How to Easily Scan Documents to PDF on Android

In today’s increasingly paperless society, having digital copies of documents is a necessity. Scanning documents makes finding what you need fast and easy while simultaneously cutting down on clutter. In the old days in order to scan a document you would have to have access to a computer and a bulky peripheral.

Luckily, we can abandon all of that antiquated, time-consuming technology and opt for a simpler way. Smartphones have integrated advanced image recognition software, enabling us to use them to scan documents in high resolution. There are a plethora of Android apps that feature the ability to scan your documents to PDF, but they can be pricey or encumbered by ads. Thankfully you don’t need any of them. All you need is your Android device and the Google Drive app.

So yank out those old archive boxes, pull all of the receipts out of your wallet and get ready to scan.

Before You Start Scanning

First thing’s first. Open the Google Drive app and nominate the folder where you would like your scans to go. Once you’ve selected the folder of your choice, look to the bottom right of the screen. There you should see a “+” button. Tapping on the plus button will open a dialogue box. In that dialogue box you will see a camera icon with the word “scan” underneath. This will automatically open the camera on your Android.


Scanning Your Document

Once the camera app on your Android device is open, simply tap the shutter button to scan. Before you do that orient your document to get the best results possible. Here are a few tips to remember,

First, place your document on a contrasting surface. In other words, if you have a white document, put it against a dark background. This will make it easier for the scanner to find the edges of your document.

Second, try to hover directly over the document before snapping. This will result in cleaner edges and a better overall scan.

Lastly, make sure you have lots of light. Sufficient lighting will minimize shadows and increase the quality of the scan.


Adjusting Your Scan

After you hit the shutter button, the scanner will load a preview of your document. Here you will be able to crop the document. In addition, you will be able to change the color (the default is black and white) as well as rotate the document if needed.


If you need to scan multiple pages into the same document, hit the “+” (plus) sign on the bottom left of the screen. Need to rescan your document? Tap the button in the middle. If you’re happy with your scan, tap the check mark on the bottom right of the screen. The scanned document will be saved and synced to your Google Drive as a PDF file.

Advantages of Scanning with Google Drive

There are some significant advantages to scanning with Google Drive. First, the scanned document is accessible on any device with the Google Drive app installed as well as from any web browser. Additionally, since the scan is synced to your Drive, you automatically have a cloud-based backup whenever you scan a document. Finally, all scans in Google Drive are searchable, meaning you can retrieve scans by searching keywords that appear in your documents.

Add a Scanning Shortcut to Your Home Screen

If you scan frequently you can add a shortcut to Google Drive’s scanning function directly to your home screen. To set up a shortcut, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the widget section your your device.
  2. Locate the “Drive Scan” widget.
  3. Tap and hold the widget to find a place for it on your home screen.
  4. When the widget is where you want it, let go.
  5. You can choose an existing folder to save documents or create a new one. The Drive Scan widget will display the name of the folder you’ve selected.



As we mentioned before, there are many other camera scanner apps available; however, the advantages of Google Drive make it a hard one to beat. Do you use Google Drive to scan documents? If not, which app do you prefer to use insteas? Let us know in the comments!

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