Scan documents and photos with your smartphone

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With telecommuting having become a new habit for many, there are bound to be times when you need to send a paper document via email. But, how to transform it, convert it into a digital image without being equipped with a scanner?

Yes, of course you can just take a picture and send it. However, it is possible to get results that make it look like you’ve used a good scanner, instead of sending an image that is poorly lit, distorted, and blurry in places.

There are several ways to do this, including a digital scanner app on your smartphone. Your phone’s camera app may even have a Text or Document setting for this. In fact, if you have an iPhone running iOS 15, you can even use the new Live Text function to turn your documents into editable text without downloading anything, and use the Notes application to scan documents.

Tips for taking better photos of paper documents

Before we get to the apps themselves, here are some tips for getting the best quality, since you don’t want skewed text or shadows making it difficult to read.

  1. Use natural light. Lay your document on a table near (but not too close) a window.
  2. Hold your phone perpendicular to the document, not at an angle.
  3. Try different lenses if your phone has them. Telephoto is usually the best option, and avoid ultra-wide angles that distort everything.

Scan documents on Android with Google Drive

You might not know it, but Google Drive has a built-in scan feature that you can use to scan documents, old photos, etc. To use it, open the app on your phone and do the following: Tap the symbol + at the bottom right of the screen. This opens a menu with several options. Select Digitize and the camera will launch, allowing you to take a photo of the item in question.


Once the image is obtained, you will be able to crop it to the desired size and then save it as a PDF. The newly scanned image will then be saved to your Google Drive folder, allowing you to share it via email or otherwise.

Scan documents on iPhone with the Notes app

As with Google Drive, Apple’s Notes application also has a built-in scanner, free of charge, to scan your documents. Open the app and tap the icon at the bottom right to create a new note. Select the icon + / Camera, then choose the option Scan documents.

The camera opens and begins scanning sections of the image. Press the shutter button on the camera to capture the desired image, then you can adjust the parts you want to keep by positioning the circles that appear on each edge. Finally, tap on Keep scan, the image will be saved to your device.

Scan documents with other applications

If the above methods are not suitable for you, perhaps because you need a specific function that they do not offer, there are many alternatives.

If you have a Microsoft 365 account, then the app Microsoft Office Lens – PDF Scanner might convince you.

You can also look from the side of SwiftScan, Genius Scan, Simple Scan as well as the many other applications available on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

FP Scanner-PDF & Image to Text is a completely free application with no limits and no ads. Unfortunately, it is only available on iOS, but it offers several modes for “scanning” multiple pages of a book or document and sharing them as PDF, as well as the ability to convert characters to text. editable. Although, as mentioned at the start, this is somewhat redundant if you have iOS 15.

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