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Tech trick: Scan important documents using your phone

As we’ve downsized our technology onto smartphones, scanners have become less common in homes. That might not be an issue most of the year, but when tax season comes, you probably have a stack of documents you would like to digitize.

It’s time to break out your iPhone and discover how it can be used as a document scanner.

There is more than one way to harness the power of your iPhone’s camera to scan documents. You can either use its built-in abilities or download an app. Apple introduced a nifty document scanning feature with iOS 11, and things have only become easier to use since.

While scanning is great for gathering your receipts and other critical tax time paperwork, you can scan things year-round to help declutter your paper piles, capture backup copies of important documents and for sharing files with colleagues or clients. Let’s start scanning!

Use the Notes app

Apple’s Notes app is already set up to work as a document scanner. Start a new note, or open an existing note. Touch the camera icon and choose Scan Documents.

If you don’t see the camera icon, you may see a plus sign. If you don’t see either, make sure you’re running iOS 11 or higher and that Notes is turned on in your iCloud settings.

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The scanner should be set to Auto mode. Point the camera at the document to be scanned. It will automatically seek out the corners of the documents and scan an image. In manual mode, you can adjust the focus and hit the shutter button. You will then need to adjust the corners of the document and save it.

RELATED: Do you know where your tax dollars go? Tap or click here to find out

The scanned document will now be inserted into your note. Tap on it to open it. The small square with the curved arrow lets you reorient the document. The overlapping three dots let you put the document into grayscale, black and white, or treat it as a photo. You can also crop the document further or share it through email.

The sharing button, which looks like a rectangle with an arrow pointing upward, also lets you turn the scan into a PDF, print it, copy it or use the Markup feature. Markup lets you draw on the document, add text or add a signature.

The Notes document scanner is simple to use and will get your documents digitized fast. If you need more capabilities than it gives you, then check out our recommendation for a powerful scanning app: CamScanner.

Use Adobe Scan

Adobe is famous for its photo-editing software, but it’s also the company that invented the PDF format. Its free Adobe Scan app for Android is all about turning your physical documents into handy PDFs. One of the nice features in this app is optical character recognition. The app will recognize text in your documents so you can search and edit them later.

Adobe Scan’s automated capture works well. It will find the corners of your document and ask you to hold your phone steady while it snaps a picture. It then automatically crops it. You can capture multiple pages, or tap on the thumbnail of the photo to edit the scan. The editing menu at the bottom of the screen lets you crop, rotate, and adjust the color of the document. You can also reorder pages if you scanned multiple documents together.

Tap on “Save PDF” to save your document to the Adobe Document Cloud, an online storage feature. From here, you can also share it through a link or choose “Share a copy” to send the actual document via email or another method, or to save it to Google Drive.

Bonus: Another scanning option

When you need to be organized, Epson’s line of Receipt Scanners offers the perfect solution! With Epson’s Receipt Scanners and Scan Smart Accounting Software, it can all be done in three easy steps – scan, manage and export.

Organize your receipts, invoices and documents quickly, then export to popular accounting software – NO subscription needed!  Visit Epson.com/scansmart today!

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