Most households and businesses have 1 or more scanners. Scanning paper documents and converting them to an electronic format is certainly not new. However, there is a difference between scanning the occasional document and converting your entire storage room full of paper filing cabinets to a document management software (DMS) system. This article solves some of the challenges you may run into, including how to choose the right capacity for your document scanner.
How to Scan a Large Pile of Documents Efficiently
In order to move away from paperwork to electronic document storage, you can expect to spend a lot of time scanning your documents. The good news is this can be done very efficiently by utilizing a high-capacity scanner.
Choosing the Right Scanner for the Job
If you have to scan a lot of documents, then it’s important to use the correct tools. When you choose a scanner, you have to evaluate the following features:
- Scan speed
- Duty cycle
- Page size
- Automatic document feeder
- Scanning side (simplex or duplex)
- Maximum paper size
- Color mode
- Optical character recognition (OCR)
You may already realize that you need your scanner to accept different formats such as A4 and legal. But have you thought about the automatic document feeder (ADF) capacity?
Automatic Document Feeder Capacity
When you scan a document, you generally want it to turn into one file, whether that’s a PDF or another format. This is true whether the document consists of 1 or a whopping 159 pages. Instead of having to manually feed your scanner 1 page at a time, you want the scanner to automatically scan each of those pages.
The automatic document feeder (ADF) capacity lets you know how many pages the scanner can handle at once. If your documents are only 2 – 4 pages long, then a document feeder capacity of 50 is plenty. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with legal contracts that are over 100 pages long, then you’ll need a scanner that can handle at least 200.
Why is it so important to choose the right ADF capacity? It’s important because you don’t want to spend your time sitting next to the scanner and feeding it pages. If you have a lot of documents to scan, then this might take an eternity; it will certainly feel like that to you.
How to Scan Your Documents Faster
In order to decrease the time spent on scanning your documents, you’ll have to come up with a system. Scanning paperwork requires a lot of different steps. It involves pulling the files to be scanned, prepping the documents, scanning the documents, and saving the files in your document management software.
The best way to scan a lot of documents is probably to take an assembly-line approach to it. One person could get the files set up and ready, and another person could be in charge of scanning and saving the files electronically.
Here are a few things you can do to speed up the process:
- Use additional scanners (you may want to rent them).
- Choose a scanner that can process a high number of pages per minute (PPM).
- Use additional people to prep the documents for scanning (such as removing staples).
- Adjust the settings on your scanner.
Most scanners allow you to adjust the settings. There is always a tradeoff when it comes to scanning images fast. You may be able to increase the speed by lowering the dpi settings. Before you scan all of your files with the new setting, scan a test document to make sure the image quality is acceptable to you. When you’re dealing with extremely important paperwork, you may not want to sacrifice quality for speed. But as a general rule, scanning black and white pages will take less time than scanning pages in full color. You might even try grayscale scanning to see if that speeds up the process without lowering document quality.
How to Stay Paperless
Once you convert your paper office to an electronically managed one, it’s important to stay up-to-date with scanning. In general, your office should take steps to move over to paperless document management. For example, you may set up electronic HR paperwork and use electronic workflows for your operations and accounting processes.
Your office may still generate the occasional paper document. But just so you don’t end up with an entire storage unit full of filing cabinets again, you should designate some of your employees to keep up with the scanning. It doesn’t need to be done on a daily basis unless you need the information in electronic format, but you should probably not let paperwork pile up past the end of each month.
Do you have any questions about moving to electronic document management? Let eFileCabinet help you. You can start your free demo by filling out the information on this page.