Ah, the PDF. This document format is loved by so many, and business users often depend on it. But if you have an Android tablet, how do you create a PDF? One app that makes this process incredibly easy is CamScanner. With this app, you can:

  • Generate PDFs using images from either your camera or your Gallery
  • Generate PDFs in both landscape and portrait mode
  • Easily share PDFs through upload, e-mail, gmail, and more
  • Crop images
  • Enhance images
  • Create multi-page PDFs

Although the quality of PDFs generated will depend upon numerous issues (camera quality, lighting, skill of operator, etc.), I’ve found the quality to be solid enough for everyday use. And the ability to generate these PDFs on the go makes this application a complete winner for the business class. With all of that said, let’s dig into this tool and see how it works.


The installation of CamScanner is simple. Just follow these easy instructions to have this tool on your tablet.

  1. Open the Android Market
  2. Search for “camscanner” (no quotes)
  3. Tap the Download button, and then click OK
  4. Let the installation complete

Once the tool is installed, you’ll find the launcher either on your desktop or in the application drawer. Now, it’s time to create our first PDF.

Using CamScanner

When you open CamScanner, tap on the bottom left icon (see Figure A) to begin creating a document. This will open up the CamScan camera application. At this point, it’s just a matter of snapping a picture of what you want to add to the new PDF document.
Figure A

Tap the QuickStart icon to get a quick overview of how CamScanner works.

Once you snap the picture, there are a few things you can do:

  • Free-from perspective cropping of the image (grab a corner of the green rectangle and drag it to wherever you need on the image
  • Rotate the image by -90 or 90 degree increments
  • Change the image quality from gray scale all the way to high enhancement

Once you have the image exactly how you like it, tap the OK button (the check) and then tap the OK button one more time. You should now see your image listed in the New Document window (see Figure B).
Figure B

You can add as many images as you like into a document.

You can also add images from your Gallery by tapping the Gallery button on the main window. After all the images have been added, do the following:

  1. Tap the pen button in the bottom right corner of the main window bar
  2. Give the document a name
  3. Re-order and/or remove images if necessary
  4. Tap the OK button

Now, you are back in the document window where you can share your document. Before you send the doc, you can also view it with your default PDF viewer by tapping the PDF button in the center of the main toolbar.

Sending a PDF

After the document has been created, tap the share button (second icon from the bottom right), and you will see the following share options:

  • Upload
  • Docs
  • Bluetooth
  • Gmail
  • Email

If you tap the Upload button, you’ll be taken to the upload screen (see Figure C) where you can configure the following upload services:

  • Google Docs
  • Box.net
  • Dropbox

Figure C

You can set up a shared service to easily send PDFs from your tablet.

If a service isn’t configured, tap the button associated with it and enter your logon credentials for said service. Once it’s set up, simply tap the button and the upload sync will happen automatically.

Here’s the thing about CamScanner (and other tools of its ilk) — you’re not going to be creating PDF docs like you would with tools like Scribus or Pagemaker, but when you need a PDF created on the go (quickly and and simply), you can’t beat CamScanner. This free app is rudimentary but gets the job done well. The PDF documents it creates are clean, crisp, and ready to share.