Turn physical documents into editable, searchable text with Adobe Scan

Using a smartphone camera to scan a new document is not anything new, but Adobe’s attempt at a mobile scanner uses artificial intelligence to turn the image into an editable PDF.  Adobe Scan, announced on Wednesday, is a free app for iOS and Android.

Like other scan apps, Adobe Scan snaps a photo of a document to turn it into a digital file. But, thanks to Adobe’s AI programming inside Adobe Sensi, translating a physical document to a digital one is not the end. The program will auto-recognize text, making it possible to refine the document later in Adobe Acrobat or easily copy and paste. Since the text is auto-recognized, documents become searchable too.

Adobe Sensi also powers the app’s ability to auto-recognize the document’s boundaries for an accurate crop. The program will also automatically correct perspective errors and remove shadows. Users can also fine-tune the scan with a set of manual adjustment tools, including cropping, rotating and re-ordering pages for larger documents.

“When you think of it, documents are the lifeblood of society, communicating data and information that spans contracts, textbooks, financial statements and everything in between,” wrote Abhay Parasnis, Adobe executive vice president and chief technology officer. “The challenge is unlocking the intelligence that lives in those documents, and extracting meaning that can be searched, analyzed and incorporated into digital workflows. Adobe Scan represents a critical step toward our broader innovation imperative for Adobe Document Cloud, and there’s much more to come.”

The tradeoff for the smarter scans? The app is cloud-based. The documents are automatically uploaded to the free Adobe Document Cloud in-app for access across multiple devices while exporting options comes with the $10 a month PDF Pack. Subscribers also have access to extras like adding signatures and merging PDFs. Adobe Scan is available from both the App Store and Google Play.