Going paperless is simpler than ever today. As a “remote, not distant,” CPA firm, our clients frequently send us documents they receive in the mail. And with smartphones always with us, a fast and convenient solution is ready to transform physical documents into digital files on the fly and from anywhere. However, poor quality reigns because users take photos of documents rather than using scanner features. Whether you’re an Android aficionado or an iPhone enthusiast, the built-in cameras on these devices are powerful tools for document scanning. Here is a straightforward guide regardless of your device type.
Step 1: Decide on One App
Both iOS and Android platforms offer a variety of apps designed specifically for document scanning. Your camera may have a built-in scanner. If not, download a scanner app like Adobe Scan. If you use a file storage service like Google Drive, OneNote, or Dropbox, I recommend you use the built-in “scanner” on those apps to simplify the process of organization. Once settled on an app, keep using that one app so you can learn it, making your life easier and consistent.
Step 2: Position and Capture Your Document
Place the document you want to scan on a well-lit contrasting surface. Direct overhead light usually creates shadows, making a good image difficult to capture. Try various light settings and consider how your document looks on screen. Smooth your document flat to minimize shadows and improve scan quality. Look for an option to “snap a photo” of the image. Usually, there will be a camera icon or a dedicated capture button. Align the document within the on-screen guidelines and capture the image.
Step 3: Review and Save
After capturing the image, the app will usually display a preview of the scanned document. Take a moment to review the scan for clarity and accuracy. Often scanning apps will come with options to enhance or adjust the scanned image. You can crop the document, change the contrast, or apply filters to improve legibility. Explore the app settings to make necessary adjustments. When satisfied with the image quality, proceed to save the document.
Step 4: Organize and Share
Modern scanning apps often include features to organize your scanned documents. Create folders, add tags, or categorize documents to streamline your digital filing system. Once organized, easily share documents via email, messaging apps, or cloud storage platforms.
**Good Ambient Lighting is Key**
Bright ambient, and not direct, light when scanning documents avoids shadows and enhances the clarity of the text.
**Keep a Steady Hand**
Hold your smartphone steadily to capture a clear and focused image. Some apps offer image stabilization features, but your steady hand makes a significant difference.
**Experiment with OCR (Optical Character Recognition)**
Explore apps that provide OCR functionality. OCR can convert scanned text into editable and searchable content, making it easier to find specific information within documents.
**Don’t Lose Your Data**
To prevent loss of important data, don’t save files directly on your phone. Save scanned files to cloud storage services like Google Drive, iCloud, or Dropbox and ensure they are synchronizing properly.
Embrace the convenience of scanning documents with your smartphone camera, and say goodbye to the clutter of physical paperwork. By following these simple steps, you can effortlessly digitize your documents and take a significant step towards a more organized and eco-friendly lifestyle.
Now eliminate physical clutter using a tickler file!