Scanning Documents with Your Smartphone

Download a scanner app

Before you can scan a document with your smartphone, you'll need to download a mobile scanning app to your smartphone. These apps can take an image of your document and convert it into a PDF file. There are many applications to choose from, but they all work in the same basic way. Some of the most popular scanner apps include Tiny Scanner (Android and iOS) and Scanner Pro (iOS), but you can also search your device's app store to find even more options.

Steps for scanning

  • 1

    Use a flat surface

    Place the document you want to scan on a flat surface, like a desk or table.

  • 2

    Scan the document

    Open the scanner app on your phone, then follow the instructions that appear. The exact process will depend on your app, but you'll usually be required to place the device directly above the document, then use the device's camera to take a photo.

  • 3

    Save and Upload

    The document will be saved as an image or PDF file on your device. You can then email that file to yourself or upload to a cloud service so you can then access the file for uploading through a browser.

How to scan documents for uploads

Tips for scan quality

Scanning documents on a mobile device is quick and easy, but the results aren't always as consistent as you might get with a desktop scanner. Here are a couple of tips to improve the overall quality of your mobile scans:

Use bright, direct lighting

Use brightdirect lighting on your document. Shadows and indirect light may cause certain parts of the document to be unreadable after scanning.

Hold the device directly above the document

Hold the device directly above the document to avoid distorting the scan. If the phone is not directly above the document, the app may request that you move it before scanning.