Flight ticket stubs; receipts; random pieces of paper with inspired scribbles. Sometimes it feels like life is full of little pieces of paper we have to keep track of. It can get overwhelming, but it doesn't have to: You're armed with a smartphone. CamNote is a clever and free app for turning your phone into a scanner. I found it on James Lim's App Gem Finds channel, and have been quite impressed with it.
CamNote is based on a simple workflow:
Ideally, the end result is an image that looks like it came from a scanner, or at least a FAX. It doesn't look like something you took with a smartphone camera: The text is crisp and clear, and the document is centered and correctly aligned.
Note that there's nothing here about syncing to the cloud, no usernames or passwords, or anything else that's even slightly complicated. And if you feel like you don't need some of the steps (naming and tagging, for example), you can just go ahead and skip those.
It's difficult to talk about phone-to-scanner apps without mentioning CamScanner, an app that basically does the same thing, and maybe even a little bit more. But CamScanner isn't really free: There's a basic version that's offered for free, but you may well find yourself needing extra features, and shelling out for the paid version. Before you do that, you should take CamNote for a serious spin: You're in for a pleasant surprise.
I've tested CamNote with three different samples: A page from a magazine, a map, and a large fridge magnet (much like a sign you might see at a store).
The magazine sample was fine, but didn't blow me away. The map scanning output was definitely more impressive, and was admirably clear. But the best of all three was the fridge magnet: The automatic cropping was perfect, and the image was crystal-clear.
Finding your notes is easy: The main screen consists of a list of your notes, chronologically ordered, each with its title and tags. You can easily search your notes or filter them by tag, too.
You may not use CamNote every day, but it's one of those apps you'll be happy to have when you need it. If you use your Android phone like a Swiss army knife, CamNote should be one of the tools in your arsenal.