Integrating a document scanner into CommCare


We are using CommCare running on tablets to collect images of paper records in the field. These are then downloaded and the data entered as a back-office activity.

This works pretty well except for one issue and that is that a proportion of images are poorly taken eg the images are clipped or they are taken at too much of an angle. We are doing what we can to address this issue with user training but this will take time.

The issues could be overcome if we used a document scanner app (rather the taking simple pictures with the camera). I was wondering if anyone has integrated a document scanner into CommCare or if this is even possible.

Any feedback would be welcome.



Hi Simon,

My understanding of mobile document scanner apps is that they save the scanned content as a PDF. The problem you’ll find is that CommCare doesn’t currently support document attachments to forms; the only supported attachment types are images, audio and video. If you found a doc scanner app that had the option to save the content as an image file, then there would be a way to make that work, because you could have users do the scan in that app directly, and then select that image file from the file system to attach to the image question in your app. However, I’m not sure if that would defeat the purpose of using the scanner app over a camera, since I’m not sure what the advantage of the scanner app is to begin with (is the quality inherently better?)

Thanks Aliza. Very helpful.

The benefits of a scanner app is that it deals with the perspective issue
and generally won’t take the image if it’s out of focus.

I’ve had a quick look and haven’t yet found a scanner app that has the
option to save a jpg.

Would it be possible to change CommCare so that it could upload PDFs?



Simon Berry
counterpart programme manager | Kit Yamoyo Transition to Scale (KYTS) | Ashoka
founder and ceo | ColaLife
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