Scan Documents with Notes and Google Drive

Published December 07, 2020

I recently discovered that I can scan documents using the Notes app on my iPhone. In the past I used CamScanner. It's a neat little document scanner app from which you can send the scanned documents either as an email, text upload to Google Cloud, or a host of other ways to share documents. I liked the app but it had a 1MB size limit for uploading documents to Google Drive.

In addition to a larger uploading limit, I also wanted an app that would allow me to can scan lots of documents easily. While Notes does not give me the ability to use a document feeder for large documents, it is free and it comes with the iPhone. No need to download additional applications.

Scan Documents with an iPhone

Scanning a document is simple. First, open Notes and then open a new document.

iPhone Notes

Click on the camera icon to bring up the Scan Documents menu option.

Scan Document

Select ScanDocuments.

All you have to do is position the document and take a photo. Sometimes the application will automatically take a photo but I prefer to take my own.

After taking the photo you can modify or crop it to your liking. I find the app to be pretty accurate as it usually does a fine job in capturing the entire document.

If you’re unhappy with the results, you can retake the scan. Otherwise, you can save it. For multiple-page documents, just wash, rinse, and repeat. When you’re finished, click Save, name the document, and press Done.

After scanning, press the menu at the top right-hand corner (...) to bring up other options.

Save Scanned Document

Since I store most of my documents on Google Drive, I select Send a Copy which allows me to select Google Drive as a destination. I then navigate to the appropriate folder within my Google Drive account and click Save here then Upload.

The Notes app uploads the scanned document along with a text file containing any additional comments or notes referring to the scanned document.

I like it because it’s easy to use and already installed on the iPhone.

Scan Documents with an Android Device

Although I don’t think Android has a built-in app, you can use Google Drive to scan documents.

To do so, download the Google Drive app and open it. Navigate to the folder where you want your scans to reside. Press the plus button to bring up a secondary menu.

Google Plus

On that menu click Scan to open the camera for scanning.

Google Scan Document

Once the document is scanned, crop if necessary, name the file, and save it. Just like the iPhone Notes app, Google Drive saves scans in a .pdf format.

Note to iPhone users: You might be tempted to use the Google Drive app to scan documents through your iPhone. You can do it, but the resulting document is saved as a .jpg and not .pdf.

Another Note: Although I'm enjoying the ability to scan documents using my phone, I still prefer using an old-fashioned scanner. There's something about sliding a sheet of paper into a device and watching it come out the other side.  :D

Felicia (aka Low Tech Grandma) is a wife, mother, grandmother, freelance writer and low-tech blogger.

Last Modified: 20 August 2023

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