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How to Scan Documents or Photos in Windows 10

There are multiple ways to scan a document or photo in Windows 10. You might be wondering, who needs to scan stuff in this digital decade? Unfortunately, there are many many circumstances which paper is still the preferred or default format. Banking and Government documents for taxes, for example, still show up at the house in paper form — ick.. normally arrive at my house 

In this article, I will review a few ways you can scan a document using a physical scanner or the free Office Lens app for Windows 10. After all, who wants to be buried under a mountain of unsearchable paper documents?

Windows 10 – Scan Documents, Business Cards or Photos using a Scanner

Even in 2017, it’s hard to beat the quality of a dedicated document or flatbed scanner. On Amazon, Prices range from $50 to $400 depending on the features, speed etc… If you want advice, stick with the big brands like Canon, Epson or Brother. Look for the highest number of reviews combined with a high Amazon rating (4+ star) and you should be just fine. So, once you get setup with your printer and get it configured with Windows 10, it’s time to start scanning!

Windows 10 includes a built-in scan utility, which you can access from the printer context menu. 

Click Start, type: devices and printer then hit Enter. Right-click your scanner or printer, then click Start scan.

Users have several options on the screen which let you preview the document, choose a color format (color or black and white), adjust brightness, set the appropriate resolution and even choose the format you want to save it in: JPEG, PDF or PNG. If you are satisfied with the results after previewing the document, proceed to click scan.

Make your selections, Click Preview to ensure everything looks good then Click Scan.

After giving your scanned document a Name, add a few tags to make it easier to search for later. Click Import.

Your scanned document can normally be found in Pictures within the scanned files folder.

With each revision of Windows 10, Microsoft is slowly deprecating parts of the classic desktop and the built-in scan utility might become the next victim. Microsoft released a modern universal app you can download from the Windows Store called Windows Scan.

Depending on when you’re reading this article, the Windows Scan app might be the best place to start for scanning paper documents or photos. If you updated to Windows 10 from 8, you might even have it installed. That said, I had to blow away the app from my Windows 10 box and reinstall it from the Windows Store. Something must have been corrupted during the Windows 8 to 10 upgrade.

The interface is quite similar to the old scanning utility. You can preview your document, crop it before scanning the final document, adjust resolution, select appropriate file formats and choose your save location.

When ready, click Scan then review the scanned document.

Scan Documents, Business Cards or Photos or Whiteboards using a Mobile Phone

Although once very popular, many people just don’t buy scanners anymore. No worries, Microsoft also makes an excellent mobile app called Office Lens. We’ve written about the iPhone/iPad version in detail however it also works well on Android.

Download Links:

Office Lens scans photos, whiteboards, business cards and documents quickly and easily. It’s fully integrated with other Microsoft apps like OneDrive, Word and OneNote.

It’s simple to use, just launch Office Lens, tap the scanner tab, then choose the type of content to scan. Office Lens will optimize its settings and create a frame around the document when it is recognized.

Tap the camera button to capture the file, preview the document then make further adjustments such as cropping or saving it in the desired format.

After scanning your document, there are other tasks you might want to perform such as adding a label, crop, delete it or save it for use in OneNote, OneDrive, Word or PowerPoint.

So, that’s a look at scanning documents and photos in Windows 10, both old and new. I must admit, using a dedicated flatbed scanner still remains the best choice for scanning documents; if you want the best quality. That said, it’s hard to beat the convenience and speed of a mobile combined with Onedrive. Sure, the quality might not be as good but, in most cases it’s probably good enough.

What about you? Do you have a favorite process, app, scanner you use and love? Tell us about it in the comments!

More Reading:

9 Responses to How to Scan Documents or Photos in Windows 10

  1. Tom Pagh February 22, 2017 at 6:35 am #

    I’ve never used the process you have described to scan documents, but will have give it a try. I have two flatbed scanners and use the HP scan software. However, when away from my office I use an iPhone app called “DocSanner”. It uses the iPhone camera. Once the image of the document, or sunset, etc. is captured you can crop, change dark/light settings, or rotate. Once complete you have the options to email as PDF or JPEG. You can upload to Dropbox, Evernote, eFax or HP eprint. You can even add a signature. The app also has an OCR option. Not bad for a free app!!

    • Steve Krause February 22, 2017 at 10:37 am #

      SCANNABLE is another great app. I use it a lot for scanning all my documents. You can create multi-page PDF documents with it and then either save the scan to your iPhone or email it. Works great. Might want to give that a look also.

      Steve
      gP

      • Ken from Florida February 22, 2017 at 11:29 am #

        Steve, is Scannable the Evernote app? If so, do you need to use Evernote to use the Scannable app?
        thanks

    • Ken from Florida February 22, 2017 at 11:34 am #

      I’ve been using CamScanner, another free app, on my iPhone. I don’t use it often but it’s worked well when I have used it.

  2. Ken from Florida February 22, 2017 at 6:58 am #

    Hi Andre,
    Thanks for the article- it was very informative. I have been using my Canon scanner’s own software.
    I just tried the printer context method, which worked fine for me. The Scan app doesn’t work for me. The Preview only shows a fraction of the document, and the Scan button returns an error every time. (I’m using Win 10 upgraded from Win 8.1, and killed the app and reloaded from the store. No joy). In any event, I’m more than happy with the printer context option!

    • Andre Da Costa February 22, 2017 at 5:33 pm #

      Are you sure the anchors are not hiding the viewable able area of the document? Remember, they can be adjusted to your liking. Some users have reported issues with it, looks like its not universally accepted by different devices.

      • Ken from Florida February 22, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

        Yes, I’ve moved the anchor points in and out to their max, still can’t manage to make the app recognize that it’s an 8.5 x 11 document. I can’t find a way to change the doc size.
        I’ll leave that app to MS and use the other techniques. I may use Office Lens on my phone more than the flatbed scanner now…..thanks for highlighting that app!

  3. Donna Cooke February 26, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

    I have searched the windows store and cannot find any app named windows scanner. what am I doing wrong?

    • Tom Pagh February 26, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

      Try “DocScanner” in the iTunes app store.

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