Incoming documents

External business documents can come into your company as an email attachment or a paper copy that you scan to file. This scenario is typical of purchases, where such incoming document files represent payment receipts for expenses or small purchases.

On the Incoming Documents page, you can use different functions to review expense receipts, manage OCR tasks, and convert incoming document files, manually or automatically, to the relevant documents or journal lines. The external files can be attached at any process stage, including to posted documents and to the resulting vendor, customer, and general ledger entries.

Usage scenario

You can register files or paper copies received from your trading partners in Business Central and create a document record. For example, a purchase or sales invoice, credit memo or a journal line.

Upload the received files—or use the device's camera to take a photo—and create entries to represent the external documents. Optionally, with PDF or image files, you can have an external optical character recognition (OCR) service generate electronic documents that can then be converted to records inside Business Central.


The OCR feature is provided by external providers. Choose a service package that is appropriate for your organization and/or country/region. Find services compatible with Business Central and details on available features at

For example, when you receive an invoice in PDF format from your vendor, you can send it to the OCR service from the Incoming Documents page. Alternatively, some OCR providers offer the option of processing files forwarded to a dedicated email address, which then automatically creates a related incoming document record. After some seconds, you receive the file back from the OCR service as an electronic invoice that can be converted to a purchase invoice for the vendor.


Create incoming document records in Business Central directly from emails sent by vendors using the Outlook add-in. For more information, see Use Business Central as your Business Inbox in Outlook.

Incoming document features

The incoming document process can consist of the following main activities:

  • Record the external documents in Business Central by creating lines on the Incoming Documents page in the following ways:
    • Manually, either from a PC or from a mobile device, in one of the following ways:
      • Use the Create from File button, upload a file, and then fill the relevant fields on the Incoming Document page.
      • Use the New button, fill the relevant fields on the Incoming Document page and manually attach the related file.
      • From a tablet or phone, use the Create from Camera button to create a new incoming document record using the device's built-in camera.
    • Automatically, by receiving the document from the OCR service as an electronic document after you've uploaded or emailed the related PDF or image file to an OCR service. The Financial Information FastTab is automatically filled on the Incoming Document page.
  • Use an external OCR service to have PDF or image files turned into electronic documents that can be converted to document records in Business Central.
  • Create new documents or general journal lines for incoming document records by entering the information as you read it from incoming document files.
  • Attach incoming document files to purchase and sales documents of any status, including to the vendor, customer, and general ledger entries that result from posting.
  • View incoming document records and their attachments from any purchase and sales document or entry, or find all general ledger entries without incoming document records from the Chart of Accounts page.


Files attached to cards and documents on the Attachments tab aren't included on the Incoming Documents page. For more information, see Manage Attachments, Links, and Notes on Cards and Documents.

To See
Set up the Incoming Documents feature and set up the OCR service. Set Up Incoming Documents
Create incoming document records manually or automatically by taking a photo of a paper receipt, for example. Create Incoming Document Records
Use an OCR service to turn PDF and image files into electronic documents that can be converted to purchase invoices in Business Central, for example. Train the OCR service to avoid errors next time it processes similar data. Use OCR to Turn PDF and Image Files into Electronic Documents
Connect or remove incoming document records for any non-posted sales or purchase document and to any customer, vendor, or general ledger entry from the document or entry. Create Incoming Document Records Directly from Documents and Entries
From the Chart of Accounts and General Ledger Entries pages, use a search function to find general ledger entries for posted documents that don't have incoming document records and then centrally link to existing records or create new ones with attached document files. Find Posted Documents without Incoming Document Records
Get a better overview by setting incoming document records to Processed and remove them from the default view. Manage Many Incoming Document Records

See also

Editing Posted Documents
Exchanging Data Electronically
Business Central and OneDrive for Business Integration
Use Business Central as your Business Inbox in Outlook
Send Documents and Emails
Work with Business Central

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