It seems that every year is the year of the paperless office and it is a phrase that regularly makes an appearance. People were talking about the paperless office 10 years ago and it still hasn't truly arrived. However, it is getting much easier to reduce the paper clutter that fills our desks and drawers, and Google Drive can be used to store documents, receipts and other paperwork.
The Drive app enables you to scan paperwork and then upload it to your Drive online storage as a PDF. You can then put the paper in the recycle bin or shred it, clearing the clutter around you. Storing paperwork online also makes items easier to find should you need to look up a document, receipt and so on. You can simply search for it on Drive and it is instantly displayed. PDFs can. of course, be printed if you ever need a hard copy, but the idea is to reduce the paper clutter.
If you don't already have a Google account you can easily get one and it is hard to avoid if you use Chrome for web browsing, an Android phone or tablet, YouTube account and so on. Go and sign up for Google Mail (it's good to have a second email account anyway) and then you have access to a wide range of Google services, including Drive. You can go straight to Drive and sign up too.
Once you have a Google account, download the Google Drive app to your phone from the Google Play Store. In fact, if you have an Android phone you probably already have it.
Open the Drive app on your phone or tablet and press the Scan button at the bottom of the screen. Point the device's camera at the document and press the button to take a snapshot. You need to be just the right distance away from the document for the best results, so there is a button in the middle at the bottom to retake the snapshot if it isn't right. In the toolbar at the top is a crop button and this can be used to remove any unwanted background bordering the paperwork scanned.
An important step that is easily missed is to set the name of the PDF document that is created, otherwise you will just get a default name based on the date and time. The name should be descriptive or you won't know what document or receipt you stored and you'll just see an obscure filename on Drive. After taking a scan snapshot, press the menu button in the app and select Rename scan, then enter a descriptive name.
Press the menu button again and this time select Settings. There are some useful options such as the image quality and there is low, normal and high quality. The paper size and orientation, such as A4, can be selected, and there are image enhancement options that include automatic, black and white, colour and colour drawing. These settings all tweak the scanned image as the PDF is created and uploaded to Drive.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Created: 05 March 2014