If you ever have the need to annotate documents, such as fill out a form or add some text to a document, Touch-Fill-Go is a neat iPhone app that can scan a paper document to create a PDF file or import a PDF file, add annotations such as text or a signature, and then e-mail the annotated PDF file or send the file to another iPhone via Bluetooth. There is room for improvement, but this app is very handy. It regularly sells for $4.99, but it just went on sale for $2.99 for a limited time, and at only $3 I think it is an app that many lawyers and others will want to get.
You add a document to Touch-Fill-Go one of two ways. First, if you have the document in paper form, you can use the iPhone camera to scan the document. To assist you in making the scan straight, the app displays a white grid on top of the document that you are scanning, and the app turns the grid green at the best time to take the picture. In my experience, it was very difficult to tap the screen and take the picture at exactly the moment that the grid is green, but the camera still did a decent job capturing the image. Once the image is captured the app will analyze the image to try to optimize the image quality and orientation.
Once the image is analyzed, you can then adjust the image by cropping the sides (useful to make sure that only the document itself remains, cutting out the edges), by rotating the image and by manually adjusting the brightness and contrast.
Alternatively, you can import a file that is already in your Photo Library on your iPhone, or you can import a PDF that is available at a website. To use that last feature, you enter an address in the app's web browser and then find a PDF that is online. For example, I downloaded an attorney admission from from the U.S. Supreme Court website.
Once the file is ready, either because you scanned it or you imported it, you can then annotate the file. If you are filing out a form, the app does a decent job of automatically detecting most fields such as lines and checkboxes, or you can manually tell the app where you want to type. If you start to enter text that you have typed in the past, the app offers suggestions so that you don't have to fully type the text again. You can control the font and size, and after text is entered you can easily move it around or scale it larger or smaller.
In addition to adding text, you can place a checkmark in a box, and you can even add a signature, which you can scale so that it is the right size on a line.
Once you are done, you can store the file in the app itself, and the app includes folders to keep files organized. You can use Bluetooth to send the file to another iPhone. Or, and most usefully, you can send the annotated file as a PDF attachment to an e-mail.
I was very impressed with the abilities of this app. The annotation feature is impressive, and the ability to take a physical document and easily create a digital PDF file is very useful. Having said that, there are several areas for improvement that would make this app even better. First, I wish that there were additional ways to get PDF files into the app, such as the ability to e-mail a file to the app. The Zosh app that I reviewed last year is similar to Touch-Fill-Go and it allows you to do just that. Zosh does not let you scan physical documents to create a PDF, but if you already have a file in PDF form, it is a lot easier to get that file into Zosh. Similarly, it would be nice if Touch-Fill-Go could access PDF files on cloud storage services such as Google Docs, MobileMe, Dropbox, etc.
Second, it is difficult to add a signature to a document because you are limited to the width of the iPhone screen in landscape mode. Zosh solves this problem by automatically scrolling a window while you are signing. It would be useful if Touch-Fill-Go could do the same thing.
Third, I wish that the app would let you crop or adjust the brightness/contrast on a document AFTER you start to annotate it. Adjusting any of those settings results in the app erasing all of your annotations.
The developer of this app is EarthLink. Yes, that EarthLink, the internet service provider. I don't really understand how this iPhone app fits into the company's core business. I imagine that one of its employees just developed this cool app on his own, perhaps just because he wanted to use it himself, and the company decided to sell the app under its name. EarthLink was kind enough to provide me with a free copy of this app for review purposes, but has not yet responded to my question on how this app fits in with the rest of the EarthLink business. I mention this only because I hope that EarthLink recognizes the value of this gem of an app and continues to improve it, even if it is just an ancillary business for the company. Indeed, I wish that there was some way to merge the best features of Touch-Fill-Go and Zosh, because the result would be an amazingly powerful app.
If you need to annotate a PDF file that you can access on the internet, or if you have a physical document that you want to scan and fill out, this is an incredibly useful app. And if EarthLink adds a few more features, then this app could become essential for many lawyers and others who work with a lot of documents that need to be annotated or filled out.