Essential Document Scanning Guidelines

Is going paperless on your to-do list? Keep in mind, document scanning involves more than pressing a button on a scanner. If you’re serious about going paperless, we suggest that you follow these guidelines:


Define the parameters of your scanning project from the get-go so you don’t lose sight of your goals. Decide what documents to scan and estimate how long it takes to digitize them. Choose a naming structure for your digital files and decide which of the following formats your documents will be converted to:

  • TIFF
  • GIF
  • JPG
  • PNG

Are you scanning documents for archival purposes, or will they be incorporated into your workflow? Consult with a professional scanning company for a document imaging and storage strategy and for any questions you have.

Find a Storage Location

Before scanning, determine where to store your digital images. If you decide to store them on a local device or server, make backup copies and store them offsite, ideally in a vault where they’re protected from unauthorized access with specialized technology that includes:

  • 24/7 security monitoring
  • Media-specific climate control systems
  • Fire detection and suppression systems

Gather the Right Resources

Desktop scanners are great for imaging one file at a time, but they won’t do the trick if you’re scanning a large volume of paper records. Similarly, multi-function copiers/printers may have document imaging capability, but using them for big scanning projects may disrupt other important workflow processes. High-speed scanners with integrated scanning software are ideal for handling a range of scanning projects, but also cost thousands of dollars. It’s hard to justify purchasing expensive scanners and software for a one-time scanning project. It’s almost always more cost-effective to partner with a professional scanning service provider that already has all the equipment, software, and experienced technicians to handle any size or type of scanning project. 

Prepare Your Documents

Whether your scanning project is big or small, it’s important to prepare your hard copies before they’re scanned. Every file marked for scanning should be sorted and organized, and staples, paperclips, and sticky notes removed from every page. Wrinkled and torn documents must be flattened and repaired. Remember, the preparation phase is time intensive, so it may be more efficient for a scanning technician to handle it for you.

Verify Quality

Review the quality of each image as it’s scanned. Any images that aren’t readable may need be resized, trimmed, or re-scanned. When you’re 100 percent sure every image is captured and converted accurately—and meets your standards—transfer your images to portable media, a local device, or a document management application.

If you follow these guidelines, your document scanning project is sure to be successful.

American Document Securities provides document scanning services for businesses in Atlanta and Northeast Georgia.

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My staff and I had the pleasure of participating in an ADS Consulting Shredding & Storage Workshop in April 2011.As a new business, it was critical for us to get off to a good start. The workshop provided us with useful information and practical applications that helped us do that. The ‘hands on’ training experience we received in a successful, working document destruction and storage business environment was invaluable.Renee and her staff were very personable and helpful and continue to be valuable business partners to this day.I highly recommend the ADS Workshop to both new and existing businesses

Rob Giannini, C.O.O.Commonwealth ...