RecipeScan™ Frequently Asked Questions

How does RecipeScan work?

  1. Just submit a photo of a hand-written or typed paper recipe you'd like to add to BigOven, using your camera, scanner, iPhone, iPad or Windows Phone cameras. (Android coming soon, we'll let you know via our BigOven page on Facebook.)
  2. BigOven will convert your recipe photo to digital text to save you time typing!
  3. View, edit and search all your BigOVen recipes anywhere via our website and free mobile recipe apps

All recipes are set to "Private" initially, meaning only you will be able to view them while logged in. BigOven Pro members can store an unlimited number of private recipes, and choose to make recipes public if they wish.

Why would I want to do this?

First, it's a lot easier to take a photo than it is to type in a recipe. But there's more to it than just that. Imagine having your favorite family recipes (that might be in a kitchen drawer) as close as your phone, or the nearest web browser. In the kitchen on an iPad, or on the go on your iPhone, Android or Windows Phone device. You'll be able to search for them easily, email them to friends and family, plan a Try list, and much more.

If you're new to BigOven, be sure to watch a brief overview to see some more great things you can do with your recipes. Suddenly, you can capture all the recipes you'd like to try -- whether you're at a friend's house, in the grocery store, or looking through your recipe drawer.

What's behind the scenes?

A real live human being. While optical character recognition (OCR) software has come a very long way, recipes are entered in a lot of different formats. OCR alone isn't able to properly categorize text into the right boxes, making the fields searchable, ingredients linked up, etc. So we've reached out to actual data entry workers for the job.

What if the completed recipe needs editing?

When the work is complete, you can make any minor changes you'd like very easily with the Edit button on the recipe page (you'll see it when you're logged in.) If, in rare cases, the entire work isn't to your satisfaction, simply reject it within the first 5 days from the link that is emailed to you. This will delete the recipe and refund the credit back to you. You can then re-shoot or re-submit the photo.

How long does RecipeScan take?

We'll email you when your recipe is ready, typically in 2-5 days after you submit it, with a link where you can view the recipe text that was entered. There, you can make any final edits, then add photos and ratings. It will show up in your "Recipes I've Posted" list, just like any you've typed yourself! (On the iPad and iPhone, simply drag this list all the way to the top to force a refresh.)

How much does it cost?

Each RecipeScan costs one BigOven credit.

How do I get BigOven credits?

Every member gets 3 free credits, for a limited time.

Special one-time bonus for BigOven Pro: For a limited time, if you upgrade (or already have upgraded) to BigOven Pro, you'll get 25 more BigOven credits!

What if I've used up my credits?

New credits can be purchased for about $0.99 per recipe, with a discount for multiple bought at once. Credit purchases are non-transferrable and non-refundable, but if you're unsatisfied with a RecipeScan, simply indicate it on the form and we'll delete the entered recipe and refund the credit back to you.

How do I import a recipe on multiple pages?

You can upload up to 3 images for each scan, but it needs to be for one recipe at a time. Not available on the mobile devices at this writing -- you'll need to use the web interface for this.

What if I don't want to buy credits?

We invite you to post recipes to the site!

What kind of recipes can I import?

We built RecipeScan to give you an easy way to organize all your recipes. Please respect copyright. Recipes from newspapers, magazines, cookbooks or other commercial sources or websites cannot be publicly posted. has a Private Recipe feature, and by default, all RecipeScans are made private. Private recipes are a feature of BigOven Pro membership.

What if I have a problem with the results?

We encourage you to try the free RecipeScan credits first to get the hang of it. No digitization process is perfect, but it really makes it easy to get new recipes into the system. For minor fixup of your recipe, it's quickest to adjust it to your liking by clicking the Edit button on the right hand side of the recipe page. (You'll only see this page when you're logged in.) If the RecipeScan was garbled or nonsensical, click the button on the page to delete the recipe and have the credit refunded back to you. (You need to do this within 3 days of receiving your notification email.) If you have further questions, comments or ideas, just let us know!

Back to RecipeScan

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