Technology is great when it works

This morning I’ve been delving into tech goodness. The leader of our choir asked me to take some scanned pages and put into a PDF. I decided the best way to do this would be to use the application Pages. I considered using PDF Pen Pro and it would have worked, but I think Pages was easier.

The first problem with the completion of this task was that the scanned documents were of low resolution. Not only that, there was a lot of white space around the edges which needed to be cropped. This effectively made the resolution even poorer. I put the image onto an A4 page and dragged out one corner to make it fit. It looks quite blurry after that.

Methods to Crop 16 images

  • The first method to try was to open up the image in Preview. Select the area I wanted to keep, press Command K to crop, Command S to save and finish with the command W to close. This is not too tedious a method to do for one or two images, but I had 16 of these files to work with.
  • I thought about doing this with Keyboard Maestro on my Mac. I had a quick look to see what actions were available. But I wasn’t able to quickly work out how to start the automation. As I was looking I remembered there were crop tools within the Shortcuts app on iOS. I made the files available on iOS and opened up Shortcuts.

  • In Shortcuts it was extremely easy. I tested it with one file to start with. I started with the action called **Get File**. I then got it to show the document picker and to select multiple.
Shortcuts Autpmation
  • The next action was to crop the image. I wanted the cropping to be anchored from the top left corner. I was able to select it from a list. I then inserted the width and the height of the crop. I had this information from the first image I cropped manually.

  • The action to finish off was to save the documents after cropping. I didn’t want it to ask me where to save each time so I left that unchecked. The destination path has to be within the shortcuts folder. I could have added a sub-folder, but it wasn’t necessary.
Finishing off the Shortcut
  • All I had to do then was to click on the run icon in the bottom right-hand corner. The job was so quick I didn’t even get a chance to take a breath. It was without a doubt, definitely worth spending the time to set up the automation. 

Making the PDF in Pages

I just had to drag and drop the cropped images onto each new page in Pages. Grab the bottom right corner of the image and extend until it fitted the page. As I said, the image was blurry, but there wasn’t anything I could do about that. I asked my friend to try and get better quality scanned images. He needs to be scanning them at least at 300 dpi.

When I scan anything these days I use the Scanner Pro application on my iPhone. It is able to find the edges of the document being scanned. It will correct for any parallax introduced due to the position of the camera when taking the photo. You can scan more than one page and at the end of it you have a PDF document ready to go. This is my go to application for working in a paperless fashion.