Canvas @ YaleStudent Guides Courses and AssignmentsHow to Create a PDF of Handwritten Assignments (Student Guide)

How to Create a PDF of Handwritten Assignments (Student Guide)

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.

Scanning Tips

Follow these tips to get the best scans of your handwritten work:

  • 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 Handwritten Assignment

  1. On your iOS device, open the Scannable app.
  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. 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.
    1. If needed, retake your photos.
    2. You can also refer to the tips at top of this article to optimize for successful scanning.
  7. Once your PDF is created, enter a name for your file by tapping on the 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. Email - send the PDF as an attachment to yourself to download and access from other devices, like your laptop or desktop computer.
    2. Share - upload your PDF to a cloud service like Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, or Google Drive.

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 Handwritten 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.
    1. 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, making sure that your format is set to PDF. Your sharing options include:
    1. Email - send the PDF as an attachment to yourself to download and access from other devices, like your laptop or desktop computer.
    2. Device Memory - save the PDF locally on your Android device.
    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 your device before you proceed.

  1. Log into Canvas @ Yale and navigate to your course's Assignments section.
    1. Your instructor may not use the "Assignments" section, in which case use whatever link / access to the assignments your instructor provides.
  2. Locate the assignment activity where you need to submit your PDF scans and click on the title of the assignment you wish to submit. Click the "Submit Assignment" button.
  1. Under the "File Upload" tab, click the "Upload File" button and navigate to your scanned PDF saved on your device.
    1. If necessary, click the "+ Add Another File" link to add additional scans to your submission.
  2. When you have attached all required files, click the "Submit Assignment" button.

Submitting Scanned PDFs to Canvas Quizzes

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 your device before you proceed.

  1. Log into Canvas, navigating to your Canvas Course, and click into the Quiz activity where you need to upload / share your scanned PDF file.
  2. On the next screen, click the "Take the Quiz" button.
  1. When you come to a question that requires a file to be uploaded, you will see an Upload component in the question.  
  2. Click the "Choose a File" button.
  3. Navigate to and select your scanned PDF. Then click the "Open" button.
  4. When you are back on the Quiz, the file will upload and you should see a message saying "Your file has been successfully uploaded."
  5. Continue with your quiz, completing all other questions. Click the "Submit" button only when you are totally done with the quiz.

For additional assistance, please email [email protected].