Portable Document Format or PDF file is the most comfortable way of protecting the content while sharing with others. You may have lot of images in iPhone like photos taken with camera or documents scanned using an app. Sending these images as individual files will make the receiver crazy if all those images belong to a single document. Instead, the best option is to combine the images in a correct order and create a PDF file. You can easily share this PDF and the receiver can swipe up and view all the pages from Files app.
PDF Apps in iPhone
Depending on your App Store country, there are hundreds of free and premium PDF creation apps are available for iOS. However, most free apps like CamScanner will have limitations like leaving watermark on the PDF document. Some apps will also restrict the usage per day basis. These apps will not work when you want to create professional PDF documents from photos or scanned images. However, Microsoft Lens is one of the best and completely free apps for creating PDF from your images.
Providing Permissions to Microsoft Lens App
Go to App Store and install Microsoft Lens app. When you open the app for the first time, the app will ask you to provide necessary permissions. First, uncheck the “Automatically send data to help us improve Microsoft Lens” option to disable sending data to Microsoft and then tap on “Allow Access” link.
On the next screen you will be prompted to provide access to Photos app. We recommend choosing “Select Photos…” option and provide the access only for necessary pictures from your Photos app. Do not worry, you can later select additional photos when needed to combine them as a PDF file. Since Lens is basically a scanning app, the next screen will ask you to provide access to your iPhone’s camera. This is a mandatory permission for the app to work and hence select “OK” and finish the permission setup.
Microsoft Lens Options
Now the app is ready to use and you can get the required pictures either from your Photos app or by scanning through camera. When you open the app, it will show you the following options at the bottom:
- Actions – this allows you to capture the text content from images. The app extracts plan and tabled text content and also offers an option to read the extracted text louder.
- Documents – this is the option you should select for scanning documents to create a PDF file.
- Whiteboard and Business Card – use these options to scan relevant images.
- Photo – use this to take picture using iPhone’s front or back camera.
Scanning or Selection Options
For scanning a document, first make sure to keep the paper on a plan surface like a table. Open Lens app and select “Document” option. Now, the app will automatically detect the document’s border and show you in the red color. Simply tap on the shutter icon to capture the scanned document in the app. If required, you can manually drag the edged to adjust the borders and tap on confirm to finish the scanning. If you do not want to adjust the borders manually, disable the option “Let me adjust border after each scan” showing on the top of the screen after you scan the document.
Continue scanning all your documents and after finishing, you will see the list of image previews showing the sequence. You can tap on the preview images and change the ordering if required. This is useful if you have scanned the documents in a wrong order. When everything looks fine, tap on the red button showing with small right arrow icon. This button also will show the total number of images you have scanned as a badge.
On the next screen, you can preview each scanned page and add or edit the image if required. Finally, tap on “Done” button to save your document.
By default, you will see only few items like add, filter and crop are showing on the bottom section. Tap on “More” to view full list of available options for adding or editing images. In addition, you can also tap on the “Options” button showing on the top right to select the file size/quality for your scanned document.
Instead of scanning documents, you can tap on the “Media” icon showing in front of the “Actions” link to select images from your Photos app. It is possible to combine images like one from your photos and few by scanning the documents to create a PDF file. If you have restricted the access to all photos, tap on “Manage” link and select additional photos from your photo library. After selecting the necessary images, rearrange if required by tapping on the previews and tap on the red button to finish the process as explained above.
Save Images as PDF
Microsoft Lens offers various ways to save your document. You can even convert the images to a Word or PowerPoint document. For creating PDF, tap on “PDF” option. On the next screen, select “Phone Storage” to save the PDF document in your phone.
Edit and Share PDF File
Now that you have converted the images to PDF file, but the file is still accessible only within the Lens app. To save the file to your Files app, tap on the three vertical dots showing on the top right corner of Lens app. This will show few options from the bottom of the screen and tap on “My Scans” to find all your previously scanned documents.
You can use the “Select” link or tap on the three vertical dots on the file name to open additional options. select “Share” from the list of options to open iPhone’s default share feature. Select “Save to Files” to download the PDF file to your Files app.
If you are using iCloud, the file will be automatically synchronized across your devices and immediately you can access it from Mac or iPad. Otherwise, you can share with social apps like WhatsApp or use AirDrop to send the PDF to your nearby devices. Lens app also allows to save the PDF to CamScanner so that you can sync the files with that app.
The beauty of Microsoft Lens app is that you can control the permissions to provide access only to necessary pictures. We do not see any limits for the number of images to combine then as a PDF file. There will be no watermark or other restrictions and you can easily professional looking PDF from your images. It is also possible to save the file to OneDrive and access instantly from your Windows PC.