Life still contains an incredible amount of paper. Many bills, receipts, important letters, statements, and documents clutter our houses, even when stored neatly in binders. But, as a famous company once said, there's an app for that.

We show you how use your iPhone to scan and digitise documents, then convert the words on the page to fully searchable, editable, text on a screen.

Also read: Best translation apps for iPhone

How to scan text using Microsoft's Office Lens

There are a number of scanner apps available on the iPhone, but one of our favourites is Office Lens by Microsoft.

The app is free and can capture text from documents, business cards, photos, and even a whiteboard, which makes it perfect for instant notes at the end of a planning meeting.

Office Lens has the very useful ability to take images that are at an angle (for example, a whiteboard that you're sitting to one side of) then flatten them out to make them look like a normal document.

Built into the app is also the option to convert text in an image to words, something that could be invaluable when digitising important documents.

Capturing an image with Office Lens

Visit the Apple App Store and search for Office Lens by Microsoft. Once you've download the app you'll need to create a free Microsoft account as the service works best when linked to OneDrive for storage.

The advantage of this is that scanned images can be opened directly in Word, PowerPoint or OneNote for instant editing.

When your account is up and running, launch the Office Lens app. You'll need to grant permission for it to use the camera on your iPhone before you can begin, as this is how the app captures information.

In the centre of the screen you'll see a white square/rectangle that indicates which part of the image the camera is currently intending to capture.

The scrollable menu just above the shutter button moves through the media types available - Business card, Photo, Document, and Whiteboard - all of which will optimise the camera to suit each particular choice.

Find the relevant type, position the camera, then tap the shutter button. Office Lens will then quickly render the image to make it flat and full screen. If you're happy with the results, tap the Done button in the top right corner.

how to scan text on iPhone

Now a menu will appear with the destinations available for you to share the image. In this case we'll opt for OneNote.

Give the file a name, tap Save, and the image will automatically be stored on the OneDrive servers.

Editing text with OneNote

When Office Lens completes the transfer of the image it will give you the option of Tap to Open. Do this and OneNote will launch and open the image for you.

Now just tap the image so that the edit menu appears, tap the right arrow to scroll the options along, then tap Copy Text.

how to scan text on iPhone

Next, you'll need to tap and hold your finger on a blank area of the note until the Paste option appears. Tap this and all of the captured text will be placed into the document in a standard format that you can edit or copy.

That's it. A simple way to capture words from images and convert them into editable text.

Read next: 12 Best iPhone & iPad apps for organising your life