The Documents feature in Zoho Books will help you streamline and store all your documents in one place. You can upload any document like receipts and attach them to transactions like expenses or bills. On enabling auto-scan, all the uploaded documents will be auto-scanned and new transactions can be created instantly. These documents can also be sorted into folders of your preference for future use.

Highlights of Documents feature:

Here’s a short video that explains the document feature in-depth.

In the next few sections, we’ll be talking about :

Enabling the documents module

To enable the Documents module:

Go to documents

As you enter the Documents module for the very first time, you will be asked to enable the Auto-scan option.

Enable Auto-Scan

Note: Auto-Scan is a process in which every document that has been emailed or uploaded, goes through automatic data capturing process. This functionality is currently optimized only for documents that are in English language.

Once you enable auto-scan feature in Zoho Books, you’ll soon be taken to the Documents Inbox in Zoho Books.

Documents Inbox and Auto-Scan

The Documents Inbox is the primary folder within the Documents module. It holds all documents which have been uploaded or emailed by your contacts. Once the documents are uploaded, they will be auto-scanned and data like date, amount, merchant name, etc from these documents will get captured and auto-populated while creating new transactions.

As the documents get auto-scanned, you will be able to observe the following status of the documents:

Auto scan statuses

Once the documents are scanned they will be listed in the Inbox based on their time of arrival. The documents in the Inbox are yet to be attached to a transaction and hence act as a reminder of the pending activities which need attention from your end.

Clearing the inbox

When a document is added to a new transaction or matched with an existing transaction in Zoho Books (expense or bills) or moved into a folder – the document will then be automatically cleared from the Inbox.

Once the document is cleared from your inbox, you will not be able to retrieve it. If you wish to store a copy of the document for future purpose, you can move the file from the Inbox to another folder. You can still associate the document from the folder to a specific transaction.

Move File from Inbox to a Folder

Auto-scan Pricing

Auto-scan feature is available by default to users across all plans. A maximum of 5 scans is available in the feature.

Purchasing add-ons :

Once the maximum number of scans mentioned above are used up, you will have to purchase an Addon.

Addon Pricing :

No. of scans per month Monthly Price Yearly Price
50 USD 5 USD 50
50 GBP 4 GBP 40
50 CAD 5 CAD 50
50 AUD 5 AUD 50
50 Rs. 2990
50 RAND 50 RAND 500


Uploading a file to the Inbox

You can upload file into your Zoho Books Documents by any of the options listed below :

To upload files, you need to click the ‘Upload Files’ button. Here you will be able to choose any file from your computer or upload them from any of your online applications.

Upload File

Pro Tip: Use the Zoho Books Android and iOS apps to click photos of receipts and upload them directly.

Email files to the Inbox

Zoho Books Documents module generates a unique email address for your organisation so your customers, vendors and accountants can email documents directly to your Documents Inbox. You can also directly forward the receipts or bills you receive from your vendors to this email address.

To generate a unique email address:

Email to the ID

You can either choose to use the readily available system generated email address or get a customized email address, by clicking on “Choose your own”.

Unique Email ID

Once you’ve configured the unique email address for your organization, you or your contacts can email files to the address and it will land into your Inbox.

Set up Email

Folder level permission

You can grant access to a trusted individual, for example - an accountant, bookkeeper or business partner — by inviting that person to be a User of your organisation, who can access the Documents Module.

To add a New User to your organisation and define Roles, refer to the document on Users & Roles

Permissions in the Documents module

 Folder Access

View Documents: This is if you want a user to be able to view all the files in the Documents module. They will have access to the entire module.

Upload Documents: Enable this if you want your User to be able to Upload and View files, without the ability to Delete any document.

Delete Documents: Allows your User to be able to Delete and View files in the Documents module.

Manage Folder: This permission allows the user to create and manage a new/existing folder(s).


You can organize and manage your documents into different folders within the Documents module. You can :

Creating a Folder

Only the Admin and the users with the “ Manage Folder “ permission, can create New Folder(s).

To create a new Folder, click on the + icon next to FOLDERS on the left sidebar.

Create a new folder

In the pop-up window that appears, enter Folder name and click Save.

Name new folder

Setting Folder-Level permissions for access by users :

The user who is creating a Folder, can set permissions for other users, to whom he wishes to give access to the folder.

Folder access permissions can be set at the time of creating a new folder or for an existing folder :

To set permission for while creating a new folder :

Note: The Admin will be able to access all the Folders.

Name new folder

Moving a file from Inbox to a Folder

As mentioned earlier, once you’ve attached a file to a transaction from the inbox, the Documents module removes the file permanently. If you want to save your files in the module, or use them in multiple new transactions in future, you can simply move them out of the Inbox and into a folder.

To move files from the Inbox to a folder :

You can use the same process to move the files from one folder to the other.

Attaching documents to transactions

The uploaded files can be attached to various transactions made in your Zoho Books account.

There are two ways in which you can attach a file to a transaction :

A. Attach a file from the Documents module :

  1. Select the files you want to attach to a transaction, from Inbox or FOLDERS

  2. Click on the Add to drop down which appears on the top of the screen or the right of the document list.

  3. Select the type of transaction to which you wish to attach the file, from the dropdown.

Note: For Bills and Expenses, you can view the image and the transaction side by side and create the transaction.

  1. You can fill-in the remaining data and create the transaction.

B. Attach a file from a transaction :

B.1. In an Existing Transaction like Estimate, Sales Order, Invoice, Expense or Bill etc. :

B.2. In a New Transaction :

Attaching a file to a contact

Attaching files to a contact enables your client to have a record of all the files received from you. Only clients with a client portal access can view these attachments.

To attach a file to a Contact :

Attaching Files to a contact

Viewing Documents from client portal

Your customers with client portal access, can view the attached files, from their portal as well.

While attaching a file to a transaction, you will have to enable the option Display attachment(s) in client portal and emails

This option can be enabled when:

  1. You wan to attach a file to an already created/existing transaction.
  1. When you are attaching a file while creating a transaction.

You can also attach documents directly to your contacts. These documents may include Contracts, Asset & Liability reports, Product Catalogues etc. They can view these attached documents from their respective Client Portal(s).

To attach a document to a contact :

Where can the customer view the documents in the Client Portal?

In the client portal, the homescreen will display these attached files under Shared Documents.

view in client portal

To know more on setting up a client portal, please click here.

Matching documents to transactions

While creating a new transactions like expense, bills the documents module will suggest the best matches based on certain match rules like Vendor Name, Date and Amount. You can review the suggested matches and attach the documents to the transactions as they’re created.

Let’s follow certain examples where the “ Matching suggestions ” come in handy, for a user.

Suggested matches in the Documents tab :

As soon as the uploaded documents go through auto-scan, they are listed in the Inbox with their scan status. Once you select a document from there, a list of possible matches are suggested. These suggested matches are the transactions that are already entered into the system.

Merge matched document

You can simply click on Merge to attach the document to the existing transaction.

While creating a New Invoice, Expense or a New Bank Transaction :

Whenever you create a new transaction in Zoho Books, as you begin entering your transaction values like Date, Merchant Name, Amount etc., a list of suggested matching documents will appear.

If one of the suggested results is the document you need, simply select the checkbox next to it, to attach it directly.

Associate templates

When you create a new Banking Transaction, say an expense or a bill, based on the information on your receipt, matches are suggested. Also a best match case is given, where the data is most precisely matched. You can review and select one of the suggestions and submit your transaction.

With this, you will save additional time on performance of reconciliations.

Associate templates

Matching Bank Statements - An Uncategorised transaction and a document :

Certain transactions in the banking module are uncategorised and they need to be matched with the appropriate receipts. To categorise this, you will browse through the suggested documents, select it and just add an account category.

Associate templates

The Documents auto-scan, will fill in the rest of the details including amount, date, vendor name extracted from the receipt and the transaction is matched. Also, the document gets attached to that entry.

Searching the Documents Module


The Documents module provides a search option. You can use the search bar present on the top center of your Zoho Books screen to search for a particular document. The documents module will be searched from the current context.

For instance, if your are in All files tab, the files from the All Files tab will be searched. Similary for the Inbox, Folders and Trash.

The search works in the following way :

General search for documents

Advanced Search

You can perform an Advanced Search, if you know certain specific information about the document you are looking for.

In this, you will have the option to enter specific details to search for the documents like a particular Vendor name, receipt amount range etc. This will fetch the best matching results from the Documents Inbox.

Advanced Search for Inbox

Please Note : Currently, Advance search will have only File name field for other views.

Streamline all your documents in one place and experience better document management.

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