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Mobile Scanning Recommendations

Mobile Scanning Recommendations


The Hesburgh Libraries is providing this list of scanning apps to help address possible overhead scanner access problems. We anticipate lines may be long as students and faculty seek to digitize their materials for coursework. The apps on the list are provided without support from library employees. It is incumbent on the user to find support if needed, although we can address basic questions. See the descriptions below. The list is not comprehensive and was solicited from staff and student users of these mobile scanning apps.


Free Scanning Apps


Adobe Scan 

For most users, Hesburgh Library Recommends Adobe Scan for scanning books and articles to PDF. It features OCR (optical character recognition) It is available for iOS and Android.


Microsoft Office Lens

For Windows Phone users or those aiming to turn their scan into a Word document, we recommend Microsoft Office Lens. It is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.




Camscanner is the most popular app among polled Hesburgh Library users. It is available for iOS and Android. As of 2020, premium features are available for free for Education users.


Pay Scanning Apps


Abby FineScanner AI Premium

Abby FineScanner AI Premium can perform OCR in 193 languages and output to a larger variety of formats and locations. It is available for iOS and Android. ($59.99 or as low as $2.99/month)


The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Best Practices

  • You are free to use a scanning app in the Hesburgh Library general collection areas.
  • Before using a scanning app in the University Archives or Rare Books and Special Collections you need to ask permission.
  • If you are finding that the coloring or brightness of your scans are not what you expected, try moving to a spot with more natural light or a brighter area.
  • When scanning a book by hand you may find that the binding is tight and you are not able to get the full page easily imaged. Please do not break the binding or press hard on the book or item to try to flatten it more. You can use some simple techniques like holding the page down gently with your fingertip or another item such as a ruler. If these fail to get a better image you may need to resort to the overhead scanners or ask at one of the desks for assistance. If a book gets damaged we may need to pull it from the collection for repair which then delays any other researcher from using the materials. 
  • The scanning app may work for most cases but if you are looking for higher quality or higher resolution scans for a presentation or publication you may want to consider using a flatbed or overhead scanner. The Hesburgh Libraries provides public access to overhead scanners only. The uniform lighting and better controlled conditions may assist you in obtaining a better image for publication.
  • Scanning with a handheld device may be quicker than a traditional scanner. As a result, it is important to remember to still manage your items in a way that you can keep track of all of your data. It may be helpful to start with scanning the title page and the page after the title page and/or the table of contents so that you can easily cite the source when you use it. 

Workshop Slides: Scanning Better and Neater using ABBYYFineReader & More (by Anton Povzner-Lahaie)