If you have a printer with a built in scanning function (or even a dedicated scanner), it’s actually surprisingly easy to scan things on a Chromebook. And if that’s what you want to do, you’re in the right place, because in this article, I’m going to show you how to scan on your Chromebook.
Prefer to watch a video about how to scan on a Chromebook? Click here.
Before we begin, you will need to either have the printer/scanner connected to your wifi network, and your Chromebook connected to that same wifi network, or have the scanner/printer plugged directly into your Chromebook via USB. But as long as that’s all set up, you should be good to go.
How To Scan With Your Chromebook
To scan with your Chromebook, the first thing you’ll need to do is open the scanning app. This app is actually pre-installed on all Chromebooks, but for some reason, it doesn’t show up in the app launcher. So to open it for the first time, you’ll have to search for it instead.
To do that, click on the circle icon in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
Then, in the menu that appears across the bottom of the screen, click in the search bar…
And type “Scan”.
Now, an app called scan should appear in the search results, and you’ll just need to click on it to open it up.
And now, you will be in the scan app and ready to start scanning!
Assuming your printer/scanner and Chromebook are on the same wifi network or connected via USB and everything is working correctly, it should automatically detect your scanner and select it ready to start scanning.
And if you have multiple scanners on your wifi network, you can click on the top drop down menu to select the one you want to use.
But, if you don’t see any scanners, and instead just see a message like this:
That means for some reason your Chromebook was not able to detect the scanner. You might just need to check all the connections or restart the printer/scanner, Chromebook, or wifi router to make sure everything is working properly, but if you are still seeing this message, that might, unfortunately, mean that the scanner is not compatible with Chrome OS.
But most scanners are compatible, so hopefully, you shouldn’t run into this issue.
Assuming your scanner does show up, you’re pretty much ready to scan straight away, and you could just put the document in the scanner and click “Scan” to begin scanning, but there are a few settings you might want to tweak first, and I’m going to walk you through them all now.
The drop down menu next to where it says “Source” is where you’ll be able to choose the source of the scan if your printer/scanner has multiple different ways of scanning.
My printer only has a flatbed scanner, so for me, this option is just set to flatbed and I won’t be able to change it. But if your printer/scanner has a flatbed and an auto document feeder or something else like that, you could choose which one you want to use in the drop down menu here.
The next option down is the destination you want the scanned file to be saved to, I usually just leave it set to “My files” which means it will be saved in the “My files” folder. But if you want to save the scan somewhere else on your Chromebook, you can do that by clicking on the drop down menu…
And then, in the menu that appears, click on “Select folder in Files app”, and choose the location you want to save the scan to.
The next option you might want to change is the file type. By default, this will be set to “PDF”, and if you’re scanning a document, that will probably be the best option.
But, if you’re scanning an image or something else like that, you might want to change the file type by clicking on the drop down menu next to where it says “File type”…
And then, in the menu that appears, selecting either “JPG” or “PNG”.
Now, those are the main settings, but if you click on the drop down arrow next to “More settings”, there are actually a few more options that you might want to tweak.
The top option under “More settings” is Color, I can’t really see why anyone would ever want to change this setting, because it is set to Color by default, and the only other option is “Greyscale”. But if you want to scan something in Greyscale, you can change that setting here.
But the second setting under “More settings” is “Page size”, and this one is slightly more important.
The options you get here might be different depending on your scanner, but for me, it is currently set to “Letter”, and I am scanning an A4 document, so I’m going to click on the drop down menu next to “Page size”…
And, in the menu that appears, select “A4”.
If you’re not sure what size page you’re scanning, you could just select “Fit to scan area” (I assume this option would be available for every scanner).
And the last setting is the scan resolution, this one isn’t so important and I usually just leave it set to default, but if you want the best scan quality possible, you might want to set this setting to the highest level possible (eg: 600 dpi instead of 300 dpi).
Now, after going through all those settings, you’re finally ready to scan! So go ahead and put your document (or whatever you want to scan) in the scanner and click the “Scan” button when you’re ready.
Now, your scanner will begin scanning the document, and your Chromebook will say “Scanning page 1” with a progress bar to show you the scan progress.
Then, once it’s finished, it will say “Your file has been successfully scanned and saved to My files”, and you’ll see a preview of your scan!
And, if you click “Show in folder”, it will open up the files app, and take you to the location where your scanned file is saved!
And that’s it! Now you have your scanned file saved to your Chromebook!
How To More Easily Access The Scan App In The Future
So I think you can probably agree, it’s pretty easy to scan things on a Chromebook once you know what you’re doing, but one part that’s not so seamless is having to search for the scan app in order to open it.
It’s not that difficult, and maybe if you often search for the app you want to open this won’t seem difficult at all.
But if you want an easier way to open the scan app in the future, you can actually pin the app to the bottom bar on your Chromebook so that you can open it with one click!
To do that, while the scan app is still open, simply right click on the scan app icon on the bottom bar (two finger click on a trackpad).
And then, in the menu that appears, simply click “Pin”.
Now, if you close the scan app and go back to your desktop, the app will still always be there on the bottom bar, and you’ll be able to open it and start scanning with just one click.
And that’s all there is to it! Now you know everything there is to know about scanning on a Chromebook. Hopefully you found this tutorial helpful, and if you want to see more helpful Chromebook tutorials like this, you’ll find loads more here.