How to Scan Documents From Your Smartphone

You need to scan a document, but don’t feel like investing in a dedicated machine? Are you in a hurry and have a paper to send as soon as possible? Why not use your smartphone! With this tutorial and the increasingly powerful sensors in your device, scanning documents will become child’s play.

Appropriations: Phonandroid

In many ways, digital has completely killed paper. It must be said that it is superior on many levels: ecologically, of course, since it does not kill trees. But also on the practical side, where it is much easier to download a book in a few seconds than it is to make the way to the shop.

Where this becomes all the more true is in the context of administrative procedures. Although digital is coming for the government, many papers still have to be received in person, signed, scanned and emailed back for speed.

But when you are a student, or when you have to do it in an emergency, for example, it is difficult to justify the purchase of a scanner. Why not use your smartphone in this case? It’s entirely possible, and we’re going to show you how.

Prerequisites

In itself, the use of this method does not require any prerequisite since it is based on the use of an Android application However, keep in mind that this method obviously uses your phone’s photo sensor Also, it has to be a minimum performance to be able to capture a leaf. Test this method for yourself and make sure the document remains legible before sending it.


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The environment in which you make this capture is also to be taken into account. A barely lit room will of course not give the same impression as a room bathed in light. Also make sure to scan on a neutral background to facilitate the application’s work.

The easiest way to do this is to use the Google Drive application, which is already pre-installed on many smartphones. It does much more than just save your important documents – it contains a highly efficient scanning functionality!

  • Open the application Google Drive
  • Press the +sign.
  • Touch Scan

The application will then ask for access to your camera – you must of course accept.

After the document is scanned, tap the Vsymbol on the right to validate and upload your scanned document to your Google Drive It is automatically trimmed, the contrast is improved for easier reading, and the result is converted to PDF format If you don’t like this scan, you can touch the middle button. Finally, to add other documents to the same PDF, touch the+symbol.

From there you can directly share your document from Google Drive Or download it to your computer to do whatever you want with it.

The other option to scan a document from your smartphone is to use another application that provides a few more options. Here we have chosen to show you how to use CamScanner, available for free on the Play Store here :

france-explorators-google-play-store

The free version will add a banner to your scan. If you don’t want to have it, the paid version is available here at 2.09€ in limited promotion (usually 4.99€) :

france-explorators-google-play-store

Test the app first, but trust us: 2€ will soon appear as a ridiculous sum compared to the service the app will provide you.

First launch

document scanner-01

When launching the application, you will have the possibility to create an account in order to save your scans online for example. This step is optional, so we will not cover it in this tutorial.

  • Touch now use to skip this step
  • Accept permission to access storage
  • Touch the Cameraicon, and accept the permission request again.

Scan with CamScanner

document scanner-02

So here you are in the scanning interface of the application. Please have a background that contrasts with your sheet, to help the application recognize it, and be in a well-lit room.

  • Touch the document via your screen to adjust the focus as much as possible.
  • Take the picture

As with Google Drive, the rest is automatic. You can also batch capture to make a multi-page PDF file

Retouching the catch

document scanner-03

On a basic level, CamScanner’s performance is pretty amazing. But if it had made a mistake by automatically diverting a photo, or if you would like to retouch the contrast of your scan :

  • Tap the red square icon in the preview (see above).

The first window that opens will allow you to retouch the automatic trimming of your sheet. So, if you think the application has trimmed a part of your document, you can find it here and retouch the clipping as you see fit. Once this is done, you will find yourself in CamScanner’s editing interface. At the top of the application, there are settings available to you: Auto, which will retouch for you the contrast and brightness of the document to make it as readable as possible, original which will keep the source, low quality and high quality whose names are quite ambiguous in themselves.

At the bottom of the interface, you can also toggle the image to the left or right, in order to find the document in its natural reading direction. By pressing the sliders icon, you will have access to much more precise settings: those of contrast, brightness and finally details. Be careful to manage your balance between brightness and contrast so that the document is readable without erasing certain elements of the document.

Scanning a document: some alternative applications

You already knew the two solutions outlined above and would like an alternative? These are very numerous on the Play Store! Here is a non-exhaustive list of applications dedicated to scanning, free and worthy of the name:

And here you are, ready to send it to your bank, the state or whatever! You didn’t think your smartphone could be used like that, did you? These little devices know how to do better than we think!

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