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How to use iOS 11's Notes app as a document scanner

With iOS 11, you no longer need to install a random third-party app to scan and sign documents.

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Apple has a habit of building features into iOS that eliminate the need to install third-party apps for some users. For instance, with the release of iOS 11, Apple is adding a document scanner, along with the ability sign, share and save a scanned doc to your device.

Instead of launching the feature in a standalone app, Apple built it into the Notes app. Here's what you need to know:

Scan a document

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Place the document(s) on a flat surface, in a well-lit area. Open the Notes app, create a new note (or add the scans to a related Note, if you want). Tap the "+" symbol at the bottom of the screen then select Scan Document.

A camera-like screen will show up, with a yellow box scanning and looking for a document. It's best if you try to hold your iOS device directly above the document, but it's not necessary. Apple designed its document scanner to work from various angles.

Once the app recognizes a document it will automatically capture a scan — you don't have to do anything other than wait. However, there is a button to manually capture an image if it's struggling to find the document.

A small thumbnail of each page will be shown in the bottom-left corner, and the scanner will remain open to continue scanning multiple pages. When you're done, tap Save.

Adjust the scan

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

There will be times when the Notes app can't quite make out the exact corners of a document, so it will capture a scan but ask you to adjust the corners. Drag each magnifying glass corner to the proper spot and then tap Save.

A helpful tip for using the adjustment tool is to not place your finger too close to the corner. If you're in the general area, you can drag and adjust as needed. Otherwise, you cover the magnifying glass and can't see your adjustments.

Then what?

Adjust the color scheme of a scanned document, sign, highlight sections, share or save the document using the iOS 11 share sheet.

Select the Markup as PDF option to covert the scan to a PDF, draw on it using your finger on an iPhone or iPad, or use the Apple Pencil to mark it up on an iPad Pro.