Free Scanning App

Overview

Not everyone is fortunate enough to own a home copier/scanner or have access to one but think of the times we get asked to send documents electronically? Remember all the important receipts that you've lost or that end up faded and unreadable.

Well, there is a really simple, free solution if you own a mobile device, you can download a free scanning app, available on Android & iOS platforms.

Microsoft Office Lens

We've take a look at a number of mobile scanning apps, we wanted to independently recommend one that met the following desirable criteria (of course, you may want to do your own research and choose another one):

  • Compatible with android and iOS
  • Free to download
  • Easy to use
  • Google and Microsoft integration
  • Compatible with Microsoft Office

For us at Money Advice Hub, Microsoft Office Lens ticked all the above requirements, we encourage all of our clients to use the app to forward their financial documents to us - no postage costs and super quick. The app is completely free and we do not benefit in any way by recommending it to you, other than it is really helpful to progress our clients' cases and cheaper for them.

Handy uses

  • Receipts for guarantees, returns/refunds
  • Receipts for claiming expenses
  • Copy old photos
  • Copy documents to send electronically
  • Use to copy any document
  • Copy important reminders, timetables & dates
  • Use on the go to compare prices in different stores
  • Copy instruction leaflets & manuals

Storage advice

If you're about to copy or scan any important documents to any device, you need to think about sending them and storing them securely. We don't want to tie you up in knots over this so here's some simple tips:

  • By emailing an attached document from your own email to yourself or another private account you own, you'll be creating a stored record until you delete the emails
  • Save to a file on your computer/laptop or mobile device but don't forget to back up
  • Store in a cloud, such as Google Drive, Microsoft One Cloud, iCloud
  • Save to an external hard drive
  • Save to a USB

Remember to use recommended security software to protect your devices. Think about what information you are sharing and how safe it is to send via your email and how safe your information is when it is received. We recommend that you check the recipient's security of data and that they are registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), this site has lots of useful public information about data security.

How to use

Step 1: Install Office Lens on your device, run the app, then give it permission to access your camera.

Step 2: The default 'view' in the app is a live camera viewfinder. Choose one of the three available image types from: Photo, Document or Whiteboard, then point the camera at whatever you want to capture.

Step 3: For documents and whiteboards, you will see the app attempt to automatically frame the image as you move around. Once the frame properly covers the area you want, tap the shutter button.​ NB. If your document has a table in it, the frame might hang around the table, if this happens, move the lens further away.

Step 4: Once the image is processed, Office Lens gives you a preview of it. If the image needs cropping, tap the Crop icon in the top-right corner. You can also add typed text or freehand text by clicking the icons in the top-right view.

Once you're done and ready to save the image, tap 'Done'.​

Step 5: Now choose where you are going to save your image. This can either be your photo library or If it's OneNote, you'll first need to sign into your account (a one-time step). Then you can give the image a title and choose the notebook in which to file it. Alternately, Office Lens can export to your OneDrive account, or to Word or PowerPoint (whether or not you have the associated apps on your device). Other export options include PDF, e-mail and your photo library.

After you've exported your file, you'll find yourself back at the viewfinder, ready to scan again.

Screen shots

Scanning multiple images

Unfortunately, Office Lens for Android and iOS doesn't currently allow for capturing multipage documents, you have to do them one by one but it's still a quick, cheap and easy way to save and send documents.

If you need to scan too many documents, using Office Lens will take a long time, you might be better off going to a library, their will be a small charge for their scanning services. You use the library postcode search to find one nearest to you.

Sending images free

Now that you have your scanned images, you might want to send them to someone and you will need to consider whether there is a cost for this. For example some mobile contracts charge extra for sending pictures texts. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to send images is by WhatsApp. You can download WhatsApp free from Google Pal or Apple App Store.

You can also message Money Advice Hub via WhatsApp.