How to Scan on Android

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How to Scan on Android – Getting Started

Gone are the days when many people owned standalone scanners. Today, our compact smartphones have evolved into versatile all-in-one life organizers and productivity tools capable of performing tasks ranging from money transfers to audio recording and even airplane boarding passes.

Our phones offer so many capabilities that few likely utilize all their mobile-productivity features. One such feature is scanning. You might be wondering how to scan on Android.

A quick and convenient on-the-go document scanner is an often overlooked way your phone can save you time and frustration.

Google provides several excellent tools for scanning and organizing physical documents—and both can be incredibly useful when you need to preserve or share any document, card, or receipt.

How to Scan on Android

The first Android scanning method we’ll discuss is part of an app you likely already have on your phone: Google Drive.

Google Drive features a somewhat hidden scanning option that allows you to scan documents with your smartphone’s camera and save them as PDF files in your cloud storage.

You can add a direct Scan shortcut to your home screen by tapping and holding any space, selecting Widgets, and then searching for “Drive Scan.”

If you’re using a phone running Android 7.1 or higher and a custom launcher such as Action Launcher or Nova Launcher, you can access the same direct shortcut within the main Drive icon by tapping and holding it.

When you open Drive’s Scan command, you’ll be greeted with what appears to be a standard camera interface.

Google Drive

To scan documents with Android, you must have Google Drive installed. The app is typically pre-installed on Android smartphones; if not, you can download it from the Google Play Store.

  1. Open Google Drive and press the + button.
  2. Select Scan from the Create New tab.
  3. Position the phone camera over the document and press the Shutter button when you’re ready to capture the image.
  4. To save the scan, tap the checkmark; tap the back arrow to retake it.
  5. Tap the + symbol to add more photos to your scan, then save to finish and upload your document to Google Drive.
  6. There are options to crop, scan, rotate, or change the scan’s color.
  7. When scanning your documents, enter a file name for your new PDF and choose a folder to save it in. Then, select Save.

Once finished, tap the checkmark button to complete the process. Your scan is now done. Hit the checkmark button again on the next page to save the document to your Drive storage.

Then, tap the confirmation notification to share the PDF via email, messaging, or other method.

Google Keep

Google’s cross-platform note-taking app, Google Keep, can extract text from any scanned document and save it as regular text on your phone.

  • Take a photo of the document, open it, and tap the image you saved.
  • Tap “Grab image text” in the three-dot menu in the top-right corner; every word will be extracted and displayed as text within your note.

The “Now on Tap” Feature in Android 6.0

Android devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow feature a “Now on Tap” function that instantly reads QR codes. To use “Now on Tap” for reading QR Codes, follow these steps:

  • Install and open the Google App.
  • Opt in to enable Now on Tap.
  • Go to “Settings” and select “Screen search</ strong>”.
  • Enable the top toggle.
  • Press and hold the Home button on your Android device to launch “Now on Tap” and scan QR codes with your camera.

If you prefer not to use “Now on Tap“, consider downloading a third-party QR Code scanning app.

Google Lens

This method allows for an easy way to scan QR Codes without an additional app:

  • Press and hold the “Home” button to open the Assistant.
  • If the Lens button does not automatically appear, tap on the three dots at the bottom. The Lens button will then be visible on the left-hand side.

If you haven’t used Lens before, you must permit it to be used with your camera. Once enabled, or if you’ve already set this up, direct your camera to the QR Code for it to be scanned.

Adobe Scan

While many scanner apps are available, such as Microsoft Office Lens, Genius Scan, TurboScan, CamScanner, and others, Adobe Scan covers all the essentials in its free version.

It offers a user-friendly interface, albeit with a slight learning curve. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create a free Adobe ID to use the app.

  • Log in to the app with a Google, Facebook, or Adobe ID.
  • Tap the screen or the shutter button to scan your document. The app automatically detects the borders and takes a photo for you.
  • Adjust the edges by dragging the handles, then hit Continue.
  • Use the More icon to explore options for the new file, including saving it to Google Drive, copying it to your device, printing it, deleting it, and more.

Scan the QR code on your Android phone or tablet

You can read QR codes using an Android device’s default camera app or Google Lens. If your device has a camera, it can scan any QR code. After scanning a QR code with your Android device, you can open or share the URL.

Check If Android Camera Automatically Scans QR Codes

To verify if your Android camera can automatically scan QR Codes, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Camera app and point it steadily at the QR Code for 2-3 seconds.
  2. If scanning is enabled, notifications will appear.
  3. If nothing happens, open Settings and enable QR Code scanning.
  4. If QR Codes aren’t an option in your settings, your device may not support native QR Code scanning. In this case, you must download a third-party QR Code reader app.


That concludes our guide. We have provided all possible information to help you understand how to scan on Android. Whether you need to digitize documents, extract text, or scan QR codes, Android offers several built-in and third-party options to accomplish these tasks efficiently.

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