Need a scanner? Try your phone

Once upon a time, people had visions of a paperless society.  At some point, I may even have been one of them. Alas! No such luck. While the number of paper forms, etc we have to deal with is significantly less than it used to be, there always seems to be that odd time that we need to get a piece of paperwork delivered. (And who has time to go get a stamp and mail it?)

For times like these, wouldn’t it be nice to make a quick scan of your document and just email it off? Why not give your phone a try for this one?

All you need to do is take a photo of your document and an app to handle the “scanning” job to convert the ph0to into a PDF that you can send off on its merry way. This is also great for scanning receipts or other things you might want to keep for yourself.

Here are a few good ones that I’ve used for you to try:

Cam Scanner (for Android, iOS andWindows Phone)


Evernote has an app called Scannable .


Google Drive (Android)


If you’re on an Android phone and use the Google Drive app, you already have what you need. Just open the Google Drive app and tap the Add (+) button at the bottom-right of the screen. Lay down your document, tap the Scan camera icon and hold your phone over it to get a good picture. After snapping the photo, Crop any unnecessary background. If you are scanning a multipage document, tap the Add button to go on to the next page and repeat the process. When you’re ready, tap the Done (check mark) icon. Your files are automatically stored in your Google Drive.

Office Lens


Want to do even more? ( Geez, you are demanding!) Give Office Lens try. This app trims, enhances and not only makes your photos of whiteboards and documents readable; but it can also convert them into editable Word and PowerPoint files too.

I can do everything I need in free versions but for a few bucks some apps will give you extras like

Scanbot is another free scanning app with versions for Android and iOS. Some scanning apps may charge a few dollars for a premium version, but include extra features like faxing or optical character recognition for converting images into editable text.

Published by Mike Taylor

Born with a life-long passion for learning, I have the great fortune to work at the intersection of learning, design, technology & collaboration.

4 thoughts on “Need a scanner? Try your phone

  1. Hello Mike, thanks for this again… Yes, I’ve been using Camscanner for a few years now and it has improved over the years. I’ve had to uninstall recently while looking for space on my limited memory phone.

    Glad to know Google drive does the same, I never knew that… I’ve given it a try just now and it works perfectly fine!
    Thanks for sharing the tip!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: