Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Tech Tuesday - Apps for Genealogy - CamScanner

While on the recent Unlock the Past Genealogy cruise, I was asked about some of the apps I use for genealogy.
It was then suggested that I write about some of these on my blog.
I am by no means an expert. 
Most of those I will write about are just some apps suggested by others or found in iTunes that I have tried and used in my genealogy research.
Here is the first:
Partial view of CamScanner for iPad in iTunes

My favourite is CamScanner.

This comes as a free app for both iPad and iPhone (different apps).

I love this app because turns my iPad or iPhone into a portable scanner.
And, until archives and libraries allow us to take our Flip Pals in and use them, this is the next best thing.

You have probably tried to take a photo of a document (or photo) with your iPad and found that you either get shadows (because you are blocking some of the light source) or the image ends up a bit skewed (because you weren’t able to line it up completely square).

CamScanner helps in two ways:
- it can provide you with a grid – to help you line it up
- it can automatically correct the orientation of the document.
Partial view of CamScanner for iPhone in iTunes

The latter is the real bonus.

First you take your photo – and you must take it through the CamScanner app, not using the usual camera on your device.

The app then detects what it thinks are the edges and corners of your document.

If these are not correct, which often happens when there is a lot of white space (such as a letter), you are easily able to adjust the borders using your finger. 
When you touch the screen, the corner magnifies so you can really hone in on the edge that you want. This also allows to you crop the image.

When you have adjusted all the corners and edges, you press Next to move onto some editing features, such as rotate, lighten / darken etc.
Then you press Save

When you press the share button, you can choose to email it as a pdf or a jpg.
You can also share it via, eg print or uploading to the Cloud.

I haven’t tried all the extra functions that come with this app (yet), including OCR, annotations and even watermarks.
If you have tried these, I’d love to hear how they worked for you.

This app does all I need it to do without purchasing the premium version.
I believe there is also a version for android devices.


  1. Thank you so much for this great post on CamScanner for genealogists. I have this app on my android smartphone and other devices and love it! You have a wonderful blog site here -- Happy Ancestor Hunting to you!

  2. Great post - have tweeted it on the @kuringgaihs Twitter account.

    And yes we Android users love CamScanner too.