How to scan a document with a computer or smartphone

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Scanning a document is still relevant today. In recent years, technology has become accessible. Indeed, everyone can scan a document from their home. However, the way to do this depends a priori on your hardware (printer or applications).

What is a scanner?

It is computer equipment that gives you the ability to scan a document. In addition, it scans other items including fingerprints. The scanner calculates the proportion of reflected light from each element. This light emerges as an electrical signal, which is digitized and which constitutes a matrix image. The computer processes and saves the document. It can still be printed if the original is lost or sent by email. This promotes rapid data transfer.

What are the different types of scanner?

scan a document

There are several types of scanners, including: flatbed scanners, very popular and popular. This type of scanner has two categories, with fixed or mobile sensors. It produces excellent quality scans. Sometimes they are associated with a printer. There are also scroll scanners, hand scanners, film scanners, drum, production benches. A new type is the use of smartphone cameras.

How to scan a document with a computer?

Find out how to scan your own documents from a scanner. They vary depending on your work environment or the tool used.


  • Turn on your scanner or printer. Make sure it is connected to the computer. Then place your document there.
  • Then click in the search bar of the computer and enter “fax”
  • Launch the Fax and Scan application.
  • In the application, click on New scan
  • Then select your scanner and the type of document. Choose the default type (Photo).
  • Choose the source
  • Select the color (white / black or the most frequent color)
  • Choose the output format of your document (JPG, PDF, PNG, etc.). If you are scanning a text document, the recommended output format is PDF.
  • There are other possible modifications according to your need. You can change the clarity, the resolution or increase the contrast.
  • To view the document, click on Preview
  • Finally, click on Scan


  • Open the scanner and place the document correctly. Check that it is connected and turned on.
  • At the top left of the screen, click on the Apple icon.
  • Go to system preferences.
  • Then open Printers & Scanners
  • Identify your scanner
  • Click on scan -> open the scanner
  • Click on show details, then set the color. It is possible to scan the document in black white and color
  • Change size, resolution if necessary
  • Choose the output format of the document (JPG, PDF, etc.)
  • To finish, click on Scan

Smartphones now make it easy to scan a document. This was not the case before. This task was specially dedicated to traditional scanners.

How do I scan a document using a smartphone?

Tools are integrated into smartphones to become removable scanners. In addition, there are dozens of applications for this purpose.

On an Android phone

  • Launch the Google Drive app on your phone
  • Tap on Add + which is located at the bottom right of your screen.
  • Tap the camera icon to scan
  • Place your smartphone correctly on the document. Then take a photo of the document to be scanned.
  • To scan a new document, tap +, to take a new photo, tap scan again.
  • To save the scanned document, tap OK.

On iPhone

  • Launch the Notes app on your iPhone
  • Open a new folder to accommodate the scanned document.
  • Click on the camera icon at the bottom of the screen. Then select scan documents.
  • Take a photo of the document, then adjust the document using your fingers.
  • The “Resume” option to redo a new scan. “Keep the scan” to continue.
  • Then type save.
  • The document is automatically saved in PDF format
  • In addition, you have the possibility to change the color (put in white black for example)
  • You can also share the document via email, WhatsApp, Air Drop or Messenger, etc.
  • Also, you can start printing the scanned document.
  • To finish the scanning operation, click on Save to Files. You can save it in iCloud drive or in a specific folder on iPhone.

10 free applications to scan a document on Android and iPhone

Today smartphones have a lot of features. In addition to communicating and browsing, it is now possible to scan documents with your smartphone. Unbelievable ? I won’t say so much, technology is developing faster than its shadow ;-). There are many applications for scanning documents. Being free, they are reliable. To scan a document with a smartphone, you need a special application. They use the quality of smartphone cameras. You get an optimal rendering more than a physical scanner. The advantage of document scanning applications is that they are accessible and easy to use. You can therefore scan your documents with your smartphone (Android and iPhone) quickly and send them by email, WhatsApp or Messenger. So discover the top 10 applications for scanning a document in the rest of this article.


CamScanner is very reliable and fast to scan a document, a photo. It is a Chinese application launched in 2011. It is also available on Android and iOS. Easy to use, this mobile application will allow you to scan and share in pdf and jpg format. The android download link is: Download CamScanner . To get the iOS version, please click Download CamScanner iOS.


ScanBot is also a great app to scan your documents as well as QR codes. It has a much more colorful interface. To download ScanBot on Android, please click here.

best application to scan documents - scanbot

Microsoft Office Lens

In 2015, Microsoft Office Lens was one of the best apps in the United States. In addition to being a free application, it allows you to scan your documents and optimize the rendering of your documents. You have the option to save your documents to OneDrive or OneNote. To download Office Lens on Android, please click here.

application to scan documents - Microsoft Office Lens

Adobe Scan

Adobe Scan has over 800,000 users on Android. It is a free application that allows you to scan your photos, documents or receipts. It allows you to modify your documents. Indeed, it gives you the ability to adjust colors, crop and reorganize your scanned documents. You can download it from this link.

adobe scan - applications to scan your documents

Scannable Evernote

Evernote Scannable is an application for scanning documents on iPhone and iPad only. It is super fast, you can scan any type of document and share them. To download Evernote on iPhone, please click here.

scannable evernote - scanner app for iPhone and iPad

Genius Scan

According to The Grizzly Labs, Genius Scan has more than 20 million users around the world. This application allows the detection of the document and then eliminates the background for an optimal rendering.

Genius Scan - best mobile apps for scanning documents


PhotoScan is designed by Google. Digitizing your photos with this application is to obtain a rendering without unwanted reflections. The quality of the rendering is more than satisfactory. PhotoScan automatically corrects stability and cropping problems. It takes you a few seconds to scan your photos. To download PhotoScan, please click here.

PhotoScan - applications for scanning documents

Tiny Scanner

Tiny Scanner is an application capable of scanning your documents and improving readability. After scanning your document with Tiny Scanner, you will be able to send it by email or save it. It is available on Android and iOS.

Text Fairy

This application is free, and it has the main features to scan or scan documents. Text Fairy converts documents to pdf format. This format allows good readability of documents. This app is only available on Android.

Text Fairy - applications for scanning documents - on android.

Doc Scan (iPhone and iPad)

It’s app is only available on iOS. Indeed, it automatically crops your scanned documents. However, it is not compatible with OneDrive, DropBox or iCloud. For this you should upgrade to the Pro version. To download Doc Scan, please click here.

Doc Scan - applications for scanning documents

How do smartphone scanning apps work?

Applications for scanning a document mainly work with the smartphone camera. To scan a document, you need to take a photo of the document you want to scan. Then, the application takes care of managing the borders of the document. Finally, She will retouch the photo so that it looks like a scanned document.

To conclude, smartphones are accessible and quick to use to scan a document. However, for high quality and quantity work, it would be better to use a suitable scanner.

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