How to use your iPad to scan aviation documents into ForeFlight or FltPlan Go

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More and more pilots are going completely paperless in the cockpit, but that requires some paper documents to be scanned first. Fortunately, Apple includes some hidden capabilities in the Notes app, including the addition of a powerful scanner utility. This can be used to scan just about any type of physical document or receipt and save or share it using the traditional iOS methods. The scanned images can even be sent to apps that support document viewing, like ForeFlight or FltPlan Go. Here’s how to do it:

1. Open the Notes app

2. Tap the writing icon in the upper right corner to make a new note

3. Tap the camera icon in the at the top of the keyboard (this button will be in the bottom right corner of the screen if the keyboard is not in view), and select Scan Documents

4. The camera will activate, allowing you to take a snapshot of the document. Use the button with three circles to choose color, grayscale or black and white.

5. Make sure the yellow box is lined up with your document, and press the white circle camera button to take the picture.

6. Adjust the edges using the small corner buttons around the document to refine the edges of the scan.

7. Press the Keep Scan button in the bottom right corner. If you’d like to add more pages to the document (to create a multipage PDF for example), scan additional pages using the same steps listed above. When finished, press the Save button in the lower right corner.

8. The scanned document will now be saved in the new note, and you can use the share button in the upper right corner to create a PDF, share it or send it to another app. Select the “Copy to ForeFlight” (or Garmin Pilot, FltPlan Go, WingX, FlyQ, etc.) to send it right to the Documents section of the respective app, where it’ll be stored with your other aviation resources.

We’ve used the Notes scanner for all kinds of things: checklists, pilot’s operating handbook pages, avionics supplements, non-aviation maps, insurance information, fly-in procedures, and even restaurant menus. Once you get the hang of it, the process is fast and reliable – and the app is included on every iPhone and iPad.

6 COMMENTS

  1. A great feature. Is there a way to add a title to the document so that it doesn’t appear ‘Scanned Documents’ (i.e. Pre- engine start check list)?

    • Yes. Once you saved the scanned document in your Note app, you can tap and hold the new scanned image and a pop up window will appear that has multiple actions, including a choice to Rename the file. When you send the file to Foreflight it will retain the new name.

  2. I learned this neat trick not long ago when I had to send a signed legal document by e-mail, so this works for nearly any kind of document. Once you save the file to the iPad/iPhone, go in to the “FILES” icon. This gives you access to “Browse” the different location in the iPad/iPhone.
    You will see your iCloud Drive, also accessible on the web from http://www.icloud.com. and a location called “On My iPad (or iPhone)”. That is where you will find these files. You can move files, copy files, etc. And you can go in and rename the file.
    Rather than use the small screen and keyboard, I like to move everything to my iCloud Drive. Then log-in on a regular computer and manipulate my files on the larger screen/keyboard… Enjoy!

    • Uncle Dave, I really need to learn how you do it. I tried and failed. Step 8 states: “8. The scanned document will now be saved in the new note, and you can use the share button in the upper right corner to create a PDF, share it or send it to another app.” I scanned some docs and saved them as a new note. Your advice then states that you can then go to your PC, login to your iCloud account and find the new notes in a location called “On My iPad” but I found them under Notes. So far so good, but on my PC, I could not find a way to change the default name. I searched for help but did not find anything on point. So please add some detail. I’d like to use Notes to scan a doc into PDF format, go to my PC, change its name and get it into Foreflight.

  3. -photos are different file format with less options to manage
    -you can also resize the edges “CROP” when you use Notes to scan a document so that you can cut away anything that is not part of the document. Photo shows everything including the table or whatever you laid the document on to scan it.
    -photos are not clear and clean for future use when you want to print and sign or even put an electronic signature on a PDF (cannot do that with photo)

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