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How to print and scan with Android

We may live in an increasingly digital world, but sometimes, love it or hate it, a good old-fashioned pulp paper is always a necessity.

No matter what type of work you do, you are bound to occasionally come across a page to print or a document to scan. With your Android phone in hand, however, such scenarios don’t have to be complicated. In fact, printing and scanning from Android is surprisingly easy these days, if you know where to look.

Follow this guide and you’ll never be caught off guard again.

Printing from Android: the basic method

There was a time when turning a document on your mobile device into a tangy combination of paste and ink required a bulky third-party plug-in – or, worse yet, the dreaded, often unreliable, and just recently. get out of his misery Google Cloud Print service (breath!).

Well, take a deep breath and calm your inner self: such horrible complications are no longer necessary. At this point, provided you have a reasonably up-to-date Android device, the ability to print from your phone is built right into the operating system and as easy as it gets.

Since the release of Android 8 (Oreo) in 2017, Google has partnered with Mopria Alliance – a non-profit mobile printing standards organization – to bring native, reflective printing functionality to all Android devices. There’s really nothing you can do: as long as you’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network as a Mopria-certified printer (and there’s a good chance any printer in your office or home has this designation; Mopria says the overwhelming majority of printers sold these days do), all you have to do is find the print command in any app that offers it and then tap with your cute little one. finger.

In Gmail or Microsoft Word, or an instance, you tap the three-dot menu icon in the upper right corner, and then find the “Print” command in the list of options that appears. In Google Docs, you open this same menu, but first tap “Share & Export” and then select “Print”.

android print scan google docs JR Raphaël / IDG

On any relatively newer Android phone, you can find the print command in any app that supports it, such as Google Docs, shown here, and then print without any further thought or configuration.

No matter where you find it, once you start the printing process your phone will automatically detect the presence of any printer on your network and list it as an option – and you can print however you like (or unhappy, as the case may be). ).

Printing from Android: the advanced path

The integrated system we just walked through works well for most basic printing needs, but if you need more complex forms of mobile print authentication (and if you’re working in a corporate environment, it there is a decent chance that you do) or if your print requires other advanced job-oriented features (such as folding, stapling, or accounting-related typing), you’ll need something a little more robust.

The simplest answer comes from the same aforementioned Mopria Alliance, which has a Mopria Print Service Application which allows these kind of higher level options. Once you have installed the app, accepted its terms, and granted it the necessary permissions to operate, you will follow the same steps outlined above to print from any print-supporting program. on your phone. Mopria Print Service will automatically take over as your device’s default print service and provide you with all of the advanced capabilities available on the printer you are using.

(You can also choose to install your printer manufacturer own print service plugin – like the one offered by HP, for example, but the Mopria app has the advantage of working seamlessly with virtually any printer and saves you having to switch apps or install additional apps every time a new printer does. its entry into your life.)

The Mopria Print Service app is also a viable option for phones running older versions of Android – as it will work with virtually all phones and versions of Android – and it has the added benefit of allowing you to print to from all over on your device whether or not an appropriate print command is present: just use the standard Android share command, then select “Print Mopria” from the menu that appears. You can even use this ability to select a piece of text from an email, webpage, or any other place imaginable, and then send just that specific text to a printer.

android print scan mopria print service JR Raphaël / IDG

The Mopria Print Service app makes it very easy to find and manage nearby printers, and then print to them with more advanced, business-oriented options.

Scan with Android via a physical scanner

If you’re near a physical scanner or multifunction printer, capturing a document and saving it to your phone is a snap – just type the Mopria Scan app, created and maintained by this same organization that we talked about in the last two sections (and that ?!).

Open the app, agree to the necessary terms and permissions, and make sure you’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the scanner you want to use, then find your scanner in the list that the app spits out. If you don’t see the scanner you need, look for the button to manually add a scanner by entering its name (whatever name you want to give it) and IP address (usually listed somewhere in the menu of the scanner). front screen of a scanner).

Once your scanner appears, just tap on its name to start a scan.

print scan android scan mopria JR Raphaël / IDG

Mopria Scan allows you to run a scan remotely and then display the results directly on your Android phone.

Scan with Android Using Your Phone’s Camera

Maybe you don’t or don’t want to worry about a stand-alone scanner and just prefer to capture something using your phone’s camera. Believe it or not, you can actually get reasonable quality scans this way.

The Google Play Store is home to a variety of apps up to the task, but the most powerful and versatile option for documents and other text-centric scans is the free version. Microsoft Lens app. Just open the app, confirm the type of content you want to capture, like a document, whiteboard, or business card, and press the shutter button. Microsoft Lens will take care of the rest, including straightening and crisp cropping your scan to make sure it looks correct and professional.

microsoft android print scan lens JR Raphaël / IDG

With Microsoft Lens, capturing any physical document is as easy as pointing and tapping your phone – no physical scanner required.

You can edit or annotate the image as needed and save it as a PDF or JPG, either locally on your device or directly in Microsoft’s OneNote or OneDrive service. You can also send the image directly to a Word file, where the program will extract any text from the scan and save it as plain text for your editing pleasure.

If you are already using the Google drive app on your phone, it has a similar but less robust scanning feature built in – and if all you need is an occasional basic scan, without any advanced editing or tuning options, that may be enough to do the job. job. You can either open Drive and tap the circular plus icon in its lower right corner, or long-press the Drive icon in your app drawer (or on your home screen) to find the feature.

Last but not least, if you are looking to scan physical photos, Google is free. PhotoScan application is the way forward. PhotoScan walks you through a multi-step process of positioning your photo in different places to capture every angle in the best possible way. He then puts the different images together and applies a fair amount of technological magic to make the photo look like it was professionally scanned – with automatic cropping and an almost eerie lack of real-world glare.

05 android photoscan print scan JR Raphaël / IDG

Google’s PhotoScan app helps you position a photo and capture it from multiple angles to assemble a professional, glare-free scan.

With technology like this, the line between physical and digital has never been easier to cross.

This article was originally published in August 2019 and updated in March 2021.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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