App of the Week: Scanbot (and Scanner Pro)

This week’s App of the Week is Scanbot

As years pass, I solidify my mainstay productivity apps. I might try 100 todo or scanner apps, but many of the ones I depend on have been on my home screen for years. For a very long time, Readdle’s Scanner Pro was my scanner app of choice for getting documents and sheet music from the real world into my digital database. Scanbot has recently come to challenge it. 

Rather than explain all of the features, I have simply embedded a quick screencast below that shows it off. Both Scanner Pro and Scanbot allow the user to very quickly get paper into their phone, make the text searchable, neaten up the edges, and prepare the document for sharing. Both apps make it easy to customize ways to send finished documents to specific locations in your file system. Scanner Pro does this through custom workflows and Scanbot does it by remembering my most commonly saved locations in my iCloud and Google Drive (you can see this on the last screen of the screencast). But Scanbot has a few nice touches that ultimately push me over the edge, especially considering how tedious scanning documents with a phone can be...

Getting the final scan into a particular location is smoother for me in Scanbot because it always has my most recently saved locations one tap away. I also really like the way that when selecting the edges of the paper, Scanbot has handles that drag an entire edge, whereas Scanner Pro only has handles in the four corners. Notice in the video how Scanbot even detects the edge when I get close and automatically snaps to the edge of the page. Note that both of these apps have an automatic mode that detects the edges for you and bypasses this step. I just wanted to demo the neat snapping feature in the video.

Both apps also create a folder in iCloud Drive that will automatically save all snapped documents so that you can instantly run over to another device like your Mac and get to your new files.

Scanner Pro does have a few unique features. First, its custom workflows are very powerful and can do multiple things with your finished PDF (for example: save a document to Evernote with specific tags, add it to a specific folder in Dropbox, and email it to a coworker all in one tap). Second, it can scan your camera roll for things that look like documents (maybe a business card or a page you shot on your camera in a hurry) and transform them into PDFs on the spot. Third, it integrates with Readdle's other great productivity apps, like PDF Expert

Check out these awesome scanning apps and level up your digital organization!

MMEA Session Notes - Working With Digital Scores

Tomorrow I will be presenting at the Maryland Music Educators Association's Fall Conference. The session I am presenting is all about Working with Digital Scores. I will be covering file management, scanning, and score reading software such as forScore. I am also going to be digging in to some of the new iPad productivity features that shipped with iOS 11 last month. If you are going to be at the conference, come say hi!

Here are the session notes for the session...

Click here to view the session notes in Evernote!


Working with Digital Scores Session Notes - Robby Burns - MMEA In Service, October 20, 2017

Apps for Scanning:

Apple Notes App

Evernote Scannable 

Scanner Pro

Tiny Scanner


Sheet Music Scanner


Apps for Managing Files:

Files App


Google Drive




Apps for Working with Scores:


unReal Book





Notes on forScore:

Link to my blog post on creating indexes with forScore


My Book:

Digital Organization Tips for Music Teachers

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Oxford University Press

View the video trailer


About Me:

Robby Burns

Twitter | Blog | Podcast | Email

PDF Converter - an app for turning stuff on your iOS devices into PDFs

In the second most recent episode of my podcast, Paul Shimmons and I discuss apps for working with PDFs. One of the apps I mentioned, PDF Converter by Readdle, is an excellent solution for for turning content in apps into PDFs. PDF Converter turns a variety of data (websites, articles, documents, photos, etc.) into elegant PDFs and is available as an extension on iOS so it can be accessed from within any app. See the video below.

The result doesn’t look incredibly elegant in this case because PDF Expert struggled with the ads on the website. In most cases, it does a decent job and even with stuff like this web article, I now have a text searchable copy of that article on my computer’s hard drive.


Readdle Brings Drag and Drop to their iOS apps! What is this black magic!??!

A timely followup to MacStories’ iOS 11 Wish List Video

One of my favorite productivity app developers, Readdle, has added drag and drop support to all of their iOS apps. This means that you can actually drag an email attachment from Spark Mail on one half of your iPad's screen onto the Documents app on the other half of your screen and drop it in a folder. It works the other way too, allowing you to drag files from Documents into mail messages in Spark as email attachments.

For those of you who don’t know, Documents is a fantastic app and pretty much serves the role that a Finder app would if Apple ever chose to release one on iPad. Readdle’s apps are featured prominently throughout my book. PDF Expert, Documents, and Scanner Pro are especially useful in my daily teaching workflow.

Readdle has a great blog post demoing this feature and explaining how they were able to pull it off. It really is black magic! Read the post here.

Watch the video below.