How to scan documents using your smartphone?

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Alejandra Rangel
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Rather than bothering with an impractical and, above all, not portable scanner, why not use your smartphone to scan documents?



Smartphones have rendered obsolete a bundle of technological devices that we used to carry around before. MP3 players, radio, camcorders, disposable cameras... a good current mobile manages to do all this without problems. But among all these devices, there is one that is often forgotten: the scanner. 

Indeed, with the monumental progress made by the cameras of our smartphones in recent years, it has become possible to scan all types of documents very easily and to output PDFs. So whether it's for administrative documents, handouts for school or anything else, here are some ways to easily digitize your loose sheets.

On Android with Google Drive

The easiest and fastest way to scan paper on Android is to use the Google Drive application which is preinstalled on all phones with Google OS. Cloud file hosting service Made In Mountain View has actually added a document scanning option. And it couldn't be simpler. 


First, open the Drive app, then tap the big "+" button at the bottom right and select the "Scan" option. The camera should then launch and a big blue shutter should take up the bottom third of the screen. For best results, try to get as close to your document as possible and press the shutter button. 



4 simple steps to scan a document.

If you're happy with the result, tap the checkmark, and your document should magically upload to your online storage (if you're connected to Wi-Fi). If you have framing problems, a tool in the top right corner will allow you to correct the shot. Align the corners of the image with the corners of the document, then confirm with the checkmark. Other tools will allow you to switch the document to black and white, rename it or rotate it. Once the desired result has been obtained, press the check mark.


It is possible to crop, rename or switch the scan to black and white.


If you wish to scan several pages, before pressing the check mark, press the "+" button then repeat the exercise. Tap the checkmark when all pages have been processed. When the document has been saved on Google Drive, it is possible to download it to attach it to an email or to share a link to allow other users to view it. 


NB: If you want the documents to be saved even when you are not connected to Wi-Fi, go to the application settings via the side menu and uncheck the option "transfers only over Wi-Fi" . Incidentally, for best results, try placing your sheet on a dark background. The contrast will make it easier for the software to detect the corners of the sheet.

On Android with the CamScanner app

If you are not comfortable with the idea of 鈥嬧媋utomatically sharing your documents with Google and its cloud, other simple applications exist, such as CamScanner. The app that has been squatting on the shelves of the Play Store for a few years could not be simpler. Once installed, no need to register for anything, tap on "use now" and you find yourself in front of a clean interface with a single button at the bottom right.

Tap it and your camera launches. From there, choose the type of document you want to scan (simple, ID card, greeting card...) and if you want to scan a sheet or a batch (thanks to the icons to the right of the trigger). Once your documents have been scanned, if the framing suits you, press the check mark, otherwise edit it by dragging the different points on the screen. Once the photo is saved, you will be able to choose the desired quality and whether you want to save it in color or in black and white.


Once your document has been saved, you can select it from the list and send it in PDF or JPG via your preferred services.


On iOS with the Notes app

On iOS, the easiest way to scan a document is through the Notes app (from iOS 11). Pre-installed on all iOS devices, it quickly scans a loose sheet. To get started, launch the app, create a new note by pressing the bottom right button and press the "+" button above the keyboard. Once the camera launches, hover over your sheet as close as possible and let the camera automatically scan your document (or press the shutter button if you're in a real hurry). Once the photo has been taken, you can continue to scan the different pages or save your work. If the scan went wrong, you can catch up by tapping the document image to rotate or crop it.


On iOS, the Notes app will do the best job of scanning your documents

Once your documents are scanned, tap on the selection of documents in front of you then on the arrow icon at the top right and finally choose "create PDF". Once the conversion is complete, you can share your documents by clicking on the icon at the bottom left and choosing your preferred sharing service.

But ultimately, why scan? 

While scanning with your phone is undeniably convenient, there's no need to print and then scan a document if you have anything to fill out or sign. The Adobe Fill & Sign app available on Android and iOS allows you to digitally sign and initial your documents from your smartphone. To do this, nothing simpler. First, open the app then tap on the fountain pen icon. From there, with the flick of a finger, you can register a signature and initials.

Once this first step is successful, download the fillable PDF from your source and tap the "+" icon to retrieve the document. Once the document is open, tap the fountain pen icon again to select your signature or initials. The choice will appear superimposed on the document and you can drag it, increase or decrease its size. 

Tapping anywhere on your document will also add text, a tick, a dot or a cross. The complete range for filling out documents without having to print them out!

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