Adobe Scan is a free mobile scanner and OCR tool

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 13, 2020
Apps, Google Android

Adobe Scan is a free application for Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems that supports scanning any document using the device's built-in cameras. Apart from that, it is also capable of detecting text using optical character recognition so that it may be processed further.

I looked at the Android version of Adobe Scan: PDF & Business Card Scanner with OCR, the full name of the application, for this review.

Adobe Scan requires that you create an account or use an existing one; you may use a Google or Facebook account for that, an Adobe account, or create a new one. Once that is out of the way, it takes you directly to the scan interface.

Note that you may select different scan modes that it supports. Next to the scanning of documents, you may use it to scan business cards (and turn them into readable data that you may import to Contacts right away), forms, or whiteboards.

The application is dead-easy to use which is one of its greatest strengths. Just point it at any document that you want to scan using the mobile device and hit the capture button to do so. You need to make sure that the document is visible in its entirety but don't need to pay special attention to the document borders as Adobe Scan is capable of identifying those automatically.

The automatic detection worked really well during tests but you may adjust borders manually should it fail (which it never did when I tested it).

adobe scan android

Scans may be accessed in the app once they have been processed. Processing did not take long on the Google Pixel 3a smartphone and the quality of the scan was very good.

The viewer displays a number of tools at the bottom that you may use, and you may save the scan as a PDF file at any point in time.

Apart from adding pages (to create multi-page documents) and reordering pages, you may crop and rotate scans, change color filters (e.g. from a colored scan to grayscale), or use the cleanup tool to fill an area with a color (e.g. for removing information or smudges).

Text is detected automatically by the application. You may save scans to the local device at any time or share them using email or other means. Note that the share option creates a link to the document on Adobe Cloud and that anyone with that link may access the document. You may prefer to save the document locally to the device and attach it to emails or chats manually.

Closing Words

Adobe Scan is a high quality scan application that scans anything that you want effortlessly. The added functionality, OCR or business card scanning and adding to contacts, are just two of the features that lots of users like about the app.

Not everyone likes Adobe on the other hand and the requirement to create an account may make some users uneasy about the service. An alternative (with ads in the free version) is Text Scanner which you may give a try as well.

Now You: do you use your mobile devices for scanning purposes?

software image
Author Rating
3 based on 7 votes
Software Name
Adobe Scan
Operating System
Android, iOS
Software Category
Landing Page

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  1. Chan Droid said on January 13, 2020 at 11:16 pm

    Just wondering how this would work for scanning and OCR’ing grocery receipts?

    I’ve tried several different Android apps but none of the have worked satisfactorily.

    What I’d like is a straight line-by-line OCR text output of the receipt, but all of them try to ‘make sense’ of each line and separate the different parts (code, item, price, etc.) out into groups or separate lines, effectively scrambling the data…

  2. Anonymous said on January 13, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    The most old app for this is “CamScanner”.
    It is rather good and lighter than office lens.

    1. Anonymous said on January 14, 2020 at 7:24 pm

      I wouldn’t recommend CamScanner, anymore. The security firm Kaspersky discovered malicious code in several updates that were rolled out between June and July of last year. It was removed from the Google Play store and CamScanner pinned the blame on a third-party advertising SDK provided by AdHub.

    2. parrottm said on January 14, 2020 at 10:32 am

      Another vote for Camscanner. Used it for years and it never disappoints.

      1. Anonymous said on January 14, 2020 at 3:59 pm

        CamScanner costs $5/mo

  3. At-M said on January 13, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    What I’ve been using for around 3+ Years now is “ScanBot” (Android only i think).
    I’ve tried officelens, adobe scan etc. but only scanbot was fast and good enough regarding quality.

    It can automatically upload them into several cloudservices, and also onenote (which I used it for)

    There’s a free and a paid version, but the free version is enough for most of the things you need.

    1. Anonymous said on January 14, 2020 at 11:07 pm

      Is Scanbot Pro subscription, it is unclear. I loaded Scanbot and tries it, it says $5.49 for Pro $8.99 for VIP but in FAQ it mentions subscriptions since version 9. So, I’m unclear on this.

      1. Anonymous said on January 17, 2020 at 4:46 am

        Subscription is on IOS version,

  4. Anonymous said on January 13, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    Mandatory accounts is a red flag for these kinds of software. OCR and image processing are not tasks that require online connectivity, irrespective of how crappy the phone is.

    1. John Fenderson said on January 13, 2020 at 6:12 pm


      I agree — requiring the use of an account (unless the nature of the software is such that an account is technically required) is a complete showstopper for me.

  5. Anonymous said on January 13, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Martin, you should check out Microsoft “Office Lens”

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