How to Scan and Fax Documents Using Your Camera Phone

Camera Phone Tips

When taking pictures of documents to scan or fax, remember don't use a flash.
When taking pictures of documents to scan or fax, remember don't use a flash.
© ­Photographer: Mark Stout | Agency: Dreamstime

To successfully scan and fax with a cell phone, you need to know the best way to photograph different types of documents. Here are tips for taking pictures with a camera phone:

  • Check your camera phone settings. If possible, select the "macro" or "document" mode. Also make sure that the camera's autofocus setting is on. Macro/document mode is particularly important for scanning smaller documents like letter-size pieces of paper or business cards.
  • If you don't have macro/document mode, make sure the camera is set to its highest resolution. This'll generate the largest image.
  • Turn off your flash. Flashes tend to reflect harshly off of white surfaces like paper. The result is a washed-out image.
  • Find the best lighting. Since you can't use a flash, the document needs to have ample natural light. Position the document near a window or directly under a lamp.
  • Try to fill the camera frame with as much of the document as possible. If you're photographing a business card, you'll need to get in nice and close so that the card fills almost the entire screen.
  • For letter-size pieces of paper and business cards, you may want to rotate your camera 90 degrees so that the document fills even more of the screen.
  • Hold the camera phone with both hands to keep it steady. Slight movements can produce a blurry image, especially in low-light situations.

If you're unsure about the quality of your cell phone's camera, go to A scan-and-fax service called scanR set up this site to rank the quality of most current camera phones on a scale of 100. If you can't find your particular model, you can run a test yourself:

  1. Take a photo of this page.
  2. Send your pic to scanR via e-mail or MMS.
  3. Log into the scanR site to see the quality rating of your image.

Now let's talk specifically about how to use the two most popular scan and fax services, Comombo and scanR.