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What's the best way to use a scanner for a paperless life?

FAQs

What is optical resolution on a scanner?

Optical resolution is the physical resolution at which a scanner captures an image. It’s measured in dots per inch, or dpi.

Are standalone scanners better than all-in-one printers?

All-in-one printers help save space and perform multiple tasks well; however, dedicated scanners will always have the advantage in performance.

Can I use my phone as a document scanner?

Many smartphones now have a built-in document scanner. This is a suitable option if you don’t have to scan items regularly. Otherwise, choose a standalone scanner for more efficiency and better quality.

Video

How to implement your paperless office strategy

If you’ve read through all of the benefits, tools, tips, and statistics, you’ve reached the point where you can clearly develop your paperless strategy. Like any business plan, start with your goals. There should be more than one. Reasonable goals for a paperless office include increased productivity, improved customer service, more efficient document management, and lower costs for office supplies.

Start with your list of goals and then prioritize them. If you want to first work on improving the workflow as it relates to productivity and customer service, you should concentrate on areas where paper documentation costs unnecessary time or on improvements in digital storage that will facilitate quicker access by employees.

If you haven’t already assessed your business to see exactly how your workflow looks in every function and department, you need to do that next. This way you can identify your current paper processes and see where they can be improved.

Paperless strategy

Your strategy will be individual to your goals, industry, and business model. It’s important that you take your own employees and the way they work into consideration because they have to commit to the process to make it successful.

Once you’ve assessed your business and set your goals, choose the types of changes you want to make. This might include moving to document management software. Or you might make smaller changes, such as moving to digital billing and adding recycling containers to your office.

Whatever changes you’re initiating, they need to be universal and followed by the entire company.

Just so you know

Go paperless at the office with Jotform and streamline the way you work with powerful online forms.

Paperless office policy

If you want the whole company to commit to going paperless, you need to mandate employees’ participation. You can start with a paperless policy. While you’re at it, you might want to make your company policy available digitally, rather than giving employees a hard copy.

Your paperless policy should include the overall purpose of the company going paperless and your commitment to going paperless. The policy doesn’t list actual processes, but it should explain what the company views as the important aspects of a paperless office space.

Paperless workflow

Your paperless workflow is an important aspect of planning for and launching new processes. If you’re a competitive company, it’s likely that you already have a great many paperless processes in place simply because the technology makes sense for your business. No matter where you are in your paperless journey, you already have a workflow. Creating a paperless workflow simply means following your current workflow but substituting paperless processes where you used paper in the past.

Documenting the current workflow can help you visualize more places where you can make changes. Your workflow is not set in stone. It should be a living document that can be edited as improvements are made. Employees can also benefit from a documented workflow to help understand their responsibilities and aid in training.

Paperless documents

More and more, paperless documents will become the norm for your business. Paperless documents offer a lot of convenience and are far easier to organize than paper.

There’s no need to print many of the documents you create. They can be emailed or uploaded to a digital platform.

There are many tools to help you preserve paper documents digitally. In cases where you need to digitize paper documents, some can be recycled immediately. Any document with sensitive or confidential information should be destroyed so that the information is no longer accessible.

You can also use pictures to create documentation when there is no scanner available. You can upload those image files to your content management system. There are many tools to help you create and manage your paperless documentation.

The Bad

  1. Lack of portability. While it’s certainly easy to pickup this scanner and move it to a different location, it was not designed with portability in mind. This is a desktop home-based scanner and makes no attempt to be a travel scanner like the tiny Doxie Go WiFi or the Scansnap S1300i. For most of you this is not an issue but for you road warriors, it’s a consideration.
  2. Software. Fujitsu is a magical hardware company but they are an uninspiring software company. They make bulletproof scanners that are the best in class but I think they need to re-evaluate their software development. It’s not that the software doesn’t work, it just lacks polish. The majority of the population won’t care about my qualms here but there is a segment of people that care about the design and usability of software. The little details matter. The bundled Scansnap Manager software comes with the necessary integrations; Evernote and Dropbox, but it lacks some of the extras that are standard with the excellent Doxie software. While perfectly functional, the Scansnap software always feels a few years behind the competition.

Office Lens

Those heavily invested in Microsoft Office and OneNote will want to give Office Lens (Free) a try. It works simply. Point the camera at a document or photo and it takes the picture. The user can tap on the save icon (at bottom of the left screen shot above) and it opens a screen asking where to save the image (right screen shot above). It will ask for a name and automatically selects OneNote and Gallery which saves the image to the phone’s image gallery. It also offers to save to OneDrive, Word, PowerPoint or a PDF file.

The user can crop the photo before saving. I seldom needed to do this because the app does a great job of cropping documents.

Tap the scanner icon (see the left screen shot above) before scanning to see a list of kinds of scans. It will scan documents, a whiteboard in a classroom or meeting room, a photo or a business card. Select the right one for the best results. If you select business card, the save screen only shows Gallery and OneNote as optional places to save it. It saves to OneNote in a Notebook called Contacts. To see this notebook on the phone tap it from the recent history in Office Lens and it opens in OneNote automatically.

You’ll need an Office 365 to get the most out of the app, but it will work with a free Microsoft account like Live, Outlook or Hotmail.

Bing Search

Tap on the camera icon to use the Bing barcode/QR code scanner.

While this doesn’t technically help anyone go paperless, the Bing Search (Free) app does do barcode and QR code scanning to make it easy to find deals or QR linked websites. Open the Bing app on an Android phone and press on the large search icon until the camera and mic icons show up to the left and right of the search icon (a magnifying glass). Tap the camera and the barcode/QR code scanner appears. Aim it at a barcode or QR code and hold the phone still. It will either load the website or search for the product online.

A final word on shopping for document scanner

Remember: No matter what kind of document scanner you buy, the software it is compatible with can make a world of difference. Automatic image enhancement and file organization in the cloud can reduce the organizational work associated with scanning. But if scanning is integral to your job it is absolutely worth something that is accurate and fast because nothing is as bad as waiting for multiple scans just to end up with blurry, unusable files.

Receipts

Again, this is a matter of personal preference. I like to hang onto receipts that I may need for returns or reimbursements. I scan them with my other documents but then I organize them by month in this four slot file organizer I bought at Office Depot for just a couple bucks. I scan papers monthly, put all the receipts in a slot and rotate out the oldest receipts so they can be shredded.

Technically, I could just print up receipts that I need to use for returns if they won’t take my digital copy, but that seems like a waste of paper to me, especially when the receipts are crazy long. Stores also sometimes require the original receipt. It’s so much easier for me to just hang onto them and put them in our paper inbox for a few months. Instead of shredding them right away, they just get shredded after at least 90 days (the common return period) has passed.

How to go paperless?

The first step when going paperless is to find all the paper you can find in your home and bring them to one place. Look for all the instruction manuals, all the receipts, invoices and even magazines. When you have everything together it is time to start sorting. Sort all paper by: throw away, scan or save. When doing things correctly the throw away pile should be the largest pile, the scan pile the middle pile and the save pile should be the smallest or non-existent.

When you’ve sorted all the paper, throw away all papers from the throw away pile. Make sure all papers with personal information are shredded propperly and recycle what remains.

Now it is time to scan all the documents from the scanning pile. If you want you can do this by categorie but personally I just scan whatever is on top of the pile. When the product is scanned, I put it on the throw away pile or in the shredder. Scanning can be a time consuming process, so make sure you have something to drink on hand, some music to listen to and no appointments during the day.

When all paper is scanned and all scanned paper is thrown away, you can put away the very few items you’ll save (birth certificate etc.) and start organizing your scans.

Benefits of Using Receipt Scanners

First and foremost, when you use receipt scanners, you save money and resources. It reduces the need for physical storage space, as well as ink and other subsidiary items that further increase the cost of keeping and storing records.

There is an added level of convenience that having a receipt scanner provides. Rather than having to track down file folders or have your employees carry around stacks of receipts, they can all be collected and stored digitally. The receipts are stored as digital files which can then be accessed remotely, providing added convenience for compliance or other types of reporting requirements. It allows you to look at all the year or month’s receipts with a few simple actions.

When you use a receipt scanner, you also improve the accuracy of your bookkeeping and ensure that you are able to receive as many tax credits or breaks as are possible. With the ability to simply scan a receipt and move on, it is incredibly convenient for employees to keep track of their expenditures, as well as for accountants to ensure that they get all the deductions possible on your personal or business taxes. With a receipt scanner, you don’t have to worry about losing a receipt or storing it in the wrong place. Information is stored digitally, which also reduces the risk of human error.

There’s a lot to be said for the professionalism of being able to provide documentation when it is requested. With digital receipts stored remotely with the use of a receipt scanner, you can easily access financial information quickly and easily. Having said information in a convenient digital format provides a more professional presentation as well. This allows you to more accurately keep track of expenses, while also making you as an individual or business owner to look more organized and in control.

The Scanner Tips and Advice

  • Your first experience with your new scanner will be during setup. The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 provides easy installation processes, walking you through the steps to connect it to your Wi-Fi network.
  • Once you’re online, you’ll also need to be able to connect to the devices in your home or office. The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS, covering the most popular devices. The Brother Compact Mobile Document Scanner, on the other hand, is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux and TWAIN/WIA for PC/ICA for Mac/SANE drivers.
  • You don’t have to save your documents to a device in order to scan, though. Some scanners will let you send items directly to the cloud.
  • One issue with the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 is that you can only connect wirelessly to one device at a time.
  • If you need to edit your documents after scanning them, you’ll probably want good software for that purpose. Some scanners come with basic editing software that lets you make basic tweaks.
  • If photos are your priority, stick with a model that has a scanning resolution of 4800 by 4800. You’ll get high-quality images from that. However, if you need to scan film or access 3D-scanning capabilities, you’ll need to choose from scanners that offer that functionality.
  • The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 is designed for scanning paper documents, such as letters and memos. It’s not as good for tackling a wide range of document types with ease.
  • Chances are you don’t have hours to waste on setting up and troubleshooting your scanner. The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 is easy to use with a minimal learning curve.
  • Nothing comes in as handy as a document feeder when you’re dealing with a stack of paperwork. The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 and Raven Touchscreen Duplex Feeder Scanner have document feeders that can hold up to 50 sheets of paper at a time.
  • You’ve probably experienced scanners that take a while to process each document. If you’re scanning multiple pages through a feeder, this can be especially important. The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 is rated at 25 pages per minute, which is faster than many competitors. You may also want to look for a scanner that features ReadyScan LED technology that cuts out that warm-up time that slows down your work.
  • The good news is, scanners are more affordable than ever. You can get a great scanner at a reasonable price.
  • It’s also important to consider size when you’re choosing a scanner. The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500 Document Scanner measures 11.50 by 6 by 6.30 inches, which means you’ll need to clear away significant space for it. The Doxie Go SE Portable Battery Scanner is only 12.25 by 2.25 by 1.75 inches, while other scanners measure 11.90 by 2.20 by 1.40 inches.

Keeping your home paperless

Even tough more and more instances choose to send their messages and invoices via email, mail is still something you’ll receive now and then. In order to keep your home paperless, it is important to tackle the incoming paper as soon as possible. When receiving an invoice by mail, I always try to pay it straight away, make a note of payment and scan it in. Now I have immediately tackled the task and my home is still paperless. However, some papers can’t be dealt with right away. For these papers it could be easy to have a small inbox on your desk. Make sure ALL the paper that comes into the home, will be parked in this inbox. Now make free some time every week to empty your inbox and you’re good to go.

In order to keep your administration in Evernote neatly organized, you could take some time every year to go through your maps and make sure all documents still need to be saved. Manuals from devices that have been long gone, can be thrown away and bank statements older then 7 years are also redundant.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Do You Scan 11×17?

You can scan an 11×17 inches document with just a few simple steps. At first, you will have to set up the scanner to the PC. Then start scanning and set the source to be “Flatbed” and the page size as “Entire Scan Area.” After that, place the 11×17 inches paper into the scanner and start the scanning process, and you will get the scanned file in a couple of seconds.

2. How Do I Scan A Photo Oversize With A Flatbed Scanner?

To scan an oversized photo with a flatbed scanner, you will have to scan the picture in a few parts with utmost attention and caution. You can print the picture in multiple sections starting from a particular corner, and then you can add all the parts using the software.

3. How Do I Scan An Oversized Document?

Scanning oversized documents with a regular A4 printer has become easier, thanks to various software that can stitch up different picture sections of a picture together. Now, to scan an oversized picture, you just have to scan the large document in smaller sections precisely. With a photo stitching app, you can add all the parts to make it a single document.

Conclusion

Regardless of which model you choose, there are so many benefits to receipt scanners that even salaried workers who do not own their own businesses can truly benefit from their use. These are affordable products that allow for improved accuracy, convenience, and even potential cost savings to all who use them. No longer do you have to keep a file or envelope full of grubby receipts in order to get tax and other fiscal relief via work-related expenses.

When you use a receipt scanner, you simply scan the paper receipt and a digital copy is rendered using the associated software. This provides a digital copy of the paper receipt, which reduces the need to store countless stacks of receipts for months on end in order to utilize the tax liability reductions on may qualify for.

Receipt scanners also make tax time and compliance reporting much simpler than if you keep paper receipts. When you go digital and paperless, you create digital copies of your files that can be stored and accessed remotely. What this means is that you have access to this important information, even when you aren’t at the office. It makes it fast and simple to see all your potential deductions, as well as to use said information in strategic or budgetary planning.

There are tons of different types of receipt scanners that fit a whole host of different needs and budgets. The models described here are but a taste of the quality, high value options on the market. Whichever you choose, these devices make it easier than ever before to keep and track spending for a variety of purposes. The added security of remote storage and the ability to back up your information provides peace of mind that the information you need is there when you need it. The convenience also makes it more likely that people will actually keep their receipts and take advantage of the varied deductions and other tax breaks that this documentation allows them to qualify for.

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