Snapter – Scan Your Documents Without A Scanner

Damien Oh 02-01-2009

scan documentsOther than taking photos, what other use do you have for your digital camera? With Snapter, you can now use your digital camera for another purpose: turn it into a mobile flatbed scanner.


Snapter is software that lets you use a digital camera as a mobile scanner. With the shots that you have taken, the software automatically crops, stretches, flattens images of documents into portable images and make them seem as though they have been scanned on a flatbed scanner.

Some of you may be wondering: since you already have a digital camera to take snapshots, why do you still need a software to do the conversion? Well, there are several advantages in Snapter. First of all, it comes with a perspective correction that can take a slanted/disoriented image and rotate it to the right orientation.

Secondly, if you are taking snapshots of pages of a book, it can be really difficult to read the text from the raw images. Snapter has the ability to split the pages into two different images and correct the curvature distortion.

Thirdly, Snapter enhances the images and make them easier to read.

Snapter supports images of different forms. You can use it to convert snapshots of documents, notes written on a whiteboard, namecards or pages from a book. The following screenshots show the tests that I have done with different materials and the results are very satisfying.


Here I printed out a copy of one of my articles that I wrote How to Install Microsoft Text Fonts in Ubuntu Linux Windows-based fonts don't appear by default in Linux. This isn't really a problem, but if you want better compatibility or just like the look of them, we've got you covered. Read More for MakeUseOf. I took a horizontal snapshot of the printout and input it to Snapter. It successfully rotated the image to the correct orientation, cropped the side and sharpen the image for easy reading.


Next, I took a snapshot of two pages of a book and input them to Snapter. It detects the curvature of the book and splits the pages into the left and right page. Similarly, it crops and sharpen the images for easy reading.




There are both free and paid versions of Snapter. You can download the free version and enjoy the full functionality for the first 14 days. After that, the software is still functional, but it will add a tagline and light watermark on your images. If all you need is to convert the images to a portable version so you can read while on the move, the free version is good enough for you.

If you want to use the result for your commercial project and you don’t want to have the watermark, you will have to get the paid version which cost $20 (Lite version) or $49 (Full version).

Related topics: Digital Camera, Digital Document, Image Converter, Scanner, Webcam.

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  1. lkjh
    September 2, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    @ Naruto

    I use Omnipage Pro 17 and it does not know shit about book curvature. The spliting of facing pages is also not very precise in omnipage.
    I was already looking for software which can detect page borders and automatically crop the images at the margins. If it can do all that then this would definitely be a keeper.

  2. ebru polat
    July 2, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Thank you so much for content, you would track;)

  3. Naruto
    February 1, 2009 at 8:47 am

    this is pretty awesome software. Not many programs for scanning can really even take into account the curvature of the book and correct it.

  4. About Online Tips
    January 12, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Check out another similar apps which does the same job and is absolutely free.

  5. AVisitor
    January 7, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    I found this writeup and software concept very interesting. However I found your choice of scanned books hope-crushing. I had high hopes of there being linux support based on that book scan but as far as I can tell from their website and forums, they lack linux support and go as far as saying they don't have any intentions of gaining it (very roughly paraphrased). Have you got it running under wine or is the choice of books entirely coincidental?

    • Damien Oh
      January 8, 2009 at 10:26 am

      I ran it in Windows virtual machine with Ubuntu as host. I find that is the best way to run Windows application without having to sacrifice my favorite Ubuntu.

  6. Bond
    January 6, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    oops, I was referring to the poster further above, with the pseudonym "James"

  7. Bond
    January 6, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    the guy above me is a fake...
    (he's right though, people in our field use this a lot)

  8. imam
    January 6, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Very nice tips and Trick for me
    Thank you

  9. Rich Hill
    January 6, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Sounds like an awesome tool that has been needed like forever!

    I did just try it on a couple of images I had on my hard drive, one was a two page spread of a book printed in 1813 that was very clear to read in the original but curved and yellow/brownish color. The other was a the bottom part of a manuscript.

    Both documents came out totally black and unreadable after the scan. Maybe I'm doing something wrong but there does not seem to be any instructions on how to fix these sorts of things.

    This is just my first response and will test more.

    I hope it does what they say, that would be so cool.

    • Damien Oh
      January 6, 2009 at 10:17 am

      Snapter is rather strict about the border and background of the image. It need to have a distinct border of direct contrast with the image or clear background with nothing blocking in the top and bottom. You can read more about it at

  10. james
    January 4, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    as a spy, i find this software most useful.

  11. fractalbrothers
    January 4, 2009 at 3:24 am

    I believe google is using a canon rebel XT to archive books and stuff at

  12. kira
    January 4, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Thanks for the post.Very useful...

  13. geekTips
    January 4, 2009 at 2:59 am

    Indeed this is a very useful tool for us.

  14. Douglas Sowash
    January 4, 2009 at 1:50 am

    ha. someone was telling me that I could take pictures of books in Chapters and do something like this. I tried it at Chapters in Greenville almost got caught.

    • Damien Oh
      January 4, 2009 at 1:54 am better be careful the next time round.

  15. bill
    January 4, 2009 at 12:46 am

    I'm going to try out this software and post a full review about it on my blog. by the looks of it this software rocks.

  16. Rahul Nimawat
    January 3, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks for the useful info.

    I will surely try this piece of software and may be buy the lite version too.

  17. Eric
    January 3, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    For $49, you could have just bought a scanner...

  18. Free Xbox 360 Games
    January 3, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Seems like a great tool. But I would only use it to scan textbook pages in, and if it is a hassle to do those, I don't know if it's worth it.

  19. John Jones
    January 3, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Wow dude, that was pretty amazing stuff.


  20. Tony
    January 3, 2009 at 5:22 am

    Sounds like a useful tool, even for straightening out those occasional photos or scans from a book.

  21. Michael
    January 3, 2009 at 2:24 am

    I thought makeuseof had a policy of only reviewing free programs/sites. This program is free for only 14 days - then it is crippled by displaying watermark and tagline.

    • max whirl
      January 3, 2009 at 11:40 pm

      Really? Your whining over a watermark? that's not "crippling". Seems reasonable to me, you'd still be able to read your pages, etc. why not let them review whatever they think we'd be interested in.

      Regarding the software itself, seems promising but where's the OCR technology? That's what would get me interested.

    • Damien Oh
      January 4, 2009 at 1:53 am

      It really depend on what you need it for. For me, I use it to convert images to a portable format so I can read it while on the move. The watermark doesn't really affect the quality at all.

  22. Nicole
    January 3, 2009 at 5:20 am

    Hi Damien,

    I'll have a look at this one but googling around I found another free program that turns a photographed or scanned image into a text file in one go, they even seem to have a mobile version in the works:



    • Damien Oh
      January 4, 2009 at 1:50 am

      Nicole, thanks for the recommendation. It seems a cool feature. I will check it out.

  23. user60458947
    January 2, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I Purchased the Pro version. It has a weird dependency on MS NET that is a hassle if you have other applications that conflict with that version of NET. Usually, NET framework dependencies are enough to scare me off.

    Anyway, this works OK for 1 or 2 images, but requires too much handholding for any kind of bulk processing. The problem is holding the pages flat of thick books. The deskewing algorithm doesn't do too well there. To do this right, you would have to lay a flat piece of glass on the book and put it up against a black background. This much work effectively eliminates the convenience.

    • Damien Oh
      January 3, 2009 at 2:46 am

      No doubt there are some serious works that need to be done for bulk processing, but instead if you use a flatbed scanner to scan the whole book, the procedure may be even more troublesome.