Transform your PlayBook into your own personal scanner with Handy Scanner


Looking to scan and create PDF's on the go? Read this review of Handy Scanner for the BlackBerry PlayBook!

By Alicia Erlich on 5 May 2012 09:11 am EDT

Have you ever found yourself out and about and needed to send a photo or document but were nowhere near a scanner? If you fit into that category you'll be happy to know there's a solution: Why not use your PlayBook? The developer behind SayIt, BachKhoa University, has been hard at work to make sure you'll never be stuck again with their first PlayBook application called Handy Scanner. Just as the name implies it's a simple to use application that lets you "scan" just about anything with your PlayBook's rear camera and convert it to an easy to open PDF file in a matter of moments. Click on the jump to find out more.


  • Scan Documents (Receipts, Books, Whiteboards)
  • Enter the output PDF file name
  • Take several pictures in a row (batch scan) with your BlackBerry PlayBook camera
  • Automatic document bounds detection
  • Export documents to PDF
  • All converted documents will be saved on Documents Folder and ready for you to attach in an email or to print
  • Currently support A4 format in landscape and portrait mode

How to scan images with Handy Scanner

Handy Scanner employs an extremely user-friendly interface that shows everything you need right in front of you without the need to tap through multiple menus or swipe for different options.

To use, you'll first need to enter in the name of your PDF file in the field at the top. Next, you'll need to select your options such as portrait/landscape or stretch mode (which we'll get to later). Keep in mind you must hold your PlayBook in the proper orientation once selected. Then simply choose either to take a new image or import an existing one and tap the create button to convert.

Handy Scanner allows users to snap multiple shots as additional pages in the electronic file. However, oncemultiple pictures are captured, they cannot be moved or replaced after the file is generated. Files are stored in the documents folder and you can choose to open right away by tapping "Open PDF" or access it later using the Browse option in the upper left or with the PlayBook's File Manager application. 

Now here is where this application differs from the competition. Handy Scanner gives you the option at the time the photo is captured whether or not you want to keep it. So instead of having to modify or edit the document later you have the opportunity to retake it before the file is generated. Another feature I like is that you have direct access to your camera, which means you can zoom in to adjust the shot and even swap to the front camera.

Handy Scanner in action

No matter what the source, Handy Scanner does a great job of converting images into a PDF. Now keep in mind that quality is dependent upon the camera being used. In this case it is the PlayBook's 5MP rear camera. As long as you have proper lighting and a steady hand the final product is decent and makes life easier if you need to send an actual document or scan receipts for your expenses. I know my Boss is always forgetting them and for those of you on the go now you can just scan them with your PlayBook to save for later. Take a look at the examples below.

One of the complaints that both myself and others had in the forums was the lack of a crop feature. The scanner uses the A4 paper size which is the standard format in certain countries and is 8.3 X 11.7 which some people may not be used to. For those of in the U.S. who use legal and letter size of 8.5 X 11 and 8.5 X 14, consider this a warning before printing.

As you've no doubt noticed in the images above, once converted, white borders appear either on top and bottom or on the sides when scanning in portrait or landscape mode. This is where the stretch mode option I mentioned earlier comes into play. While it remedies the issue, the effect is noticeable in the final product which is slightly skinnier than the original. Good news is the developer is working on a crop feature that will be available in future updates.

As the name implies, Handy Scanner is just that. It may not have all the bells and whistles of its competitors but it's always within reach, is extremely user friendly, and does a great job of digitizing your paper documents. While it lacks the ability to set page size or crop the image (which is coming soon), I've been scanning everything from business cards to receipts and even images of my car.

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Reader comments

Transform your PlayBook into your own personal scanner with Handy Scanner


A promising beginning. Would become an essential if a couple of basic scanning controls -- document/line art, greyscale, photograph -- were added, with possibly a small contrast control.

And of course the A4 only format eliminates it in much of the business world.

But a dandy start!


Why this developers,.. When they finally decided to develop or port an application for PlayBook,they just wanna do it if is a paid app on the platform?? I'm not talking about this case in particular, but every time reporters in here post a app is only for purchase 98.9% of the times!? Is funny because there is another post before this one trying to bash or make fun about us android costumers, asking. What is the difference between blackberry users vs android users... I really didn't get the joke at all unless Kevin was making fun of them self, is like how you will be so dumb to make a joke on that topic (purchasing apps) and brag about it. Me personally got a credit card way before you bb fan boys even realized you weren't cool enough to be on the real world and became geeks by obligation. And I'm sure the only reason all of you do use your credit card is because is mandatory, isn't like you have another choice on app world! Back to this topic.. This is another example of what I'm talking about, why another stupid app like this is for purchase? Honestly, I know RIM is really trying to fix this app flaw, but not allowing android developers making their money like they do in Google play probably they would port more apps (meaning allowing them showing the adds or whatever they do in android ) and that way bb users wouldn't be making more jokes about themselves (bragin because they pay for a free app, do you really think the joke is on us? ) if ya keep on this track, app world will always be a joke

You really didn't get the joke? Android devices are suitable for kids (kids dont have credit cards). I can't believe i had to explain this. And what is your problem for paying a couple of bucks for someones's work?

Thank you! I had a hard time reading and understanding this reply myself so I stopped trying to decipher it after the second sentence.

The funniest part to this commenter aside from the poor grammar and spelling is that the users name is "berryaddict(338)" like wtf? Dude, if you are going to defend Android at least get a cool name like "AndroidSaladTosser" LOL

Berry, I really believe you missed the joke. Simply put, Android are for Kids, BlackBerrys are for Adults. Calm down dude its not that serious. :)

Go suck a dick faggot. Android is base on stolen intellectual properties and close to 95% apps are pirated everyday. Blackberry developers makes more money than Android. Fucken cunt.

You will only get charged $1.99. I'm not sure why App World can't get that right, but when I bought it, I was only charged $1.99.

Why do devs expect to get paid for writing apps? Shouldn't all apps be free? RIM should should just give PBs away; I'm sure devs will flock to the platform and write free apps because they love to code and make no money. I'm in sales. I try to give my stuff away for free whenever I can. I pour all my profits, time and energy into upgrading my free product. I am soon going to hire some other like minded individuals.

/Device agnosticism or bust!

What world do you live in? Dev expect to be paid? All apps should be free? What. Are you an idiot? Nevermind just re-read your comment.

I think this moron is posting the same ridiculous "all apps should be free cuz they are on Android" rant in response to every app review lately. This makes him nothing more than a troll. Please observe Rule 14.

If you want FREE apps...I'll be happy to kick your butt out the door. Appworld has some great apps and I'm willing to pay for them. Developers believe in the Playbook and Blackberry 10 and are will to make GREAT apps for it. If you want free apps, go someplace else and SHUT up!!

I believe in Blackberry and RIM

One thing the redesigned playbook 2 needs is an auto focus camera for things like this. There are many occasions where I need this for clear close-up shots.

Because the current playbook lacks this, developers should find a way to use the bridged phone (e.g. My 9810) to get the picture.

I know I can take the picture with my phone then import it...but I want a one-button process in the app on the playbook...:p

You want to be able to click a button in a PB app and have the camera on your phone take a picture? Aside from the fact that that sounds like a bad idea to me, I would think that you would need two sets of eyes so that you can frame the shot and see the button on the PB at the same time, and two sets of hands so that you can hold and operate both devices simultaneously as well.

I see App world says $2.99. Is there some code, to get it for the $1.99? Maybe it was an oversight! Anyway, it is a great app for that quick and easy (Scan a signed document or something quick like that) Scan. I cant tell you how many times someone has sent me a Document and I have to go to kinko's to Scan it (Yes I actually dont own a scanner), or take a picture of it (Which usually doesnt work for the receiving party).

The 3 bucks alone saves me in GAS!

BlackBerry FOREVER!

BlackBerry Bold 9900, and BlackBerry Playbook! Nothing but the BEST!

Same here..... when you tap on the buy now it then shows the price at $1.99
Will use the a lot! Nice app.

Is this app any better than the other pdf scanning apps? The lack of an autofocus lens on the PB really limits this function,