This way you can scan with your smartphone

Completely paperless life: a nice goal, but it is not yet possible. For example, you will still receive a receipt at many stores and institutions such as the tax authorities are not yet fully digital. Do you want to digitize all this paperwork yourself? Then you can: you only need a smartphone with a camera and the right software. We explain how you can scan with your smartphone.

Tip 01: Work mobile

Before we give you information about which apps you can use, first a tip with regard to your method. Mobile scanning is much easier than scanning with an old trusted scanner, but when you save all receipts, it is still a big chore where you have a pile of receipts on your desk. Those receipts are probably half crumpled by then and that does not make scanning easier (see tip 6). What we therefore recommend is to change your working method. The advantage of scanning with your smartphone is that you always have that smartphone with you. It is useful to take advantage of this. In other words: get a receipt, quickly find a quiet spot, scan your receipt (and upload it directly to the cloud, so you don’t run the risk of losing your receipts if you lose your smartphone). It takes a little getting used to, but once it becomes part of your routine, it makes your life a lot easier and clearer.

iphone 11 pro
The advanced cameras of smartphones are perfect for scanning.

Tip 02: Choose a cloud

Mobile scanning makes things a lot easier … unless you make a mess of it. After all, there are so many places where you can save your files. Of course on your smartphone itself, but we strongly advise against it: if you lose your smartphone or if it is stolen, you have lost your data. Synchronizing with your PC or Mac is of course also possible, but that is a bit cumbersome because uploading to the cloud is much faster (and sometimes automatic). If you then choose a cloud, then really choose a cloud. Do not upload your one receipt to Dropbox and another receipt to Google Drive. Make a choice, and use the app that fits. Most cloud services have their own app with scanning capability. We discuss these apps and we discuss an app that is not in the hands of a cloud service.

A handy online photo service for your scans Google Photos. You can use this for free and work on both your tablet and smartphone (Android and Apple). In addition, you can use albums in Google Photos to, for example, categorize your receipts (or other scans), or to separate them from your regular photos. On our site you can read everything about Google Photos.

Tip 02 Make sure you upload everything to the same cloud service, not to ten different ones.
Almost every cloud app also has a scanning option

Tip 03: Scan with Dropbox

Since last year Dropbox has the possibility to scan documents with the Dropbox app for both Android and iOS. The handy part of this is of course that the documents are not stored on your smartphone, but are immediately uploaded to Dropbox and possibly immediately synchronized with the Dropbox app on your computer. To scan a document, start the Dropbox app, press the plus sign at the bottom and then choose Scan Document. The camera is now started immediately, after which you can focus on the document to be scanned. A blue frame shows which surface will be scanned. It is great that you do not have to hold the camera directly above it; the app straightens the image itself. By pressing the plus sign at the bottom left you can add a page, and by pressing the sliders you can determine things like color, black and white and so on. With the icon at the top right you rotate the image. Satisfied? Then press Next one, determine whether it will be a pdf or a png file, choose a storage location on Dropbox and then press Save.

Tip 04: … with Google Drive

Google also has the ability to scan built-in to its Google Drive app, but unfortunately this functionality exists at the time of writing only for Android. To use the scan function in Google Drive, launch the app on your Android smartphone and press the plus sign at the bottom right (in the blue circle). In the menu that appears, press Scanning. Just like in the Dropbox app, the camera is started immediately and you can focus on the document that you want to scan. Unlike in Dropbox, no frame is shown, but the idea is the same and here too skewed images are corrected. If that frame is not set correctly, you can correct it by pressing the square icon at the top. You can also add pages in this app by pressing the plus sign at the bottom left. With the icon of the paint palette at the top you can choose whether it should be color or black and white, and with the three dots at the top right you can turn the page, give it a name or delete it completely. If you are satisfied, press the check mark in the bottom right and your image will be automatically uploaded to Google Drive.

Tip 04 You can also scan with Google Drive, but currently this only works for Android.

Tip 05:… with Turboscan

The TurboScan Pro app costs € 5.49, where Dropbox and Google Drive apps are free. But this app is more flexible and we have something left for that. To scan with TurboScan Pro (for iOS or Android) you start the app and press the icon with the camera at the bottom left (nice is that you can also load existing photos using the icon at the bottom right). As soon as you take the photo, TurboScan places the frame, which you can adjust on the spot. Press Done as soon as the frame is correct (in most cases this is automatically correct). At the bottom right you can indicate whether you want to save the receipt in black and white or in color (black and white takes less space), and you can adjust the color scheme with the squares at the bottom. Then press Next. With the icon in the lower right (plus sign) you can add a page to the scan, with the icon of the brush you can change the name, optionally automatically add a date and specify the format in which the scan should be saved. With the button Parts in the bottom left you save the scan or upload it to the cloud.

Have your receipts been wrinkled? Before scanning, place them under a glass plate

Tip 06: Wrinkles

We recommend that you immediately scan things like receipts when you receive them, as you could read in tip 1. If this is not possible or simply simply not something that you want to do, then chances are that you will receive wrinkled receipts. get it. This makes scanning considerably more difficult, but not impossible. You can of course fold back the receipts / documents and roll them back, but that takes a lot of time and with that the usefulness of mobile scanning is of course far away. This problem is fairly easy to solve with the method that actually does not differ that much from a traditional scanner: a glass plate. Take a glass or plastic plate from a photo frame and place it over the receipt to be scanned. Creases are no longer a problem immediately. Something to do during the day, because the reflection of lamps can throw a spanner in the works.

Tip 06 Place your wrinkled receipts under glass or a plastic plate for easy scanning.

Tip 07: ocr?

The mentioned apps all work very pleasantly and efficiently, but have one common flaw: they are unable to convert scanned text into digital text (in other words, text that you can then copy and paste). Fortunately there are apps that use this technology (ocr), and one of those apps is from a well-known software producer: Microsoft! Office Lens is free and available for both Android as iOS. To scan a document, start the app and indicate at the bottom that it is a Document. Point your camera at the document / receipt you want to scan and press the red button when the white frame properly encloses the document. Now press +1 at the bottom left to add another document to the scan or at Ready top right if you are satisfied with the result. Now when you press PDF at the bottom, the document is saved as an editable PDF, or all text in the document can then be selected and copied.

Tip 08: Separate files

In some cases it is useful to scan a lot of documents as a single document, simply because this is faster. But then of course you have one large pdf, while you actually wanted separate documents. But you can easily separate documents. Adobe Acrobat DC is a great program for this, but this program is pricey and not an option for everyone. Fortunately, there are also free alternatives, and you don’t even have to install anything. surf to and upload the file you want to split (you can also import it directly from Dropbox or Google Drive). click on Extract all pages into separate files or specify which files you want to split. Now press Split to actually split the files. A zip file will now be created containing all pages from the main document as a separate PDF file.

Tip 08 You can easily separate files online with SplitPDF.
Do you want to merge several separate documents into one? You can do that online for free

Tip 09:… and combine

The opposite situation is of course also possible: you have scanned all sorts of individual files and would like to combine them into one pdf. Adobe Acrobat DC can do that too, but also in this case there is a free online tool that can do it for you (from the same makers by the way). surf to and upload the files that you want to combine into one pdf. By default there are four fields, but by clicking on More files you can add more fields. Then click on Merge! The site will get started for you, and almost immediately afterwards the combined PDF file will be automatically downloaded for you. There is also software available from both sites that can do the job online for you, but that software is not free.

Tip 09 Combining files online is just as easy.

Tip 10: Organize

At the beginning of this article, we recommended that you opt for one cloud service. In some cases, this will not be possible (for example, because you manage administration together, and one has an Android phone, and the other an iPhone with a Google Drive app that does not support scans). Such a situation is not optimal, but still relatively easy to remedy with IFTTT. IFTTT is a website that can link services together. surf to and create an account. You do not have to reinvent the wheel, the action you are looking for has already been made by others. Click on the magnifying glass and search for sync dropbox google drive (you can of course enter any cloud service you want here; we take these two as an example). Choose the app with the desired description (in our case Automatically sync new files added to Dropbox to your Google Drive). Select the folder in Dropbox where you upload the receipts to and then click Turn on. The receipts that are placed in this folder are automatically synchronized to Google Drive. This way you keep everything neatly together.


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