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:
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.
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.