How to scan documents from your smartphone

Do you need to scan a document, but don’t want to invest in a dedicated machine? Are you in a hurry with a piece of paper that must be sent as soon as possible? Why not use your smartphone! Thanks to this tutorial and the increasingly powerful sensors of your device, scanning documents will become child’s play.

google drive scan
Credits: 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 a tree. But also in practice, when it’s much easier to download a book in seconds than to walk to the store.

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

But when you’re a student, or when you have to do it urgently, for example, you don’t always have the chance to have a scanner under your elbow. So why not use your smartphone in this case? It is quite possible, and we will show you how to scan documents directly from your mobile.


In itself, the use of this method does not require any prerequisites 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, this one must be a minimum powerful to be able to capture a sheet. Test this method for yourself and make sure the document remains legible before sending it.

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

The easiest way is to use the Google Drive application which is already pre-installed on many smartphones. It does much more than just back up your important documents – and contains a very efficient scanning feature!

  • Open the app Google Drive
  • Press sign +
  • Touch Scan

The application will then request access to your camera – of course you have to accept.

Once the document is scanned, tap the symbol V on the right to validate and televise your scanned document to your Google Drive. This is automatically cropped, the contrast is enhanced for easier reading, and the result is converted to PDF format. If you don’t like this scan, you can tap 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 what 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:


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


Test the application first, but believe us: €2 will quickly appear to be a ridiculous sum compared to the service that the application will provide you.

First launch


When you launch the application, you will be able to create an account in order to save your scans online, for example. This step is optional, so we won’t cover it in this tutorial.

  • Touch use now to skip this step
  • Accept permission to access storage
  • Touch the icon Cameraand accept the authorization request again

Scan with CamScanner


So here you are in the application scan interface. Please have a contrasting background with your sheet, to help the app recognize it, and be in a well-lit room.

  • Touch the document via your screen to best adjust the focus
  • take the picture

As with Google Drive, the rest is automatic. You can also capture in batch, to make a PDF file of several pages.

Retouch capture


Basically, CamScanner’s performance is quite stunning. But if it had made a mistake by automatically cropping a photo, or if you would like to retouch the contrast of your scan:

  • Tap the icon surrounded by a red square in the preview (see above)

The first window that opens will allow you to retouch the automatic clipping of your sheet. Thus, if you think that the application has cropped 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 the editing interface of CamScanner. At the top of the application, settings are available to you: Auto, which will retouch the contrast and brightness of the document for you to make it as readable as possible, original which will keep the source, low quality and higher quality whose names are quite equivocal in themselves.

At the bottom of the interface, you also have the possibility of tilting the image on the left or the 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.

Scan a document: some alternative applications

You already knew the two solutions explained above and want an alternative? These are very numerous on the Play Store! Here is a list – not exhaustive – of applications dedicated to scanning free and worthy of the name:

  • Office Lens
  • Adobe Scan
  • Genius Scan

And here you are, ready to send everything to your bank, to the State or whatever! You didn’t think your smartphone could be used like this, did you? These little devices know how to manage better than you think!

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