Scanning documents with Google Drive

Latest Google Drive update adds scanning and OCR features.

Google Drive, from where else but Google, is becoming ever more invaluable as somewhere to store and edit your online documents.

It’s currently capable of letting you create, open, store and view documents and spreadsheets alongside general storage for everything else.

In a fresh update just released, Google Drive has had scan and OCR – aka Optical Character Recognition – built into it.

It’s ideal for storing recipes, business cards or boring bills, which is a great idea if you’re ever left searching for expense receipts at the end of the month.

If your device has a rear-facing camera click the + button in Google Drive and select the option to Scan a document. Doing so creates a PDF which Google will index as searchable text, so you’re able to look up details from anything you’ve scanned into Google Drive.

Let’s take a look at how it works:

1. Google Drive

You’ll need to have Google Drive Android installed and up to date. Within the app tap the top-right + button to Add a new document. Select the new Scan option.

OCR documents with Google Drive












2. Photo scanning

For best results you’ll need a document that’s not too crinkled or crushed but nice and flat. Consistent lighting is also important, shadows can cause OCR issues.

Hold your camera square over the centre of the document, but due to the distortion camera lenses can cause at the edge leave a clear gap around the document. Make sure it’s in focus and snap an image.

OCR documents with Google Drive












3. Tweak and save

The scan system offers a few basic enhancements to help improve its quality. From making the scan black and white only, to sharpening the image.

You’re also able to rotate the image and add additional images with the + button.

OCR documents with Google Drive












4. Viewing and searching

The final scan is saved to Google Drive as a PDF file. If you search for a phrase from the document, you’ll find that Google Drive will list it in the document.

Oddly the PDFs created only store the scanned image file while the OCR text is retained within Google Drive. You’re also unable to upload images and have these scanned later on.

OCR documents with Google Drive












Give this handy feature a whirl!

For more details visit the Google Drive Blog.

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