Need a scanner? Try your phone

Need a scanner? Try your phone

Once upon a time, people had visions of a paperless society.  At some point, I may even have been one of them. Alas! No such luck. While the number of paper forms, etc we have to deal with is significantly less than it used to be, there always seems to be that odd time that we need to get a piece of paperwork delivered. (And who has time to go get a stamp and mail it?)

For times like these, wouldn’t it be nice to make a quick scan of your document and just email it off? Why not give your phone a try for this one?

All you need to do is take a photo of your document and an app to handle the “scanning” job to convert the ph0to into a PDF that you can send off on its merry way. This is also great for scanning receipts or other things you might want to keep for yourself.

Here are a few good ones that I’ve used for you to try:

Cam Scanner (for Android, iOS andWindows Phone)


Evernote has an app called Scannable .


Google Drive (Android)


If you’re on an Android phone and use the Google Drive app, you already have what you need. Just open the Google Drive app and tap the Add (+) button at the bottom-right of the screen. Lay down your document, tap the Scan camera icon and hold your phone over it to get a good picture. After snapping the photo, Crop any unnecessary background. If you are scanning a multipage document, tap the Add button to go on to the next page and repeat the process. When you’re ready, tap the Done (check mark) icon. Your files are automatically stored in your Google Drive.

Office Lens


Want to do even more? ( Geez, you are demanding!) Give Office Lens try. This app trims, enhances and not only makes your photos of whiteboards and documents readable; but it can also convert them into editable Word and PowerPoint files too.

I can do everything I need in free versions but for a few bucks some apps will give you extras like

Scanbot is another free scanning app with versions for Android and iOS. Some scanning apps may charge a few dollars for a premium version, but include extra features like faxing or optical character recognition for converting images into editable text.

Friday Finds

Friday Finds

It’s been awhile since my last post on new things I’ve discovered. So here are some things that I’ve collected since then including:

  • Sortd: a super useful task list skin for Gmail
  • Office Lens: a mobile app that lets you translate photos of documents into editable Word and PowerPoint
  • Photopea: a free, online graphics editor for Photoshop (.psd) files
  • AppSheet: The quickest, easiest way to create a mobile app.

Sortd Smart Skin for Gmail

Sortd is a Gmail ‘skin’ that transforms your email conversations into a usefule, intuitive task list workspace right inside Gmail!

If you ever lost track of important emails in your inbox despite Herculean efforts to flag, start, and label messages you’ll love how Sortd helps you escape that mess. With sorted you’ll get a new to do / task list view where you can simple drag your emails to organize them is a way that is logical to you. You can even rename them to something better than the email subject line which is another big plus.

The thing I like best about this app is that you can toggle it on and off if you ever want to peak back at the normal Gmail views. Hop on over to and give it a look. You’ll be glad you did!

Office Lens

Office Lens is a great app for capturing whiteboard notes and paper documents and saving them into a PDF, email, OneNote, etc.  Whle it’s been around for awhile now., a recent update makes it even more usefuly by adding the ability to convert pictures of whiteboard notes and paper documents directly into editable Word documents and PowerPoint presentations.

(Available on iOS, Android, & Windows)

Here is the process for how it works.

Convert a hard copy document into an editable Word document


Convert a whiteboard drawing into a PowerPoint presentation


If you’re curious you can check out these  actual examples:

Learn more at


There are a wealth of great Photoshop design assets available on the web. But what if you don’t have the money to shell out for an expensive Photoshop license that enables you to work with them? One good option is Photopea, a free online graphics editor that handles..PSD files like a pro.



AppSheet is one of the slickest, most useful apps I’ve seen lately. It lets non-developers build custom mobile apps. While so many things are moving to mobile apps, getting something up and running can be next to impossible unless you’re an app coding pro.

AppSheet lets non-developers build custom mobile apps quickly and easily – no coding required. AppSheet works by connecting with information you populate in a spreadsheet and then it guides you the rest of the way. With this, you can have a nice, useful app up and running in a flash. And it’s FREE to boot!

Take if for a spin with these sample apps:


Converting Keynote to PowerPoint

Converting Keynote to PowerPoint

Every once in awhile I find a great looking Keynote slide deck, like these over at Site2Max, and I think how great it would be to bring it over into PowerPoint to customize it. Fortunately, there is a super simple and free way to do just that – even if you don’t have access to the Keynote software. Here is how it works.

Converting a Keynote file to PowerPoint

The first step is uploading the Keynote file to the free, online version of Keynote via Create a free account if you don’t already have one.


Next, open the Keynote app and upload the .key file by dragging it into your browser tab displaying the Keynote online app.

upload keynote

Click to view video:

After uploading, open the slide deck and look for the “Download a Copy…” option under the Keynote tools button at the top right. (wrench icon)


Keynote tools icon

Choose PowerPoint as the download format and off you go!!

PowerPoint Design Elements

PowerPoint Design Elements

I do about 95% of my graphics creation and editing in PowerPoint. I also have some common design elements that I reuse in a variety of different contexts that I keep close at hand in a PowerPoint file. Here are a few that I think are useful for anyone – I use them all the time. You’ll find some super useful mobile devices, computers and web browsers created from basic shapes that you can recolor and customize any way you like.

Download these slides to use the elements in your own designs.

Check out what others are sharing as their “Go-To” PowerPoint design elements over in David Anderson’s Weekly Challenge in the Elearning Heros community.


You Already Know How to Build mLearning (You Just Don’t Know It)

Here are the slides from my recent FocusOn Learning session in Austin, TX You Already Know How to Build mLearning (You Just Don’t Know It)

A big thank you to everyone who was there and feel free to share it with others!

BYOL: Mobile Learning Downloads for #FocusOnLearn

Below you’ll find the slides, links and other resources to accompnay my BYOL session “You Already Know How to Build mLearning (You Just Don’t Know It)“on Friday morning, you can grab the download files ahead of time from here.


Curated Collection of PowerPoint Resources


Mobile Video

Example Video created entirely in PowerPoint


How to Export Your PowerPoint Videos in HD
by Bright Carbon

Here’s the VB code you’ll need:

Sub MkVideo()
If ActivePresentation.CreateVideoStatus <> ppMediaTaskStatusInProgress Then
ActivePresentation.CreateVideo FileName:=Environ(“USERPROFILE”) & “\Desktop\test.wmv”, _
UseTimingsAndNarrations:=True, _
VertResolution:=1080, _
FramesPerSecond:=25, _
Else: MsgBox “There is another conversion to video in progress”
End If
End Sub

Mobile eBooks

Advanced PowerPoint Typography Guide

Nancy Duarte SlideDocs

Considerations for Designing Mobile Learning

Office Mix

Download the PowerPoint add-in and learn more about Office Mix.

Introduction to what Mix can do


Sarah Gilbert

62a66f3bf97525b56c49a5dd06b6916aIf you want to learn more about mobile content, check out Sarah Gilbert’s site at and follow her on Twitter at @melsgilbert

The Secret to Better Performance? LESS Training

Here are all the links, references, and resources for my FocusOn Performance presentation “The Secret to Better Performance? LESS Training

Links & Resources:

[Slides coming soon ]

HANDOUT: The Secret to Better Performance? LESS Training

Less Training-Better Results