It's becoming more and more popular to use your Android phone as a portable scanner. If you haven't bought into the smartphone craze to replace functions that you'd normally have to do at your desktop, let me give you a few tips for scanning documents on the go with your phone.

First and foremost, your Android device’s camera app does not have OCR or other document capabilities. You can either take a photo or a video and that's it.

If you wish to go a step further and save a document as a PDF and run OCR to be able to interact with the document, you need to use another app. One app to get you started is Google Drive. Here are a few points on Google Drive:

  • It has integrated document scanning with OCR support
  • Take a picture of your receipt or document
  • The receipt or document will be save to your Google Drive
  • OCR will be performed by Google's servers

Here are the instructions to do so:

  1. Open the Google Drive app
  2. Open the app's menu
  3. Tap Add New
  4. Tap Scan
  5. On the scanner screen, use the camera to scan the document, just as you would normally snap a photo.

Note: If you need to frequently scan documents on the go, add the Google Drive widget to one of your quick access screens (home screen).

Note 2: The document part of your photo is saved separately as a PDF file. You can rotate and crop the document before it can be saved.

Other Apps

Maybe Google Drive isn't your cup of tea. There are other apps that utilize document scanning techniques as well as OCR. You can either save the PDF to local or cloud storage.

My best advice is to search for a suitable PDF scanner on the Play store. Make sure the app is still working on higher versions on Android and sift through a few reviews.

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