How to scan documents using Android phone and store them online for easy access.

Scanning a document isn’t a joyous task to do and if you are traveling it’s more painful. Also keeping a heap of paper is so 19th century.

Besides, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term “scan? We know, we know! It is that big unhandy time-consuming machine – the scanner.

Have you ever thought of replacing the scanner with something small and portable? My dear friend – your wish has been granted.

Your best buddy – your mobile phone is capable of doing everything – including scanning your documents/receipts/whiteboard.

You know you could kill two birds with one mobile, I mean stone. Use your Android phone to scan the documents and store the digital data online in any cloud storageGoogle Drive, DropBox which you can access from any device, anywhere, anytime.

Further, scanning the document using Android phone has two more benefits. First, if you lose an important paper document you would have its backup in the digital form and second, searching for digital data is a cakewalk.

Also read: Best pre-installed Android widgets that you should know about

How to use Google Drive to scan the documents

You can use the preinstalled Google Drive app on your Android phone to scan your documents and save them online – no need to install anything.

Google Drive is one of the best and simple apps to scan the documents. It’s a godsend app which automatically saves the data online by creating a PDF file – that you can access anywhere. Moreover, Google Drive app indexes your documents meaning you can search within the PDF files.

Suppose you upload multiple prescriptions of Bharti Medicines, New Delhi and you want to search for a particular medicine in one of the prescriptions. With Google Drive, you don’t need to manually open each document, you can search for the medicine directly via the search bar and Google Drive will show you the files containing the exact term. (I know, it’s Awesome)

To scan the documents using the Google Drive Android app, follow the steps:

Step 1. Open the Google Drive app.

Step 2. Tap the Floating Plus(Add) button located at the bottom right corner.

Step 3. This will open a “New Menu”, tap the “Scan” option – it will switch on the camera mode.

Step 4.  Point your camera towards the document that you want to scan. There are two options at the bottom of your screen, flash and capture button. Hit the capture button to snap the photo.

The app will automatically crop the photo to fit the document as seen in the above picture.

Also read: How to recover notifications cleared from notification bar on Android, including Samsung devices

However, if you are unhappy with the automatic crop, you can tap the crop icon in the top bar to modify the dimensions.

Further, the app provides you following settings to enhance your documents.

  • Tap the color palette next to the crop icon to change the color of the document.

  • Tap to three dots to reveal more settings. The first three are self-explanatory. In the settings option, you will find paper size, paper orientation, and image quality.

  • The bottom bar holds three buttons: a plus sign to add bulk (multiple pages) to the same PDF, a retake button to re-scan the document if you are unhappy with it, and the final check button to confirm that everything is perfect and you are ready to save it.

Step 5. When you are happy with the scan, tap the check button to save the document. Tapping this icon will automatically upload the document to your Gmail account. I personally like this feature – one tap and direct upload.

Once it’s done syncing, you will be able to view this file from any other device – specifically, if Google Drive is installed.

How to use 3rd party app to scan the documents

However, if for any reason you are not satisfied with the Google Drive app, you can use third party apps like CamScanner, Turbo Scanner, Tiny scanner, Microsoft Office Lens etc. to scan the data. These apps have few additional functions like improved batch mode, import existing photo etc. But, most of the third party apps lack Optical Character Recognition – search within the image (which is available on Google Drive), in the free version.

Cam Scanner 

The first name that pops up on Google Play store when you search for “scanner” or “scan” is the CamScanner app. Being one of the well-known apps, it doesn’t disappoint at all – I tried many 3rd party apps, but CamScanner won the race.

Similar to the Google Drive, CamScanner scans the document and auto crops it. Additionally, it provides other settings like image size, batch mode, filters etc. to further enhance the document.

Also read: How to sync a local folder with Google Drive on your Android device

To remote access your data, you can save it online to the cloud tools like DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive etc. however, auto sync is available only for premium users.

Though the free version of CamScanner lacks few other features like Optical Character recognition and adds a watermark to the scanned documents, CamScanner still leads the gang.

Of course, you could use the default phone camera to capture a photo and save it in the gallery but the best approach is to use an independent app that automatically crops the photo, organizes the scanned data in different folders and offers text recognition – which allows the apps to search within the image.

Download Google Drive

Download CamScanner


Do you know of an easier, or an alternative way? Feel free to share your experience below.

  • Ashwin Prasad

    I have always used scanbot and camscanner to scan paper. I never knew google drive scan was this functional. Thank you. Genuinely helped