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Google Stack: A new Android scanner app that will digitally archive your paperwork



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The Android phone camera can get rid of you with receipt.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

Gone are the days of trying to find a scanner, or worse, messing up your desk with one of these printer / scanner combinations, for a handful of times a year you need to create a digital version of a document. Apples iPhone have one hidden document scanner in the Notes app, and now Android owners have one dedicated app from Google called Stack.

Sure, you can just take a picture of a contract or a bill to keep a digital copy of it, but then you have to manage to crop the background and convert it to a PDF so you can sign it. Stack eliminates the extra work and provides a high-end version of the document. The only thing it is not doing right now is providing a way to add your signature. Do not worry, I cover how to sign documents below.

Stack is available for Android phones and tablets, but is limited to those living in the United States. It goes beyond just scanning when storing documents and receipts. Stack automatically identifies which store a receipt is from, or the due date of an invoice. Below I go through the details to use Stack as your go-to scanner.

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There is a lot you can do with Stack to better organize your files.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Scan a document and start creating stacks

After installing Stack from the Play Store, you will be prompted to sign in to the app using your Google Account and then give it access to media and photos on your phone.

You will immediately be taken to the Stack home screen, where you will see different stacks – or categories – of scanned documents. Select one of the stacks to see placeholders for suggested documents to be scanned and stored in that stack.

Start a scan with one touch + button at the bottom right of the screen. You get three options: PDF, Gallery and Camera.

Stack is easy to use and can improve your workflow.

Google

Select PDF if you already have a digital copy of a document that you want to import into Stack. Pick Gallery if you have a picture of the document stored in the camera roll or picture app. Select for Camera if you need to create a new scan. Remember that this is not the same as taking a picture in the Camera app. Stack will adjust the image on its own, create a PDF and only save the document, not an entire image.

When you select a camera, the process is similar to taking a picture with your phone. Place the receipt on a flat, well-lit surface and hold the phone over it. Press the white with the paper completely in front of the camera Scan button at the bottom of the screen. The phone takes a picture and automatically prints it so that you only see the document.

Press Add button if you need to scan multiple pages of the same document. Select Adjust color or Prune and rotate to make their respective adjustments. When you are satisfied with the scan, press Save.

As you can see in the animated image, Stack will identify information in the document and use it for document search, indicating a document name and category.

Before saving the document, you must either accept the name suggestion or change it. Then select the category where you want to save it, or select See everything to create a custom stack

Press Finished when you are ready to save it. The first time you save a scan, you will be asked if you want to save a copy to Google Drive. Doing so allows you to access scanned documents from another device, such as your computer, outside of the Stack app.

stack app settings

Automatic import from your camera roll? Yes please.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Recharge your camera

Stack has some more powerful features that you can enable in the settings section of the app. Using these settings, the app transforms from being an on-demand scanner to an app that monitors the camera roll, for example, and then imports all the documents it detects into images. This means that you can take pictures of your receipts for labor costs, and Stack will take care of importing and organizing them without you having to do anything.

Go to settings by tapping your profile picture at the top of the page followed by Settings.

There you have the option to enable auto-import, require a fingerprint or face recognition before you can access your stacks and enable or disable document storage on Google Drive.

You also have the option to export all the scanned documents or delete all data associated with your Google Account.

Currently missing from Stack is a built-in option for signing any scanned documents. However, you can use some of the suggestions outlined here to get the document signed on your Android phone or other device. Want more tips and tricks for Android? Check out these hidden features, then change these settings.


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