This is how you can scan with your smartphone

More and more organizations are committed to going paperless, but you cannot completely avoid receiving a letter from the tax authorities in the post or a receipt at a store. Do you want to digitize all this paperwork yourself? Then you can: all you need is 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, let's first give you a tip regarding your method. Mobile scanning is much easier than scanning with an old trusted scanner, but when you save up all the receipts, it is still a lot of work when you have a mountain of receipts on your desk. Those receipts will probably be half crumpled by then and that doesn't make scanning any easier (see tip 6). What we would therefore recommend to you 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 that. In other words: if you receive a receipt, quickly find a quiet spot, scan your receipt (and upload it directly to the cloud, so that you do not run the risk of losing your receipts if you lose your smartphone). It takes some getting used to, but once this becomes part of your routine, it makes your life a lot easier and more organized.

Tip 02: Choose a cloud

Mobile scanning makes things a lot clearer… unless you mess it up after all. After all, there are so many places where you can keep your files. Of course on your smartphone itself, but we strongly advise against that: if you lose your smartphone or if it is stolen, you will lose your data. Syncing 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 choose a cloud, then really choose a cloud. Don't upload 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 is Google Photos. You can use this for free and it works on both your tablet and smartphone (Android and Apple). In addition, in Google Photos you can make handy use of albums, for example to categorize your receipts (or other scans), or to separate them from your regular photos. You can read everything about Google Photos on our site.

Cloud services come in all shapes and sizes, and you may find yourself preferring another service over Google Photos. They each have their own advantages and quirks. For example, unlike many competitors, Dropbox is not tied to a particular operating system. This is different with, for example, iCloud (integrated into the Apple ecosystem), Google Drive or Microsoft's OneDrive.

And then there are countless smaller, slightly less well-known services. Box, for example, which focuses more on businesses. Or SpiderOak, which has privacy as its most important feat. Mega is a service of Kim Dotcom, a well-known internet entrepreneur. And Stack is a Dutch cloud that gives you no less than a terabyte of free storage space. So plenty of choice.

Virtually every cloud app also has a scan capability

Tip 03: Scan with Dropbox

Dropbox has been able to scan documents with the Dropbox app for both Android and iOS since last year. The handy thing about this is, of course, that the documents are not saved on your smartphone, but are directly 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 will now be started immediately, after which you can point it at the document to be scanned. A blue frame shows which surface will be scanned. The nice thing is that you don't have to hold the camera directly above it; the app corrects the picture itself. Pressing the plus sign at the bottom left allows you to add a page, and pressing the sliders lets you control things like color, black and white, and so on. Rotate the image with the icon at the top right. Satisfied? Then press Next one, decide whether it will be a PDF or PNG file, choose a storage location on Dropbox, then press Keep.

Tip 04: … with Google Drive

Google has also built the scanning option into its Google Drive app, but unfortunately this functionality only exists for Android at the time of writing. To use the scan function in Google Drive, start 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 Scan. As in the Dropbox app, the camera launches instantly and you can point it at the document you want to scan. Unlike in Dropbox, no frame is shown, but the idea is the same and skewed images are corrected here too. If that frame is not completely set correctly, you can correct it by pressing the icon with the square at the top. Also in this app you can add pages by pressing the plus sign at the bottom left. The paint palette icon at the top lets you choose whether it should be color or black and white, and the three dots at the top right allow you to rotate, name, or delete the page completely. When you are satisfied, press the check mark in the bottom right and your image will be automatically uploaded to Google Drive.

Tip 05: … with Turboscan

The TurboScan Pro app costs 5.49 euros (or 3.50 euros for Android), where the apps from Dropbox and Google Drive are free. But this app is more flexible and we have something to offer for that. To scan with TurboScan Pro (for iOS or Android), start the app and press the camera icon at the bottom left (nicely, you can also load existing photos using the icon at the bottom right). As soon as you shoot the photo, TurboScan places the frame, which you can adjust on the spot. Press Done as soon as the frame is right (in most cases, that's automatically right). 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 up less space), and you can adjust the color scheme with the squares at the bottom. Then press Next. With the icon at the bottom right (plus sign) you can add a page to the scan, with the icon of the brush you can change the name, automatically add a date and indicate in which format the scan should be saved. With the button To share At the bottom left, save the scan or upload it to the cloud.

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

Tip 06: Wrinkles

We recommend that you scan things like receipts immediately when you receive them, as you could read in tip 1. If this is not possible or simply nothing you want to do, chances are that you will end up with wrinkled receipts. gets to make. That makes scanning considerably more difficult, but not impossible. You can of course fold and roll back the receipts/documents, but that takes a lot of time and therefore the use of mobile scanning is of course hard to find. This problem can be solved quite easily with the method that is actually not very different from a traditional scanner: a glass slide. Take a glass or plastic plate from a photo frame and place it over the receipt to be scanned. Wrinkles are no longer a problem. Something to do during the day, because the reflection of lamps can throw a spanner in the works.

Tip 07: OCR?

The apps mentioned all work very nicely and efficiently, but have one common flaw: they are not able to convert scanned text into digital text (that is, 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 manufacturer: Microsoft! Office Lens is free and available for both Android and 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 encloses the document properly. Now press +1 bottom left to add another document to the scan or click Ready top right if you are happy with the result. When you now press PDF at the bottom, the document is saved as an editable PDF, in other words all text in the document can then be selected and copied.

Tip 08: Separating files

In some cases it is useful to scan a lot of documents as one document, simply because it is faster. But then of course you end up with one large PDF, while you actually wanted separate documents. But you can separate documents very easily. A wonderful program for this is Adobe Acrobat DC, but this program is pricey and not an option for everyone. Fortunately, there are also free alternatives, and you don't even need to install anything. Visit 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 specifically 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.

Do you want to merge several separate documents into one whole? You can do that online for free

Tip 09: … and combine

The opposite situation is of course also possible: you have scanned all kinds of separate files and would like to combine them into one PDF. Adobe Acrobat DC can do that too, but in this case too 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 you want to combine into one PDF. By default there are four fields, but by clicking More files you can add more fields. Then click on Merge! The site gets to work for you, and almost immediately after that, the combined PDF file is automatically downloaded for you. There is also software available from both sites that can do the job for you online, but that software is not free.

Tip 10: Organize

At the beginning of this article, we recommended opting for one cloud service. In some cases this will not be possible (for example because you manage an administration together, and one has an Android phone, and the other has an iPhone with a Google Drive app that does not support scans). Such a situation is not optimal, but still quite easy to remedy with IFTTT. IFTTT is a website that can link services together. Visit and create an account. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, the action you're looking for has already been made by others. Click on the magnifying glass and search 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 placed in this folder are automatically synced to Google Drive. This way you keep everything neatly together.

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