OneDrive Document Scanning

What is it?

The OneDrive mobile app can be used to scan documents, whiteboards, business cards and photos. Features include intelligent capture, for example when you select to scan a business card or document, it is specifically looking for an area within the frame that is likely rectangular in shape, and additional editing options. Compared to a traditional scanning scenario, this is going to be an improvement in most cases since a scanner will typically scan the entire available area, say A4 or A3 and then require some manual cropping of the file to only show the specific business card, identification, document boundaries and so on.

With the OneDrive features, you’re left only with the specific content that was captured, automatic realignment and cropping that leaves a very sharp and professional looking scanned file. It’s also smaller in size, since it’s only capturing the required content and does not require manual effort to crop and reduce the size prior to sending via email or as a shared file.

The card in the example that follows is a scan from within the OneDrive app and totals 623KB, whereas the same photo (with iOS Live Photo mode disabled), totals 4MB. Upon capture, these files are stored within OneDrive and not locally on the device, which is another benefit.

Why use it?

In the modern era of working remotely, be it entirely remote, or in a hybrid model, access to scanners is not necessarily possible or practical. Home office spaces aren’t always going to be large enough for a desktop scanner, nor might the user want a bulky scanner on their desk permanently where it’s only used once every so often. Where it isn’t permanently in position and ready, there’s also the consideration of the time required to unpack it all, connect power and networking or direct USB etc.

Where corporate offices provide shared facilities for printing and scanning, if the scanning requirement still exists when working remotely, this would require providing a scanner to each user individually as they’d all be in separate physical locations.

With the OneDrive method, since the scanned content is not stored locally on the device, and assuming the device is managed or has an App Protection Policy applied, the file will remain under corporate management (assuming use of OneDrive for Business) which is useful when considering potential data loss and overall control, whilst also not needlessly consuming local storage on devices since it goes straight into OneDrive.

Some of the benefits of this approach include the following –

  • No requirement for physical scanner hardware which is often quite large
  • Allows for scanning from practically any location enabling flexible, remote working
  • Data is not stored locally on devices so does not consume local storage, and can remain in scope of management (OneDrive for Business app for App Protection)
  • Returns additional value on existing M365 licensing
  • Some of the application features such as auto alignment and cropping reduce the effort required on the part of the end user
  • New features are likely to be released to greater improve the functionality, whereas scanners would take much longer to be updated with newer features
  • The OneDrive application can be deployed and managed via management solutions such as Intune and Endpoint Configuration Manager

How to use it

Open the OneDrive app on a mobile device

Select the ‘Scan’ option at the bottom

Select from either ‘Document’, ‘Whiteboard’, ‘Business Card’ or ‘Photo’

Aim the camera over the content that requires capturing/scanning and ensure the content is within the suggested boundaries for capture. Select the ‘Capture’ button (note in the example the angle of the capture is not straight)

Adjust the captured bordered area if necessary and select ‘Confirm’ to proceed. The following example was automatically bordered and nothing was manually modified.

Apply any further adjustments such as adding further pages for documents (max 10), filters, additional cropping, rotation and annotations

Available options as follows –

Select ‘Done’ once complete

Select the OneDrive destination folder to save the file, rename as necessary and select the tick icon in the top right to save the file

It’s as simple as that and once complete the scan can be shared via a OneDrive URL, as an attachment in an email, or saved in OneDrive and archived for later use as appropriate.

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