Genius Scan your way to a clean desktop!

One of the main topics of my blog is how to go paperless with the iPad. Since I started back in July 2011 I had always been a Blackberry Phone user…until when I traded in the Curve for an iPhone 4S. I could devote many blog entries to my new phone, but for today I am just going to write about Genius Scan+.

Throughout my experimentation with the iPad I had looked for efficient ways to get my desk paper into Evernote; check out my EN posts here, here and especially here. I have a newer, large HP multi-function copier/printer/scanner right outside my office which does a good job scanning and can even scan in duplex mode (double-sided paper). The problem with this workflow is the process of logging into my network account on the little HP screen; a definite pain. And, any productivity guru will tell you that if something is remotely “hard” to do with respect to organization the task will be left undone. This of course is the point of buying a fancy label printer along with stacks of fresh filing folders in the GTD System; I.e. make it easy and quick to clear your desk before it gets cluttered. So, given the extra step of logging in I tend to let stuff pile up or I revert to throwing stuff in a file folder…which I generally just leave on my desk anyway. I could buy one of the desktop scanners that integrate directly with Evernote, but am too cheap to buy one myself and too lazy to convince IT to buy one for me. This was my plight until my new iPhone!

My wife has had a iPhone 4 now for a little over a year which has allowed me some time to play in advance of getting my phone. One app I ran across was the free version of Genius Scan. There are a few resources out on the web that compare the various scanning apps here and here if you are interested in some of the other options.

From time to time over the past year I have used Genius Scan to take a picture of some random document at home which I then forwarded along to Evernote via my EN input email address (step 4 in this post). The process is certainly easier than scanning in via my clunkly HP work scanner, way better than piling paper up in unused folders, but not perfect…until I discovered that Genius Scan+ which can integrate directly with Evernote AND Dropbox. The free version of Genius can only scan and email…which for many people should be good enough.

Why is Evernote and/or Dropbox integration significant? Well, by having my new Evernote Button in Genius I can now scan directly to Evernote in one step (after cropping and optimizing the scanned photo in Genius). Whereas before I had to send the scanned document to My EN email address and then file the document later on the iPhone, iPad, my work computer or my home Mac. Yes, just one less step, but multiply that one step times all those pieces of paper that pop up throughout the day. Again, not a lot of time but just enough time to make me more app to scan those loose of pieces of paper as they appear on my desk…in way under 2 minutes a scan! And, if you have read anything about GTD you know that if something can be done in 2 minutes or less it should be done now! And that is the genius of Genius Scan+!

I am sure you can achieve the same benefit from just about any of the other iPhone Scanners, I just happened to choose Genius because it had the simplest interface according to this review and for me is simply easier to use day in and day out.

You may also be wondering about Genius Scan on the iPad, well that works to! Check out the scans below I took on my son’s iPad 2 (yes, I have the 1 and my 9 year old son has a 2…long story).


Want to see how easy scanning and storing is for me?

Step 1: Take a picture of your document (this is on my iPhone 4S)

Step 2: Crop and Optimize (2 settings, either color or B&W)

Step 3: Store in Evernote or Dropbox

That’s it!

Download the free version of Genius Scan and give it a try! If you like the app and use Dropbox or Evernote, go ahead and shell out the 2.99 for the full version!

Let me know what you think.

Top photo courtesy of Rosemary out on Flickr! Thanks for posting your beautiful photo under the Creative Commons License!


  1. Hey there! Quick question that’s totally off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My weblog
    looks weird when viewing from my iphone4.
    I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to
    fix this problem. If you have any recommendations, please share.
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  1. If you still write on paper, you get those notes into your iPad with Evernote! « Evernote « tabletproductive - [...] the iPad and Evernote. But, I have also written about those times when paper is necessary. For me, Genius …

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