How to Scan Documents to PDF with Your Android Phone’s Camera


This is mobile age now and now the phrase scanning documents doesn’t mean standing in front of a bulky machine waiting for it to take a physical piece of paper and make it digital. And in this age anything can be done using a mobile phone and scanning text-searchable documents is an easy job which can be done with your phone’s camera.

What you need for this purpose is an Android phone and Google drive app.

Launch the Drive app and navigate to the folder where you’d like your scan to be saved.

In the bottom-right corner, there’s a floating action button with a plus sign, tap it.

This will open the “New” dialog, and the third option in the top row is “Scan.” Tap on it.

The camera will open, and you’re ready to scan away. Here are a few tips to be aware of before you start hitting that shutter button, however:

  • Use a contrasting background: If you’re scanning a white document, put it on a dark background. This will help the camera find the edges.
  • Try to get a straight-over shot: If you need to place the paper on the floor to get a perfect overhead shot, do that. It’ll result in a much cleaner scan.
  • Be patient, it may take more than one shot: Sometimes the scan feature clips the edges off of a document, cutting part of it off. It may take a few tries to get it just right.

Now that you’ve got the know-how, go ahead and snap the picture. It’ll take a few seconds to load, and you can confirm it got the entire document in the picture. When the preview loads, there are a few options at the top:

  • Crop: If the image is too big, you can cut off the excess.
  • Color palate: Black and White is the default option, but you can also scan in color. There are a few options here (None, Black & White, Color, Color Drawing), so just select the one that best applies to what you’re scanning.
  • Overflow button: The overflow menu houses all the other stuff—Delete, Rename, Rotate, and Settings. While the first three are self-explanatory, the Settings menu has some options to help you get the most of your scan. Things like automatic image enhancement, paper size, orientation, and image quality are all found here.

There are also three buttons at the bottom: a plus sign, “retake” button, and a check mark. The plus is to add another page to the same PDF, the center is to re-scan the document if it didn’t turn out right, and the check confirms that the scan is good and you want to save it.

Once everything is good and you’re ready to save the document, just tap the check. Drive will automatically open the folder where you told it to save and upload it. Once it’s finished syncing, you’ll be able to grab the scanned document from any other device with Drive installed.