Sooner or later, everyone has to send a document, or a photo, in digital format. A digital copy of an identity card and tax code is increasingly required for the activation of supplies and access to certain services.
Well, the good news is that scanning – or digitizing – a document is quite simple and can be done from both a PC and a smartphone, that is, without having a printer at home.
Before the advent of the latest generation of mobile devices, it was necessary to have a scanner, or a multifunction printer, to be able to digitally scan a document.
Today it is possible to use the smartphone camera with considerable savings in time and resources.
Then, how to scan a paper document with a printer and PC? And how to do it with the smartphone?
How to scan with PC (Windows)
To scan a document from a PC and send it via email, it is necessary, as we said, to have an image acquisition device, such as a scanner or a multifunction printer that also supports the functionality of the scanner.
How to scan a document with the printer then? The first thing to do is to check that you have installed the printer drivers and, of course, that you have turned on and connected everything you need.
To scan a document, simply place it face down inside the scanner, taking care to lower the upper deck of the machine to prevent light from entering.
Then go to your PC, and select the Windows Start button, the one in the shape of a window at the bottom left of your screen. You will get the Windows Fax and Scan application by typing “fax” or “scanner” in the search bar.
Once you have selected the right application, click on New Scan, the option at the top left. At this point, a new dialog box will open with the driver’s specifications intended for use.
Check that the target device matches your printer, and if necessary, select the right device from the drop-down menu.
You will then have to select the type of document you want to scan (photo, document, etc.) and other characteristics, such as the resolution and the Print in color option.
Among the options, you must also select the format in which you want to save the document: in the case of photographs or drawings, the .jpg or .png formats will be preferable, while in the case of paper documents, traditionally, the .pdf is the master.
With the Windows mentioned above application, it is possible to see a preview of the scan and then eventually better arrange the sheet on the plate or increase the definition of the resulting file.
Once everything is fixed, click on Scan at the bottom of the dialog box. In a few seconds, your document will end up in the Scanned Documents folder within the Documents menu of your Home.
How to Scan a document with your Mac
If you have a Mac, you will still need a printer or scanner to support this, which is quite similar to the procedure for Windows PCs. How to scan a photo or document using Mac?
Place the document face down on the scanner bed, always ensuring that everything is turned on, connected, and installed correctly.
Select the Apple menu at the top left of your Mac screen. From the drop-down menu, select System Preferences, and then Printers & Scanners.
From here, select the name of the target device, which presumably starts with your scanner brand and continues with a complex alphanumeric code.
At the top of the window, you will find the Scan tab. Then click Scan and then Open scanner.
At this point, you will have to decide in which format to acquire the image (the most quoted are .jpg and .png for images and .pdf for documents), whether to digitize it in black and white or in color, the degree of definition of the scan and other options.
Unlike Windows, the Mac will also ask you to define a destination folder for the scanned files. If you want a folder dedicated to scans in the Home, you will have to create it!
The real news is that you can scan even without a printer for total automation; we would have to wait a little longer.
How to Scan photos and documents with your iPhone
Staying in the iOS area, you can scan a paper document to send it via email, even simply using the iPhone, as mentioned before, without even needing a printer or a scanner.
You can use the Notes application with the iPhone, available in the phone menu. Select New note at the bottom right of the smartphone screen.
If the app opens on the Folders page, you will need to select a destination path before continuing.
At the bottom of the screen, look for the button in the shape of a +, which indicates that a new document has been acquired, and click on it. From the resulting menu, select Scan Documents.
This will activate the iPhone camera; therefore, photograph the document and frame it all as straight as possible. You are scanning the digital image without using the scanner.
Pressing the Capture button will take the photo as you usually do. Then press Save scan if the image is to your liking, or select the + button again for a new scan.
In the format established upstream, the file will be in the folder you previously set as the destination.
How to Scan Document with Android devices
How do I, you ask, if I have to email my documents and I have neither a multifunction printer nor an iPhone? Good news! Know that you can scan your documents even with any smartphone with an Android operating system. Google provides the key to a change.
Are you familiar with the Google Drive cloud? If the answer is no and you want to scan a document with your Samsung, the first thing to do is activate the cloud-connected to your Google account and install the application on your smartphone.
It is available on GooglePlay and is represented by a nice yellow, green and blue triangle. How to scan a document with your mobile phone, then? How does the acquisition via Drive work?
Open the Drive app, and look for the round button with the + symbol at the bottom right. Like in the case of the iPhone, this icon is used to acquire new documents and data.
You will find the word Scan among the various options available (folder, upload, google documents, etc.). As with Apple phones, the camera will also initialize on your smartphone.
Then acquire your document by photographing it, always making sure to frame the whole area to be scanned, center it well, and keep it as straight as possible.
If the photograph satisfies you, select the V on the right of the screen; select the icon on the left if you want to make a better one. Once this is done, you can modify the image (center it, cut it and rotate it) by selecting the sandwich menu at the top right.
Once you have adjusted the graphic rendering of your scanned document, press the V at the bottom right of your screen. A save window will open to define the file name, extension, and destination within your Google Drive.
Do you have to send the document by mail? No problem! You can send the link to the cloud or download the image from Drive and then attach it to the message.
Alternatives? The dedicated apps!
We have seen how to scan a document on PC, Mac, iPhone, and Android smartphone if you want to save it on your PC or send it by email. There are also apps designed specifically for scanning documents and photos with your mobile phone, without peripherals. In addition to Google Drive, Office Lens and Scanbot might be for you.
Both are available free of charge for Android and iOS; they are extremely similar to what is illustrated regarding Google Drive. In any case, since these are apps centered on the user experience, it will not be difficult to follow the instructions to scan your documents.
If, on the other hand, you want to scan photos, the perfect app for you is once again provided by Google and is called – rather didactically – Photoscan.