We’ve been promised a paperless future for decades, but despite the fact that smartphones are everywhere, there is still a ton of paper around. To make matters worse, at some point you will need digital copies of paper documents.
This usually means trying to find a spot with a scanner, which gets harder every day. Thanks to the excellent quality of camera phones, people soon realized that they could simply photograph documents with perfect clarity. However, editing and organizing these photos is still difficult. Especially if you need to scan a document with multiple pages.
Google Drive is the heart of the Google Cloud suite of apps. Docs, Sheets, and other applications in the Google family store their content in your Google Drive.
While you can easily upload photos taken with your phone or tablet to Disk, the mobile app has a multiple hidden feature that lets you scan documents like a copier. It automatically filters and formats the image for maximum legibility. Once you know where to go, this is a quick and easy trick that you will often use if you have to deal with paper all the time.
– / ]
It’s worth noting that the latest iOS also has a new document scan feature in Notes that works equally well in my tests. I will write a separate overview of this feature.
Scan documents with Google Drive
Assuming you’ve already installed the app, the first thing you need to do is open it. If this is your first time opening Google Drive, there are a few simple one-off steps to take. You need to sign in to your Google account and then agree to any permissions the app asks for. These permissions allow the application to work as expected. If you don’t enable any of them, the app will still work, but some features will not be enabled.
After that, you should see the main Drive screen, as well as any documents and images that you already have.
Tap the plus sign to create a new document. You will see several options.
Now click on “Scan” to start the process. If you are using iOS, this will be “Use Camera”. At this point, you may be asked for camera permission before you can proceed.
Note the grid on the camera’s viewfinder. Use this to roughly align your document. If the image is too dark, turn on the flash by touching the lightning bolt icon. When you are satisfied with the image, press the blue button. Then you will be taken to this screen.
This is a preview of the scan. Notice how the app automatically cut out the background and flattened the image? Pretty cool, right?
You now have three options. If you are not satisfied with the image and want to try again, click the middle icon to try again. If you want to add a second page, tap the plus sign to add another page. If you are happy and want to save the document, click the checkmark to finish working on the document.
That’s all! The file will be saved as a PDF document to your Drive. Then you can rename it, download it, or move it to another folder. You can now responsibly recycle your paper copy when you no longer need it. How cool is that?