How to Scan Documents With Your Phone’s Camera

With the home office being the new normal for many, there will inevitably come a time when you need to email someone a paper document. But how can you take a physical sheet of paper and turn it into a digital image without a scanner?

Yes, you can simply take a photo and send it. But you can get the same results as you would have used a proper scanner, as opposed to sending a warped, underexposed image.

There are different ways to do this, including a digital scanner app on your smartphone. You may even find the camera app on your phone has a ‘Text’ or ‘Document’ setting for this purpose. In fact, if you have an iPhone running iOS 15, you can even use the new Live Text feature to turn it into editable text without downloading anything extra – and using the Notes app. to scan documents.

Tips for better document photography

Before getting into the apps themselves, here are a few tips for getting the best quality: you don’t want skewed or glossy text that makes them hard to read.

  1. Use natural light. Place your paper on a table near (but not) also near) a window.
  2. Keep your phone square to the document, not at an angle
  3. Try different lenses if your phone has them. Shooting telephoto tends to be the best option, and avoid ultra-wide angles that will skew things.

Scan documents with Google Drive

You may not know it, but Google Drive has a built-in scanner feature that you can use to digitize old documents, photos, and other printed materials. To use it, open the app on your phone and do the following:

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Tap the plus icon in the lower right corner of the screen. This will open a menu pane with several options. Option To scan and the camera will launch, allowing you to take a picture of the item in question.

How to scan documents on your phone: Android

Once you have the image, you’ll be able to crop it to the size you want, then save it as a PDF. The newly scanned image will then be saved to your Google Drive folder, allowing you to share it via email or another messaging app.

Scan documents on iPhone with the Notes app

Like with Google drive, Apple’s Notes app also has a free built-in scanner that can digitize your documents. To use it, open the app and tap the icon in the bottom right corner to create a new note. Select the Camera option and then select Scan documents.

How to scan documents by phone: iPhone

This will open the camera, which will start scanning parts of the image. Tap the camera’s shutter button to take a photo, then you can adjust which part of the photo you want to keep by positioning the circles that appear on each edge. When you have what you want, tap Continue scanning and it will be saved to your device.

Scan documents with other apps

If the methods above don’t quite work for you, possibly because you need a specific feature they don’t provide, there are alternatives. If you have a Microsoft 365 account, then Microsoft Office Lens – PDF Scanner is a great choice, you should also check out SwiftScan, Genius Scan, Simple Scan and many more apps available in Google Play Store and Apple App Store .

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Unfortunately, one that is completely free, has no limits and no ads. It’s iOS only, but it has various modes that allow you to ‘scan’ multiple pages of a book or document and share it as a PDF, as well as the ability to convert characters to text with editable. However, as mentioned at the beginning, that’s a bit redundant if you have iOS 15.

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