How to Scan Documents as PDF on Android Devices_ The Beginner's Guide

January 19, 2024 1.4K views

We live in a digital era where sending documents across the world via email is commonplace. However, it often feels cumbersome to capture photos of documents and send them via email. That's why we see a proliferation of OCR software that can scan your documents and convert them into PDFs. In this article, we will discuss how to scan documents to PDF on Android using OCR software, including WPS Office, which not only serves as an OCR tool but permits editing of scanned documents on a mobile device as well.

How to Scan Documents as PDF on Android

How to Scan Documents as PDF on Android Devices

Let's explore some OCR software options that enable us to scan documents to PDF on Android.

How to Scan Documents on Android Using Google Drive

First, let's explore how to scan documents to PDF on Android for free using Google Drive:

Step 1: Open Google Drive on your Android device or tap the "+" icon in the bottom corner.

Google Drive new file icon

Step 2: Now, choose the "Scan" option. Google Drive will request access to your camera. If you haven't allowed it yet, click "While using only" to grant access.

Google Drive scan

Step 3: Your camera will open; capture a photo of your document.

Google Drive capture photo

Step 4: A preview of your captured document will be displayed. If you are satisfied, click "OK." If you need to recapture, simply click "Retry".

Google Drive confirm capture

Step 5: To save your scanned PDF, click on the "Save" option at the bottom left.

Google Drive save scanned document to PDF

Step 6: Select the location in your Google Drive where you want to save this document. Then, click "Save" again in the top right corner to upload your scanned document as a PDF for free.

Google Drive upload scanned document to PDF

Google Drive is a practical and free solution, though it lacks AI enhancements. It allows users to save documents to the cloud, and the scanned document in PDF format can be downloaded later from anywhere.

How to Scan a Document on Android With Microsoft Lens

Next up, we have an OCR software by Microsoft. Let's see how to scan documents to PDF for free using Microsoft Lens on Android:

Step 1: Open Microsoft Lens and tap the "Camera" icon to begin scanning the document.

Microsoft Lens start scanning

Step 2: Grant Microsoft Lens access to take pictures by selecting "While using the app".

Microsoft Lens allow to take pictures

Step 3: Position the document in front of your Android camera and capture a photo of the document.

Microsoft Lens take photo of document

Step 4: In the following screen, users can adjust the borders of their photo to eliminate any unnecessary background behind the document, then click "Confirm".

Microsoft Lens preview of scanned document

Step 5: Users can apply filters, crop, rotate, or add more document photos. Once the editing is complete, click "Done" to convert the scanned document into a PDF.

Microsoft Lens edit scanned document

Step 6: In the new screen, check the PDF box to save the document as a PDF. You can also change the name of your scanned document in the title field, and then click "Save" to store the document on your phone.

Microsoft Lens save scanned document as PDF

Microsoft Lens is an easy-to-use OCR software with a free and interactive interface. It's simple to use and offers various options for saving the document in different formats, as well as saving it in OneDrive.

How to Scan Documents Using Adobe Scan

Let's proceed with using Adobe Scan to scan a document to PDF for free:

Step 1: Launch the Adobe Scan app on your Android device, then tap the "Camera" icon located at the bottom right of the screen.

Adobe Scan

Step 2: Position the document in front of your device's camera, ensuring it's within the blue borders. Adobe Scan will automatically capture a photo of the document.

Adobe Scan automatic scanner

Step 3: After scanning, the background will be cropped automatically. If you require additional edits, you can use the border adjustments and the editing options in the toolbar below to refine your scanned document.

Adobe Scan save scanned document

Step 4: When you've finished editing your scanned document, click on "Save PDF", and the scanned document will be saved in PDF format on your Android device.

Adobe Scan scanned document to PDF

Scanning documents with Adobe Scan offers an interactive experience, but there was one feature that fell slightly short compared to other software: the cropping feature. In some cases, the images weren't cropped accurately, and the background remained visible even after cropping. However, you still have the option to save your scanned documents to Google Drive or cloud storage, which is a convenient feature.

Best Free PDF Editor - WPS PDF

How to download WPS Office for free?

Step 1: Start by accessing the Google Play Store on your Android device. Utilize the search bar to look up "WPS Office".

WPS Office on Google Play Store

Step 2: Locate the WPS Office application and proceed to press the "Install" button to commence the download and installation of WPS Office on your Android device.

Download and Install WPS Office from Google Play store

Step 3: Once the installation is finished, launch the WPS Office app on your Android device. WPS Office will initiate on your Android screen. Accept the terms and conditions, then click on "Start".

WPS Office terms and conditions

Step 4: Register with your email to begin using WPS Office for free.

Step 5: WPS Office Pro, which offers advanced functionalities for professionals, is also available. If you wish to subscribe, select "Start with Free Trial", or you can simply close the window.

WPS Office Start free trial

Step 6: You are now ready to use WPS Office on your Android for free. You can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, or scan documents to PDF without any cost.

WPS Office interface

How to convert scanned document to PDF offline on Android for free in WPS Office

Here are the steps for using WPS Office to scan documents and export them as PDF:

Step 1: Initiate the process by launching WPS Office on your mobile device and tapping the icon marked with a "+ Create".

WPS AI Android Create

Step 2: Proceed to select "Scanner" to establish a new OCR Document.

WPS AI Android Scanner

Step 3: Pick the document you wish to scan, and tap the Camera icon to gain access to the scanning interface.

Step 4: WPS OCR will become active, scanning the content from your document, while WPS AI elevates the scanning process to guarantee the precise identification of all elements.

Step 5: Users are provided with the option to refine the document's borders, ensuring only the essential content is included, while eliminating any surplus background by adjusting the border around the scanned image. Upon completing the editing, tap "Done," and confirm by selecting the checkmark icon.

WPS AI Android Done

Step 6: Subsequently, select "Export Document" and then opt for "Export to PDF" to create a PDF version of your scanned document.

WPS AI Android Export to PDF

Step 7: You can effortlessly copy the text from the document and store it in another file.

WPS Office, in tandem with WPS AI, stands out as the premier solution for converting scanned documents to PDF for free when compared to its competitors. The scanned documents produced are exceptionally clear, surpassing those created by other OCR software. Additionally, it offers a range of features, including the ability to save scanned PDFs to the cloud, with support for WPS Cloud, Google Drive, and OneDrive. Its user-friendly and straightforward interface, combined with the added advantage of AI, positions it as the top free OCR software available. Elevate your Android scanning experience and enjoy the highest quality scanned documents by downloading WPS Office on your mobile device today.

WPS Office- Free All-in-One Office Suite
  • Use Word, Excel, and PPT for FREE, No Ads.

  • Edit PDF files with the powerful PDF toolkit.

  • Microsoft-like interface. Easy to learn. 100% Compatibility.

  • Boost your productivity with WPS's abundant free Word, Excel, PPT, and CV templates.

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Algirdas Jasaitis


Q1. Which browser has a PDF viewer on Android?

You can conveniently access a PDF viewer on your Android device by using the Microsoft Edge Browser. You can easily open and view PDF files using this browser since it offers a built-in PDF viewer. With Microsoft Edge on Android, you can easily manage PDF documents without requiring external applications or extra downloads. This feature provides a smooth and user-friendly experience when dealing with PDF files on Android devices.

Q2. Does Android have a built-in PDF viewer?

Some Android devices lack an in-built PDF viewer. However, here are two effective options to open and view PDF files:

  • Third-Party PDF Apps: Android users can effortlessly access and view PDF files by downloading third-party PDF apps. Some popular choices include Adobe Acrobat Reader, Xodo PDF Reader & Editor, and Foxit PDF Reader & Converter. These applications are readily available for download from the Google Play Store, enabling efficient handling and interaction with PDF files.

  • Google Drive: you can also access PDF files on your Android device through Google Drive. This method is ideal for individuals who frequently use Google Drive for cloud storage and file organization.

Digital Transformation with WPS AI: Your Gateway to Digital Documents

OCR tools, including WPS Office, Google Drive, Microsoft Lens, and Adobe Scan, each offering its own unique advantages. WPS Office, in particular, shines as a comprehensive solution to scan documents to PDF on Android. With its OCR capabilities, seamless editing features, and AI enhancements, WPS Office serves as your gateway to a digital document world. Enjoy crystal-clear scans and convenient storage options with WPS Cloud, Google Drive, and OneDrive. Simplify your workflow today - download WPS Office and say goodbye to paperwork hassles.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.