Receipt scanning software is special software that allows you to take paper receipts and digitize them.

What this means is that you render the paper receipts into quality digital images and/or turn the physical text printed on them into highly organized, categorized and searchable digital text that you can easily access, work with and share from just about anywhere, anytime.

If you want to scan receipts, software like this will be of great assistance. So we want to help you understand how receipt scanner software works so that you can decide what you think is the best scanning software for your purposes.

There are several aspects involved in the process of taking advantage of receipt scanning software. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Physically Scanning Your Receipts

The first step in using receipt scanning sofware is to transform your paper receipts into digital images. There are several options for how you can do this:

(Note: Links to Neat and other products on this page will let you see information about them on Amazon)

Desktop Scanners

Some receipt scanning software will allow you to use whichever desktop scanner you happen to have to input your receipts. Other systems, like the Neat system, can include their very own scanner which is designed specifically to work seamlessly with their own software in an integrated solution.

Neat’s desktop scanner is especially nice because it uses Automatic Document Feeder technology with a special input tray to allow you to do batch scanning of many documents at once. It even allows you to do two-sided scanning in one pass.

Mobile Scanners

Neat offers an extremely lightweight, portable scanner. It requires only a USB cable both to send and transmit data and to receieve power so you don’t even have to carry batteries for it, making it even more convenient to bring on the road. You can use it to scan receipts just about anywhere. So, for example, it is very helpful for inputting receipts of your travel expenses as you obtain them, rather than having to wait until you return to your home or office, by which time you may have forgotten to do so or lost some of the receipts.

Neat also sells accessories like protective cases to keep your mobile scanner safe on the go.

There are also plenty of other small portable scanners on the market. So you can decide which you think is the best receipt scanner for your purposes.

Mobile Devices

Some receipt scanning software providers offer applications that enable you to initially digitize your receipts using a mobile device’s camera.

Outsourced Option

Say goodbye to paper clutter!

Shoeboxed is a service that offers the ability to simply mail them your receipts and have their staff scan them into their system for you. To facilitate the mailing, they will provide you with special envelopes that are prepaid and which they track. When they are done inputting your data, you can have them either return your physical receipts to you or shred them.


Using any combination of these options, you can quickly digitize even a large pile of old receipts and keep up with inputting any new receipts as you get them. From the point when you begin employing them, you will always have crystal clear images of your receipts that will last until long after the paper versions would have become unreadable.

Uploading Your Scanned Receipts into a Receipt Tracking System

Different receipts scanning software allows you to securely upload scans of your receipts in various ways:

  • Neat comes with digital filing software that you put on your computer and, when you use it, the images that you scan are directly entered into the system.
  • OfficeDrop receipt scanning software will take the images from your scanner and upload them directly to a cloud-based OfficeDrop account that you set up.
  • Shoeboxed takes the scans that they have done for you and puts them in your online account. Shoeboxed also offers a web-based uploader so that, if you prefer, you can scan images of your receipts yourself and then transmit them so their staff can carry out the next steps for you.

Both OfficeDrop and Shoeboxed also provide you with a dedicated email address where you can send your scanned images for uploading into their systems.

Furthermore, both OfficeDrop and Shoeboxed offer encryption and other security features to protect your sensitive data during the uploading process.

Organization and Storage of Your Scanned Receipt Images and Their Data

Once your images are uploaded, different receipt scanning software will handle and/or transform your scanned images in different ways in order to store them in what is sometimes called a “digital filing cabinet” in which it will be very easy for you to find whatever information you need in the future.

  • OfficeDrop, for instance, will immediately turn your image into a PDF file and store it on its cloud servers.
  • Shoeboxed will store an image of the receipt along with the text form of its data, which has been extracted from the printed version, in your online tracking account.

Both of these services boast of the security of their data storage systems.

  • Neat’s digital filing software will take your uploaded digitized receipt and do two things:
    • Store an image of the receipt in the digital filing system
    • Use its patented parsing technology to determine which text on the receipt represents the vendor, the date, the price and so on and automatically place each piece of information in the proper field in the system. This makes it simple to sort by any of these fields when you work with your information in the future.

All of these receipt scanning software options use what is called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to turn the text in the scanned images of the receipts into actual digital text that you can work with as you wish.

All of them let you categorize receipts and use various types of tags and labels to make it easier to find particular documents later.

And all of them give you the peace of mind of knowing that your receipts are not lying around haphazardly where others might find them and view sensitive information and that your important financial data and documents need not be lost, even in the event of a disaster.

Working with Your Digital Financial Data

Once your data is organized and stored in a digital filing system, you can do just about anything you wish with it. You can:

  • Access it from anywhere, anytime on multiple types of devices – Some of these companies offer apps specifically to allow you to optimally work with your data on particular devices
  • Modify or add notes to any document
  • Assign tax-related information to receipts – This will make tax time far easier and help ensure you get your maximum deductions and that you will instantly be able to produce any receipt necessary if the IRS comes calling for it
  • Use a search function to find any image, document or information you want very easily – Neat, for instance, offers both simple and advanced search capabilities designed precisely for use with with these types of files. You’ll always be able to find the recipt you need quickly whenever you have to look up some information or make a return
  • Safely and conveniently share specific images, documents or information with others as you wish
  • Export your data for use in many programs and formats, such as Excel, PDF, Evernote, Google Docs, Dropbox, Gmail, Quicken, Quickbooks, Salesforce and Turbo Tax (depending upon which of these is compatible with the particular receipt scanning software you are using.)
  • Create expense or other related reports – Some of the software, like Neat’s, will directly facilitate these operations

Beyond Receipts

Many of these receipt scanning software systems will carry out similar functions with business cards and even with all kinds of other documents.

Receipt Scanning Software: A Range of Uses, Diverse Options and Enormous Benefits

Whether you wish to use it to digitize and work with financial information for yourself or your family or for your organization or business, there is a receipt scanning software solution that will work well for you.

There are also solutions available for use with different operating systems, including ones that work very nicely with Windows and Mac, as well as with myriad mobile devices.

And each company offers a variety of products and plans, so there is sure to be one that can meet your needs, whatever they are.

As you can probably see and imagine, using receipt scanning software brings many benefits. It will save you time, energy and so much money that it will likely pay for itself many times over.


  1. The title of your article was “how does receipt scanning software work?”. I expected to find out in detail how the software does OCR on a jpg file or pdf file and is able to discretely separate the items read into separate useable fields. Could you explain further in detail?


    - Oh


  2. Hi oh,

    That’s a great question but I don’t actually know the technical details on that level. I would suggest you get in touch with the folks at one of the companies listed in the article that actually create these products and services. Hopefully they could give you more specificity about how the exact process works. And it may work slightly differently with different products and services, as well.

    If you find out more information, feel free to come back and share it here in the comments so we can all learn from it.


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