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Use Google Drive on Android to save receipts

The latest update to Google Drive lets you create a searchable digital archive of your collected mounds of receipts.


Do you keep the receipts for everything you buy? Like me, you've probably noticed that the ones printed on thermal paper can begin to disappear over time. Soon, you're left with only a blank piece of paper that can't act as a proof of purchase or help you at tax time.

Wednesday's update to Google Drive on Android lets you easily store all of your receipts and even search through them. Doesn't a nice digital archive sound better than piles, folders, or boxes of receipts all over your home? Here's how to get started:

Note: This new version of Drive seems to be having issues on several devices, particularly the Galaxy S III. Although I didn't reach out to Google for comment, the amount of comments on its Google Play app entry and Google+ have likely alerted the developers to the situation.

Step 1: Make sure you have the most recent version of the Google Drive app on your Android device. Open the Play Store and tap on Google Drive, just in case you haven't been notified about an update.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 2: I recommend creating a new folder for your receipts, keeping with the theme of getting more organized. Tap the upper right plus sign and then choose Folder. Name the folder and press OK.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 3: Tap the plus sign again (on some older devices, you may need to press the actual Menu button) and choose Scan from the pop-up menu.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 4: Align the image of the receipt in your viewfinder -- landscape works best. If you need more light to see the receipt, tap the lightning bolt icon to turn on the camera light (providing you have one).

Step 5: If the entire receipt didn't fit, press the plus sign to add another page to your current PDF. If not, press the check mark and start another receipt. (Thanks to gwhiz2K for the clarification.)

All of your "scanned" receipts will appear as PDFs within your Google Drive account. Also, most of your receipts are searchable with optical character recognition (OCR).

With Google streamlining the process to add a series of receipts, it may soon outshine apps that are designed specifically for that purpose. What do you think? Will you use the new Scan feature? I've already gathered my pile of receipts to add to the cloud for safekeeping.