Is there a way to upload PDF or other file receipts in mobile app?

steves Expensify Customer Posts: 3 Expensify Newcomer

I don't see any way to upload receipts other than to photograph them at the time of expense creation in the mobile app. Often I receive a PDF or take a screen shot of an e-receipt, and the app seems to offer no way to submit them. I don't want to have to always use a computer to do this. Am I missing something?

If I'm not missing something, it would be helpful if there were an option to upload receipts from dropbox/icloud drive/google drive/photo album/etc.


  • Sheena Trepanier
    Sheena Trepanier Expensify Team, Approved! Accountant, Expensify Student Ambassador Posts: 1,362 Expensify Team
    edited April 2019

    Hi @steves, if you have a PDF or non-supported file type we recommend using email forwarding to get them into your account. You should be able to forward them from your phone to, and it's best if you attach individual receipt images (PDFs) rather than a single file of multiple images.

  • steves
    steves Expensify Customer Posts: 3 Expensify Newcomer

    Submitting receipts by email is glacially slow. It seems to take one or two hours, which is unacceptably slow. It might be a useful feature if it were to take a minute or so, which is not an unreasonable expectation.

    Also, I often receive receipts to email addresses other than my work address. Forwarding receipts from other email addresses won’t work, understandably, but does limit the usefulness of email submissions.

    It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask to allow submitting receipts from from your photo album or from files saved to a cloud service like google drive, iCloud or Dropbox. Or copy and paste. Every other app in existence allows this. As an iOS developer I know how easy this is to implement, so why can’t you please allow this in your mobile app?


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Expensify Team
    edited April 2019

    Hello @steves,

    If you'd like to forward receipts from multiple email addresses you own, you can add those addresses as Secondary Logins. You are not billed additionally for adding a secondary login.

    To add another email address to your account as a Secondary Login, head to Settings > Your Account > Account > Secondary Login.

    In terms of submitting receipts from your photo album, can you tell me why uploading receipts from your phone by tapping the green camera icon and select the gallery icon on the left-hand side doesn't work for you? You can do this from the mobile app, or simply drag and drop receipt images when logged into the website version of Expensify.

    Regarding the length of time that it takes for a forwarded email takes to upload, I often use Expensify and forwarded expenses are populated into my account within minutes, and this is the case for the majority of our users as well!

    If you're regularly experiencing lengthly waiting times, this could also be due to the email client that you're using - but feel free to write into so that we can investigate further.

    Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  • dssabo
    dssabo Expensify Customer Posts: 1 Expensify Newcomer

    "can you tell me why uploading receipts from your phone by tapping the green camera icon and select the gallery icon on the left-hand side doesn't work for you? "

    I can answer this. The mobile app doesn't seem to consider PDF files to be selectable when choosing from a gallery as suggested. PDF files are listed, but can't be selected. Image files are selectable.

    The inability to select PDFs in this way makes expensify much less useful to me.

  • steves
    steves Expensify Customer Posts: 3 Expensify Newcomer
    edited April 2019

    @SophieExpensify Clicking on the gallery icon did not function when I tried previously - the app did not response. It worked just now when I tried. I can chalk that up to an app quirk, as long as it works in the future. But not being able to upload PDFs or other text documents is a real weakness in the app. Having to send PDFs in an email is roundabout and frankly a bit podunk.

    But thank you for your response.

  • Sophie_Pinto
    Sophie_Pinto Expensify Customer, Expensify Team, Expensify Student Ambassador Posts: 133 Expensify Team

    @steves and @dssabo, thank you for clarifying! Would you like for this post to be turned into an Idea so that you can start collecting votes? Ideas that gain some serious traction can end up on our product roadmap! Check out some other ideas that other customers have suggested that have ended up becoming a reality 😄

  • Rachael Hopkins
    Rachael Hopkins Expensify Success Coach - Admin, Expensify Team, Expensify Student Ambassador Posts: 904 Expensify Team

    Actually, very late update, but more for people who are searching - we have this Idea for iPhone which can be voted on!

  • ec_o
    ec_o Expensify Customer Posts: 1

    Almost 2 years since the first message about this missing feature, and it is disappointing that nothing has been done to solve it. I am an Android user. Having to forward your invoices in PDF format via email to your business email, to then download the PDF files locally on a Mac/PC, to then be able to use the Expensify Web version to upload invoices in PDF format, or to send them to can be summarized as providing a terrible user experience. The limitation of the App in that regard is unacceptable.

  • Cheryl Walsh
    Cheryl Walsh Expensify Success Coach - Admin, Expensify Team, Expensify Student Ambassador Posts: 104 Expensify Team

    @ec_o thanks for reaching out to us about this. For the vast majority of our users, forwarding a receipt to is not a terrible user experience, but is a super-easy way to automatically create an expense- No attachments, saving, and/or downloading necessary. So can you elaborate on what exactly is unacceptable about this feature? We would love to hear more.

  • sdonald
    sdonald Expensify Customer Posts: 1 Expensify Newcomer

    This is super simple to do.

    1. Email your PDF file as an attachment to from one of your verified email/login accounts
    2. wait a few minutes and it will appear in your expenses list in the app.

    That's it. I just did this myself with four PDF receipts today and each PDF took a couple of minutes to appear with completed OCR scanning in the app. If it's taking any longer than a couple of minutes for you, perhaps you will need to reduce the file size of your receipt images or PDF file.

    Alternatively, just create a screenshot of the PDF and upload it as a normal receipt image.

  • iamdudley
    iamdudley Expensify Customer Posts: 1

    I am just amazed that your app cannot support this. Thoroughly sloppy.

  • j3ff_m
    j3ff_m Expensify Customer Posts: 1

    I understand that you think emailing your PDF to is "super simple", but you know what would be even more super simple? Being able to upload a PDF as a receipt the same way you'd upload a jpg. I just spent half an hour trying to figure out what I was doing wrong before coming here, because I thought there was no way Expensify would hard filter out anything outside of jpg. PDF is the standard receipt format. Is this still not being considered?

  • JackAfrica
    JackAfrica Expensify Customer Posts: 1

    Ive used others such as concur - support for pdf uploads.

    Personally i have a lot pdf receipts to: To the expensify product teams - EMAILING IS NOT A SOLUTION. ITS A HACK WORKAROUND.

  • Jeremy Boniface
    Jeremy Boniface Expensify Team Posts: 202 Expensify Team

    @JackAfrica I read this thread, but I'm struggling a bit to understand how it's a hack workaround. What do you mean by that? As long as your address is associated with your Expensify account as a primary or secondary login, it is probably the same number of inputs by the user, just in your mail client instead of Expensify. Ultimately, most users do not have PDF files on their phones like this, and PDFs can be uploaded as receipts normally on web, by simply dragging and dropping.

  • tmba
    tmba Expensify Customer Posts: 1 Expensify Newcomer

    @Jeremy Boniface let me try.

    Hotel, airfare, car rental - all of these expenses, and many more mind you, come in via email. "Simple" you say - "just forward those to". But those receipts come into my personal email account, not my work one. "Simple" you say - "just add your personal account as a secondary account". But my personal email has a separate expensify account associated that I don't want to merge. Maybe you have another "simple" to add, maybe forward from my personal email to work email first, but all of this is way more effort than just downloading from the email and uploading the PDFs in the app in the first place.

    To "answer your question with a question" so to speak - I'm struggling to understand how *requiring* 2 different work flows depending on file type is not a hack workaround, and also how there seems to be so much resistance to just adding PDF file type support to the (image) file upload functionality that you already have implemented in the app.

  • ebdean
    ebdean Expensify Customer Posts: 1

    Hello, I want to join with others in this thread and let Expensify know that emailing PDFs is not a great solution. I work on expenses once a month - adding receipts to various expenses. It would be really convenient if I could simply tap on the PDF in Google Drive (where I store them) and have it attach to the expense like I can do with photos. Having to send multiple emails and wait for them to populate is really tedious in practice.

    Frankly, I'm shocked at the argumentative and obtuse responses I've seen in this thread from some Expensify employees to paying customers. This will be a consideration we discuss on my board when deciding on which software solution to use going forward.

    Please consider allowing your Android app to see PDFs and allow us to select them for upload as a receipt. Also, please consider putting some kind of helpful instructions about PDFs in the app so your users don't have to come to your forum to figure out why the app doesn't function like every other app out there.


    Brandon Dean

  • Stettema
    Stettema Expensify Customer Posts: 1

    Found this thread because I experienced this confusion. Joined to post because I don't think I've ever seen a product team defend "exit the app and do something different" as the intended UX for what (to the user) seems like the exact same mechanic.

    Is there legitimately confusion as to why a user would expect the existing file upload mechanic to handle a pdf, or why "use different flows for different file types" doesn't feel like the request is being heard? What is "super simple" would be explaining that while the two things seem the same they're actually different processes, and that while it's not currently on the road map it has been brought up as a feature enhancement etc etc.

    3 years into a request, seeing a response of "What do you mean 'don't use the app' is a workaround?" is honestly kind of offensive.

    We've been using expensify for a while, and I've never thought about the product outside of when I'm directly engaging with it. I now have a frustrating experience that will be forefront if your product is ever brought up, and a negative outlook on how you engage with your community.