How to scan, sign and share documents from your phone

How to scan, sign and share documents from your phone

Docusign screenshot

Signing documents is easier than you think.
Screenshot: DocuSign

There are some tasks that will never be suitable for a smartphone – serious video editing and serious spreadsheet editing, for example – but you can do a lot on these pocket devices, including scanning, signing and sharing documents without having to go near a computer or printer.

Whether you’re using Android or iOS, there are a few built-in options you can try, plus plenty of third-party apps you can turn to for the job. Whatever you’re dealing with, whether it’s an order for work or a form from your child’s school, you can take care of it all digitally, quickly and with the help of minimum crowd.

Built-in options

If you’re on Android, then Google Drive is most likely pre-installed on your smartphone: You can scan documents through the app by tapping on + (plus) symbol and then Scan: You will need to frame the document in question using your phone’s camera, and then it will be stored in your Google Drive account as a PDF.

What you can’t currently do on Google Drive or Google Docs is electronically sign documents, not without a third-party plugin (see below for some examples). The function of e-signature is currently in betabut even then it’s only available to users who pay for a Google Workspace account.

Screenshot of Google Drive

Google Drive will scan the documents for you.
Screenshot: Google Drive

Sharing is, of course well catered for. You can share a document directly from the Google Drive app by tapping the three dots next to the file and selecting Share—this will allow other people to access the file within your Google Drive account. You can also choose Send a copy from the same menu to send a PDF via any app on your phone (email app or instant messenger, for example).

For those of you on iPhone, there is scanning and signing characteristics built into the Files app (and the Notes app, if you want an alternative). From Files, tap Browse and On my iPhonethen tap the three dots in the upper right corner and select Scan Documents: Align the pages you want to scan in the camera viewfinder and they will be saved as PDFs on your device.

Screenshot of Apple Files

You can manage multiple signatures on your iPhone.
Screenshot: Apple Files

To sign a document in iOS, tap he inside the Files app, then tap the pencil icon (bottom right). Then you can either use your finger to scribble your sign or select the signature icon (a pen that writes in a box) to create a new digital signature or use an existing one: Tap somewhere on the document, then + button (plus), then Add signature. When you’re done, tap Done.

Sharing from the Files application is pretty straightforward. Touch and hold a document, then select Share from the menu that appears: You can send a document through one of the apps on your phone, move it to another device via AirDrop, put it somewhere in a cloud storage service, and more.

Third-party applications

There are plenty of third-party apps for scanning, signing, and sharing documents, as you might expect—though they all differ in which of these tasks they focus on. on the majority and what other features you get. You may already have one or more of them installed on your smartphone, and they’re all free to install—though some require in-app purchases for certain premium features.

Dropbox (Android, iOS) is best known for cloud storage and file synchronization, but it also includes a capable document scanner. Scanned documents are saved as PDFs and stored in your cloud locker, and from there, you can share them in various ways. Digital signing is also available, but only (at least for now) with PDFs on iOS: When the file is open, tap the open icon (the arrow inside the box), then choose Add text or signature.

Dropbox in Acrobat screenshot

Dropbox can connect to Acrobat, but it also lets you sign PDFs directly.
Screenshot: Dropbox

HelloSign (Android, iOS) is now owned by Dropbox and runs signatures inside the Dropbox iOS app—if you want something more standalone or something that works on Android, you can use this separate app. Scanning, signing and sharing are supported, and there are tools to manage multiple signatures on a document.

Then there’s DocuSign (Android, iOS), which is an application very dedicated to helping you sign documents digitally (as its name suggests): To this end, offers the ability to create and manage multiple signatures. There is an integrated document scanner if you need it, or you can import a file from another source and you can share completed documents to any other app on your phone, also.

Acrobat Screenshot

Signing options are available in Acrobat Reader.
Screenshot: Adobe Acrobat

Acrobat Reader (Android, iOS) is a veteran Adobe PDF management tool and current mobile version app can handle scanning, signing, and sharing PDF documents (although the first step requires a separate app, Adobe Scan). Everything is neatly handled, and there are a few useful sharing options—you can let other people comment on the file, for example.

When it comes to ease of use, it’s hard to beat JetSign (Android, iOS). Signatures, dates and other text can be inserted into a PDF with a few taps, and there’s a lot of flexibility in every aspect of the app – from how your signature looks on the page to how files are shared with other people. Ready-made documents must be exported as PDFs, but you can import files in various formats (including Word documents).

#scan #sign #share #documents #phone

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