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Document scanning

Use the document scanning feature to create files in your Dropbox. This feature is also useful for transforming a whiteboard brainstorming session or sticky notes into documents you can share with Dropbox.

Show instructions for:

Android

Scan a document

  1. Open the Dropbox app on your Android device.
  2. Tap "+" (plus).
  3. Choose Scan Document, then select Allow when prompted.
    • Take a picture of content you want to transform into a document.
    • Or select an existing image on your device by tapping the photos icon on the bottom-left.
  4. If you choose to take a picture, point your camera at the object you want to scan. A border outlines the shape you’re scanning. Make sure:
    • Your document is not crumpled
    • There is no glare on what you’re photographing
    • You hold your device directly above what you’re photographing
    • To include only what you want to scan
  5. If needed, you can scan more pages. Or, you can move on to editing your doc.

Edit and arrange your scan

After scanning a doc, the next screen is the Scan Preview view. The icons on the bottom of this view represent the actions you can take to edit your scan.

You can also tap Arrange (next to Edit) to reorder the pages of your scan. In the Arrange view, long press a page to drag and reorder it.

Adjust your scan

  1. From the Edit screen, tap the icon with the three sliders at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Edit the area of your scanned document by moving the blue dots on each corner of the scan.
  3. Decide what format you want the scan in (B&W, Whiteboard, Original).
  4. If desired, use the slider to adjust the contrast (this option is only available for some filters).
  5. When you're satisfied with your edits, tap the check mark in the upper-right corner of the screen.

Save your scan

  1. From the Scan Preview screen, tap the arrow on the upper right to enter the Save as view.
  2. Name your file and decide on a file type.
  3. Decide where to save your document.

iOS

Scan a document

  1. Open the Dropbox app on your iOS device.
  2. Tap "+" (plus).
  3. Choose Scan Document.
    • Take a picture of content you want to transform into a document.
    • Or, select an existing image in your Camera Roll.
  4. If you choose to take a picture, point your camera at the object you want to scan. A border outlines the shape you’re scanning. Make sure:
    • Your document is not crumpled
    • There is no glare on what you’re photographing
    • You hold your device directly above what you’re photographing
    • To include only what you want to scan
  5. If needed, you can scan more pages. Or, you can move on to editing your doc. (Instructions on scanning more pages and editing docs follow.)
Scan a doc into your Dropbox

Edit and arrange your scan

After scanning a doc, the next screen is the Edit view. The icons on the bottom of this view represent the actions you can take to edit your scan.

The Edit view

You can also tap Arrange (beside Edit) to reorder the pages of your scan. In the Arrange view, long press a page to drag and reorder it.

Adjust your scan

The Adjust view
  1. From the Edit screen, tap the icon with the three sliders at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Edit the area of your scanned document by moving the blue dots on each corner of the scan.
  3. Under Filter, decide what format you want the scan in.
  4. If desired, use the slider to adjust the contrast (this option is only available for some filters).
  5. When you're satisfied with your edits, tap Done.

Save your scan

  1. From the Edit screen, tap Next to enter the Settings view.
  2. Name your file and decide on a file type.
  3. Use the slider to select an image quality and size for the scan.
  4. Decide where to save your document.

Convert images in your Dropbox to scans

You can also convert existing image files to scans directly from the Home or the Files tab in the Dropbox app:

  • In the Home tab, tap Save as Scan to convert eligible files.
  • In the Files tab, tap the ... (ellipsis) icon next to the file name and select Save as Scan.

The following file types are supported for scanning an existing image:

  • .jpg
  • .jpeg
  • .png

Frequently asked questions

Can I scan more than one page into a single document?

Yes. You can scan up to ten pages of a document and save the file as a single .pdf. Here’s how:

  1. After scanning the first page, tap the add more pages icon (two pages with a plus sign) from the Edit view.
  2. You can reorder the pages of your document by tapping Arrange.
  3. Long press on a page to drag and change its order.

Can I save a multi-page scan as a .png file?

No. Multi-page scans can only be saved as a .pdf file.

Will text be automatically detected in scanned documents?

For Dropbox Business users, OCR (optical character recognition) is available for .pdf files only. If a Dropbox Business user paired personal and work accounts, OCR is also available in their personal account. Read more in the following "For Dropbox Business users" section.

Can I use document scanning while offline?

Yes, you can scan a document while offline. Once you get an internet connection, the document uploads to your Dropbox.

For Dropbox Business and Professional users

Dropbox Business and Professional customers get access to more features for document scanning:

  • Use the search bar on dropbox.com or the mobile app to full-text search scanned documents
  • Copy text from within a .pdf file

Notes on full-text search and document scanning

The following content types are supported:

  • Documents written in English
  • Typed documents

The following content types are not supported:

  • Scans created by a third-party document scanner
  • Documents written in a language other than English
  • Handwritten documents
  • File types other than .pdf
  • Documents with overly stylized text

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