Adobe Scan Turns Any Physical Document Into an Editable PDF

A free mobile app released by Adobe yesterday lets users photograph documents of any kind using their smartphones or tablets and turn them into PDF documents that can be edited, shared, and searched.

Available for iOS and Android devices, the Adobe Scan app (pictured above) cleans up photo images of documents using Adobe's Sensei artificial intelligence service. Through Adobe's optical character recognition tool, the Scan app can also convert photographed text into digital text that can be annotated using the Adobe Document Cloud's Acrobat or Acrobat Reader.

No Page Limits or Watermarks

Adobe Scan "turns your phone or tablet into a smart scanning tool -- making it easy to create digital documents from anywhere," Lisa Croft, Adobe's group product marketing manager, said in a blog post Wednesday. Unlike some other free scanning apps, Adobe Scan doesn't limit users to a set number of scanned pages or add a proprietary watermark to scanned images.

"Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in a scanning app is nothing new, but other apps typically require a subscription or paid upgrade for the technology," Croft noted. "OCR in Adobe Scan is completely free, converting printed text to digital text in seconds. It's fast and easy to capture multi-page documents too. In fact, Adobe Scan is optimized for capturing multi-page documents without sacrificing quality."

In a statement, Abhay Parasnis, the company's chief technology officer said that Adobe Scan represents a critical step toward the company's broader innovation imperative for Adobe Document Cloud.

The new tool was designed for a mobile-first world and marks a "radical reimagination of how to capture your most important document content," according to Bryan Lamkin, Adobe's executive vice president and general manager for digital media.

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