Add a Scan widget to the home screen on your Android phone and scan documents and receipts and save them to Google Drive with three taps

Get rid of the paperwork! Scan your receipts and documents and save them to Google Drive with this time-saving widget. Add it to your Android phone home screen for easy access and fast scans.

The camera on many mobile phones is so good and is such high resolution that it can be used as a scanner. In fact, the camera is higher resolution than desktop scanners were not so long ago.

Phone cameras take great pictures and with the right software, they can double up as a scanner. You just take a photo of the receipt, business card, document or whatever. The image is cropped to show only the scan and then saved.

If you have not yet gone paperless, then now is the time!

The Google Drive app has a feature that enables you to use the phone camera as a scanner and it works well. You can scan paperwork and save the scans in your cloud storage - Google Drive.

You don’t need to find the Google Drive app, open it, search for the option to scan and so on. You just need to put a widget on the home screen of the phone.

  1. One tap on the widget and you are ready to scan
  2. One more tap to capture the scan image
  3. One final tap to save it to Google Drive

Three taps and you are done! That is so easy and so fast you will want to save all your receipts and documents online! There is no need to select Google Drive or even the folder to upload to. It is configured once and from them on you just tap, tap, tap and it is done.

Let’s see how to set up Google Scrive scanning from a home screen widget. Google Drive is assumed to be installed on your Android phone and is up to date.

(Got an iPhone? Here are the best scanner apps for 2017)

Go to Widgets

It depends which phone and which version of Android is installed. One way to get to widgets is to long press on an empty space on the home screen. Then press Widgets in the row of icons at the bottom of the screen.

Alternatively, go to the Apps drawer (the screen where all the apps are listed alphabetically), and press the Widgets tab at the top of the screen.

Add a widget to the home screen on Android phones


Find Google Drive widgets

Find the Google Drive widgets. The screenshot is from Android 6 on a Samsung Galaxy S6 and the widgets are grouped. Tap the Drive widget group.

Other phones with older versions of Android might show the three Drive widgets separately. If so, you can skip this step.

Find the Google Drive widgets on Android


Drag to home screen

Press and hold on the Drive scan shortcut and drag it to an empty space on the home screen. Drop it wherever you want to place it.

The Google Drive widgets on Android


Ready to scan

With the icon now on the home screen, you are ready to scan. Press the Scans icon.

Google Drive Scans icon on Android


Scan a receipt

Get a receipt or document you want to scan, position it in the centre of the screen and press the button to take a photo.

Press the three dots in the top right corner to display the menu. Unless you need colour, documents and receipts are often best when set to Black & White. It whitens the paper and blackens the ink, making the text easier to read.

Press the tick button in the bottom right corner to save the scan to Google Drive.

 Scanning a receipt using Google Drive Scanning a receipt using Google Drive


Where are scans saved?

The first time something is scanned or saved, you will see something like this. The widget asks where you want to save scans on Google Drive.

An existing folder could be selected or a new one can be created. Press the folder icon in the top right corner.

Select the folder on Google drive to saved scans

A new folder is created and you are asked to enter its name. Enter something obvious, like Scans, and press OK. The folder opens and pressing the SELECT button selects it as the default save location for scans.

Create a folder on Google Drive

Transfer your receipts and documents to Google Drive and recycle the paper. When you need to refer to them, just go to the Scans folder on Google Drive.

You could scan photos using this widget, but there is a better app for that - Scan old photos and store them online using Google PhotoScan.


If your phone is not up to the job of scanning documents, this Canon Office Products LiDE 120 Color Image Scanner is an excellent alternative.

The scanner is compact, has a resolution of 2,400 x 4,800 dpi, and has a 'send to cloud' feature. It works with PC and Mac.

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