iPad: direct pdf from camera

I already use several note taking apps on my iPad and am trying Devonthink to see if I can switch. I cannot find how to scan in directly as a pdf using the camera. All my other apps seem to open the same dialogue on the iPad that allows direct pdf creation and cropping. Is this available or coming soon? I will not be using another app to create a pdf and then import, that is a step backwards.
Thanks in advance!

The scan documents option is missing from DTTG
I use the scan documents feature in the Files app
The pdf is saved directly to the Devonthink Inbox

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Welcome @Luke

Note: Neither DEVONthink nor DEVONthink To Go are note-taking apps nor is there such a format as a note. Please provide more information on what file format you’re attempting to compose a note in.

Thank you. I keep my medical notes as pdf format. So each patient would have one document that contains their record. So far I have used notability which functions in my use case as a well indexed accessible pdf store, reader and editor that is shared across devices and has easy pdf export and backup. I am considering switching to Devonthink so I can start using data more sensibly (addresses for instance) but given the large amount of external material I need to bring in, a scan to add to an existing pdf is essential. It looks like it’s an iPad os facility but I cannot find in devonthink - I was hoping I had missed it or it was planned soon.

Thank you. How do I scan direct to DTTG inbox? I can scan in files, save and then share to inbox but I cannot see the way to scan directly in to inbox.

Have you activated DTTG as file provider in the files app?

Yes, you mean add to the sidebar? And I have a Devonthink folder in the “on my iPad” file - I just tried that and the document appears in the DTTG global inbox. Is that what you mean?


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On mobile, you’re only taking pictures. And if using a bespoke application, e.g., Readdle’s Scanner Pro, it can optionally do OCR to create a searchable PDF from those images.

However, for scanning en masse, I would strongly suggest you employ an actual hardware scanner, ideally connected to a Mac. Scanning with a scanner that works with Apple’s Image Capture should also allow scanning inside DEVONthink. For example, the HP OfficeJet multifunction devices work well in my experience. ScanSnap scanners can send their scans to DEVONthink as well. So it would be Scan into DEVONthink --> Sync to DEVONthink To Go.

Thanks you. Many years ago I carried around a laptop and a scanner and managed my work like this. The iPad has helped my back considerably! If it could be considered to add the capability to scan to add to a pdf on the iPad it would hugely increase the number of people for whom DTTG could be their work solution. Sadly, without it I don’t think I can use it.

I doubt that a mobile device will be suitable for every kind of scan/OCR. If I have a dufthebt with three and more pages, putting it on a scanner and pressing a button is a whole lot more confortable (and efficient) than taking pictures with my iPad. YMMV, of course. Especially if you only work with single page documents.

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You are right. I work with multiple page pdfs but usually only add one page every six months or so to each. I am unable to take the documents away with me so I have to import where I use them, hence this workflow. I think working from one place only is a luxury afforded to ever fewer. And it seems clear that apple have provided a very good api for importing direct to pdf. I will be surprised if dedicated scanners are around for the majority of users in 5 years. I live in hope the scanning function will be made available.

I use a “real” scanner for papers, but more frequently I use and like “Scanner Pro” app on iPhone and it also works for iPad. Good OCR capability. Lots of features which makes it way better than anything standard in iOS. Mostly use the iPhone.

I just wanted to second @chrillek’s suggestion of using the Devonthink folder in the Files app. Using the Scan Documents function has worked incredibly well for me over the years, especially when scanning sheets of paper (scanning from books is a more two-handed operation), and if you can scan the documents on a dark surface, the auto-cropping of the documents is near-magic. (the scanning on a surface with lots of contrast from what you are scanning is the key, here, otherwise you have to manually mess with the crop)

I’m probably missing something but

  • clicking on the plus icon in the lower left corner of DTTG on iPad allows me to take a picture and import it into DTTG
  • clicking on the three dots in the upper right corner in document view opens a menu where I find Convert…/To searchable PDF Which does that just.

Isn’t that what you’re looking for?

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A photo is not the same as a document scan
Things like cropping and auto edge detection

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As I supposed, I overlooked things

I use Readdle’s Scanner Pro app on iPhone and iPad, to scan documents. The automatic detection of pages, the easy scanning of multiple pages, and various automatic corrections, can replace a hardware scanner in my setup. I use this to scan everything for tax purposes and important documents for safe keeping.

To give an example, when I have a receipt, say for petrol or at a restaurant, I can put the receipt on my leg and scan the document on the spot, even in poor light conditions. The documents and their boundaries are automatically captured, often with only little interactions needed. Multiple pages which are stapled are no problem.

The scanning ability and quality has improved over the years and I find the Scanner Pro app very convenient. There are even “workflows” in the app, which allow me to name the file semi-automatically, before saving or sharing it.


While I still prefer a scanner connected to my Mac, I do use Scanner Pro too for smaller, mostly single-piece stuff, when I’m not at home, or when I only need the OCRed content.

One of its simple yet extremely useful features not mentioned before is that it not only has handles at each corner of a scanned image like iOS/iPadOS, but also on the sides. This makes getting a rectangular scan so much simpler, especially on a small iPhone screen.

Sadly, these workflows only allow to save either in-app or on iCloud Drive and not in DEVONthink. Which might still be due to an iOS/iPadOS restriction.

Thank you. That sort of works but it is not easy to append an additional page to a single pdf document. I think I will have to retire back to using notability!