Turn your iPad into a scanner, copier, and fax with Scanner Pro

This inexpensive app turns the iPad (iPhone too) into a full-featured scanner that connects to the cloud. It prints to make copies and can fax documents cheaply over the web.

Freelancers and others who work from home sometimes need standard business tools such as scanners, copiers, and fax machines. These can be expensive, especially since most aren't needed very often. A cheap app for the iPad can turn it into all of those office tools.

Scanner Pro ($6.99) uses the iPad (or iPhone) camera to snap high-resolution images from documents. I prefer the iPad with Scanner Pro as the larger display makes it easier to manipulate the recorded document.

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Once a document is snapped using the app, it can be sent to the cloud (Evernote, DropBox, Google Docs) for storage. The scanned document can be printed to any printer that supports Air Print, turning the iPad into a simple copier.

Documents can also be sent directly to any computer over the local Wi-Fi network. This is an easy way to get PDFs into the computer using just the iPad.

Scanned documents can also be faxed over the web for $0.99 handled as an in-app purchase. The fax recipient can be manually entered or picked from the user's contact list. The faxes are sent in just a few seconds once paid for in the app.

When a document is snapped by the app (multiple pages are supported), the app automatically determines the document borders before saving. They are clearly marked on the document image and can be easily moved by touch. This is important as it provides a great way to limit a copy/ fax to only a portion of a scanned page if desired.

Scanner Pro can save scanned documents as either JPEG images or PDF documents. It is possible to open the scanned image in an appropriate app for handling the selected document type from within Scanner Pro. This allows further manipulation of the resultant file when necessary.

The iPad with Scanner Pro has been serving me as a capable scanner, copier, and fax machine for a while. I don't need any of these functions often, but when I do this method works quite well and for a low cost. Just as importantly it takes almost no desk space, unlike the equipment it has replaced.

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