Have you ever needed a document converted to digital formats? A receipt, registration, or another form of proof for an online form? Or do you just want a copy of your important documents in the cloud so they’re always accessible and safe from being lost or destroyed? In these cases, many times you convert the document to Portable Document Format (or PDF).
You used to need either a specialized device or a third-party app to convert a document into a PDF. But that’s in the past. Now, you can scan documents directly from your iPhone using a variety of apps. It does a surprisingly good job of capturing most documents and converting them to PDF.
How to Scan Documents using the Files App on iPhone
Managing paper is no longer a chore thanks to the Files app. You can scan receipts or sign and scan documents and store them on your phone. If you want to access files on your other devices, just make sure they are backed up in iCloud. Here’s how to get started.
Step 1. Launch the Files app on your iPhone.
Step 2. Navigate to iCloud Drive.
Step 3. Tap the three-dot icon on the upper-right corner of the screen.
Step 4. To create a new folder, select New Folder from the pop-up menu. Give your folder a name like Scans and then tap Done.
Step 5. Open your new Scans folder, and tap the three-dot icon again.
Step 6. Now, you’ll select the Scan Documents button to activate your device’s camera.
Step 7. When you find a document you want to scan, position it on a flat surface and place your phone hovering above it. The document will be automatically highlighted in blue. If the app doesn’t capture it right away, there is a shutter button to take the photo.
Step 8. Finally, tap the Save button after scanning your document to add it to the Scans folder. From there, you can rename it and move it to any other folder on iCloud.
How to Scan Multiple Documents in Sequence
Step 1. Create a stack of your documents in order so they’re scanned consecutively.
Step 2. Once the camera captures the first page, the app will say “Ready for next scan” at the bottom. In order to scan the next page, the first page must be taken out of the camera. This will enable the app to capture the second page.
Step 3. Repeat this process until you finish scanning.
Step 4. When you’re done scanning your pages, tap the Save button and the app will combine all of the scanned pages into one document. A badge will let you know how many pages you’ve saved.
Don’t worry about getting the angle right when you scan, because the app automatically corrects the view for perfect flattening. So when you look at the finished scans, they will be aligned and of high quality.
How to Scan Documents using the Notes App on iPhone
Apple’s built-in Notes app not only lets you create notes but also scan documents—you just have to follow these steps.
Step 1. Launch the Notes app.
Step 2. Choose an existing note or create a new one.
Step 3. Tap the camera icon at the bottom of the screen.
Step 4. Select Scan Documents from the popup menu.
Step 5. Place your document on a flat surface and position your camera to capture the content of the document.
Step 6. You’ll see a yellow rectangle appear over the document you want to take a photo of. If you hold your iPhone or iPad steady, the photo should snap automatically. If not, you can tap the shutter button to snap the photo.
Step 7. The scan will move to the lower left; tap it to check how it turned out.
Step 8. Tap the filter button to customize your scan for color, black and white, and grayscale.
Step 9. You can adjust the scan to fit your desired page size by dragging the corners.
Step 10. Finally, tap the Save button.
When you’re finished scanning, you can still make some changes to the scan. After your scan is complete, you can still make adjustments to it such as cropping or rotating. The Retake button lets you fix a single page in a series without having to restart, which is really handy. You can also rotate it to suit your needs and crop it.
How to Export Your Note as a PDF
We love Notes, but sometimes you need to share your scanned documents and they’re not as easily transportable. We recommend converting them into PDFs.
Step 1. Open the note and tap on the document. You should be able to see the expanded view of all pages scanned.
Step 2. Tap the Share icon at the top-right corner of the screen.
Step 3. To create a PDF, select the Save to Files at the bottom of the share sheet.
Step 4. You can save your PDF to a couple of places. You could save it to your phone or iCloud, for example. Select a folder and tap Save in the upper right.
How to Scan Documents Quickly using the Notes App
Step 1. Launch the Settings app.
Step 2. Scroll down and tap Control Center.
Step 3. If you are using iOS 13 or earlier, tap Customize Controls.
Step 4. Scroll down and tap the Add button + next to Notes to add it to the Include section.
Step 5. Bring up the Control Center by swiping down from the top-right corner of your screen. If you have an iPhone with a Home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
Step 6. Long press the Notes icon.
Step 7. Tap the Scan Document button and let your iPhone’s Face ID system automatically authenticate you. If you’re using an iPhone with a Touch ID, place your finger on the Home screen to unlock it.
Step 8. You are now able to scan your document and save it as a note.