document scanner in your pocket, but without the clunky user interface. To complete the portfolio, Notebloc even sells its own range of notepaper through its website.

Alternative scanner apps include Adobe Scan, which possesses may of the same functions as well as automatic text recognition, making text selectable. However it requires you to sign up to marketing emails and only offers cloud storage. There’s also Microsoft’s Office Lens, which can additionally save the text from a scanned document as a Word .doc file, but with somewhat variable results.

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