How to scan documents?

Digital documents are much easier to store, scan, exchange, and submit than paper documents. Regrettably, not all company records are currently digital.

If you use Google’s G Suite and a networked scanner or a mobile computer, you can turn paper into a PDF that you can share or submit in at least three different ways.

1. Smartphone scan

To begin, use your phone to convert a few pages from paper to PDF. Take pictures of pages and save them as PDFs to Google Drive using the Google Drive Android app.

To do so, go to the Google Drive app’s + action button, tap “Scan,” and then keep your phone’s camera over the entire text. Add more pages by repeating the procedure. (See Scan-to-Google Drive: The Scanner in Your Pocket for more information on the Google Drive app scanning.)

Using Apple Notes on your iPhone or iPad: Create a new note, then select the + with a circle around it, then “Scan Document” to capture a page image. When you’re done, click “Share” (the box with an arrow pointing up), then upload or email the document to Google Drive or Gmail. (See Three iOS 11 iPad features business users could be missing for more information on iOS scanning.)

2. Networked device: Scan to Google Drive

Second, use a modern networked scanner that connects directly to Google Drive to convert a large number of pages: After entering your account details, search your pages to a file in a Google Drive folder of your choice. You can share access to your documents with colleagues once you’ve uploaded them to Drive. (See How to search documents directly to Google Drive for more information.)

3. Networked device: Scan, then send via email

Third, you may want to set up some devices to scan documents and then email them. And this is where things get a little more complicated. Google provides three options for configuring scan-to-email settings on these computers.

Read through each choice, and for more information, see Google’s “Send email from a printer, scanner, or app.”

Recommended: G Suite SMTP relay

The most secure option is to send scans through a G Suite SMTP relay, which must be enabled for the organization by a G Suite administrator.

To do so, allow extensive mail storage, which saves a copy of all items sent. To “Ensure that a copy of all sent and received mail is stored in related users’ mailboxes,” go to, sign in with a G Suite administrator account, go to Apps > G Suite > Gmail > Advanced settings > scroll down to the Compliance section, and check the box next to “Comprehensive mail storage.”

Then, in Apps,> G Suite > Gmail > Advanced settings > Routing, scroll down to the SMTP relay service and pick it, then choose “Configure.” Allowing “only addresses in my domains” and then restricting mail by IP address is an option. You may also “Add IP range” and “Require SMTP authentication” to define the IP addresses of your devices. If your system supports this type of link, I suggest checking the box that says “Require TLS encryption.” Select “Add setting” after that. For more information, see Google’s Send email from a printer, scanner, or app support page.

Alternative: Send with a Google account via a Gmail SMTP server

Scans are sent through a Gmail SMTP server, which is a slightly less secure method. The relation between your scanner and the server, like the first form, can be encrypted.

To configure your computer for this process, you’ll need a Google account: Consider if you want to utilize a single G Suite account for all of your company’s devices or whether it’s better to create a separate account for each one.

If you’re going to use the Gmail SMTP server process, I recommend making a new organizational unit called “Scanners.”

Assign some device-specific accounts to this organizational unit. Then go to Security > Basic settings > Select the link next to “Less secure apps” in the Admin panel > Select “Allow users to govern their access to less secure apps” after selecting the organizational unit you created (e.g., “Scanners”). This allows these accounts to send emails using the Gmail SMTP method without affecting the security settings for other G Suite accounts in your organization’s domain. Sign in to the G Suite account created for a device at least once in your browser to guarantee the account passes any “Captcha” limits.

Less capable devices: Send to Google accounts-only via a restricted Gmail SMTP server

The least secure option allows you to send scans only to Gmail or G Suite accounts. (This may be the only option available for some older devices.) While the connection between the scanner and server is not secured, an administrator will need to add the scanner’s IP address both as an authorized sender (in an SPF record at your domain name host) and as an always-allowed receiver (in G Suite Gmail settings) to ensure incoming messages arrive in an inbox, not spam.

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