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Q. What do you need to scan documents with a smartphone?
A. Depending on the hardware you are using, you just need a smartphone (or tablet) with a working camera and an app to handle the scanning. Once you take a close-up photo of the paper you want to “scan,” the app converts the photo into a standard PDF file that you can use to file electronic receipts, store digitized documents or share by email.
If you have an Android smartphone and use Google Drive, you do not even need to download an additional app because Google Drive includes a document-scanning function. Open the Google Drive app and tap the Add (+) button on the bottom-right corner of the screen. Place the document you want to scan on a flat surface.
Tap the Scan camera icon and hold the phone or tablet over the document to get a clear picture. Once you have snapped the photo, use the Crop button to trim unnecessary background. If you are scanning a multipage document, tap the Add button to go on to the next page and repeat the process. If you are satisfied with the image, tap the Done check mark icon. To redo an unsatisfactory shot, tap the circular Refresh arrow. The resulting files are stored on Google Drive.
The Google Drive app for iOS has a camera function, but it does not create PDF scans of documents. However, Evernote has one free alternative for iOS users with its Scannable mobile app.
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. Cam Scanner (for Android, iOS and Windows Phone) and TurboScan (for Android and iOS) are two such apps with free and premium versions available.
Turn Your Smartphone Into a Pocket Scanner – The New York Times