Canvas @ YaleStudent Guides Courses and AssignmentsHow to create a PDF of handwritten assignments

How to create a PDF of handwritten assignments

For online assignments that require you to hand write/draw your response, you will need to create an electronic version of your completed work.  If you do not have an photo copier/scanner in your home, you can use your smart phone to take pictures create PDF files for submission.  This article contains instructions for recommended apps, but students should feel free to use the app of their choice.

This article will cover:

Scanning Tips

Follow these tips to get the best scans:

  • Use dark ink on light colored paper.
  • When scanning, place your paper on a flat high contrast surface (if your paper is white, rest it on a flat, dark surface)
  • Hold your phone directly above your paper as high as you can while maintaining a steady hand

Scanning handwritten assignments on iOS devices

Download an iOS Scanning App

There are many apps that you can download that will create PDF files for you.  One of our recommendations is the Scannable App.  The instructions below are specifically tailored to this tool, but you can feel free to use any app that works for you.

  1. On your iOS device, go to the App Store.
  2. Search for and download the Scannable (by Evernote) app.

Scan your completed assignment

  1. On your iOS device, open Scannable.
  2. Before you scan, tap the three dots button from the capture screen and select Settings > File Type > PDF.  
  3. Return to the main capture screen by tapping the back arrow > Done
  4. Hold your phone above each page and the app will automatically scan it as soon as it detects the page.
  5. When you've scanned all pages, tap the check mark icon.
  6. Scannable will attempt to optimize your scans - if needed, retake your photos.  You can also refer to the tips at top of this article to ensure successful scanning.
  7. Once your PDF is set, enter a name for your file by tapping on file name next to the PDF icon.
  8. Tap the Send button to select where you want to send your file to.  Your options include:
    1. Mail (email to yourself)
    2. Share - here you can save to your device or to a cloud service like Dropbox.

For more information and detailed instructions on how use Scannable, visit the Scannable App user guides.

Scanning handwritten assignments on Android devices

Download an Android Scanning App

There are many apps that you can download that will create PDF files for you.  One of our recommendations is the Genius Scan App.  The instructions below are specifically tailored to this tool, but you can feel free to use any app that works for you.

  1. On your Android device, go to the Google Play Store.
  2. Search for and download the Genius Scan app.

Scan your completed assignment

  1. On your Android device, open Genius Scan.
  2. Select the camera icon (if you have multiple pages to scan, you can switch to batch mode in the top right corner).
  3. Hold your phone above each page and tap the spinning circle icon.
  4. When you've scanned all pages, tap the check mark icon.
  5. If needed, retake your photos.  You can also refer to the tips at top of this article to ensure successful scanning.
  6. Select your file and tap the Share button - make sure that your format is set to PDF.  Your sharing options include:
    1. Mail (email to yourself)
    2. Device Memory or
    3. A cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive.

For more information and detailed instructions, visit the Genius Scan Website and check out the Genius Scan Video Tutorial.

Submitting scanned PDFs to Canvas Assignments

To complete the following steps, you will need to make sure that the device/computer you are using has access to the PDF scans that you created following the steps above.  If you do not have access on your current device, share the file to this device before you proceed .

  1. Log into Canvas
  2. Navigate to your course.  
  3. Click the Assignments button and find your assignment.
    NOTE:  Your instructor may use another tool, like Modules, to present your assignments - find the applicable assignment based on the organization of your instructor's course site.
  4. Click on the title of the assignment you wish to submit.
  5. On the next screen, click the "Submit Assignment" button.
  1. Under the "File Upload" tab, click the "Choose File" and navigate to your scanned PDF.
    1. If necessary, click the + Add Another File button to add additional scans to your submission.
  2. When you have attached all required files, click the "Submit Assignment" button.

For additional assistance, please email canvas@yale.edu.