Going Paperless, Any Suggestions?

C.clavin

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 23, 2012
50
7
Hey guys, I've got some free time upcoming and want to finally organize all my papers, bills, etc. I've been looking into the Fujitsu ScanSnap or Canon P-215 as my scanner, while using ABBYY FineReader as my software+OCR. My only concern is that I've heard Apple now requires 'ICA Drivers' on scanning hardware as it routes through Image Capture.app

Does anybody have any personal experiences attempting anything like this? I would love to hear your feedback. Thank you very much!
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,360
701
Hey guys, I've got some free time upcoming and want to finally organize all my papers, bills, etc. I've been looking into the Fujitsu ScanSnap or Canon P-215 as my scanner, while using ABBYY FineReader as my software+OCR. My only concern is that I've heard Apple now requires 'ICA Drivers' on scanning hardware as it routes through Image Capture.app
You don't have to use Apple software for scanning. I use my Epson scanner with an Epson scanning app. It works fine. Just pick the scanner that fits your requirements and budget. It will work with your Mac.

One other thought about going paperless (I've been paperless for many years): Consider the possibility that in many cases, you don't need a scanner; you need a shredder! In other words, many things aren't even worth scanning.
 

ugahairydawgs

macrumors 68030
Jun 10, 2010
2,666
1,279
I have a few of the Fujitsu ix500 models and they are great. I would highly recommend them and the software that is bundled works great.
 

hallux

macrumors 68030
Apr 25, 2012
2,774
485
You don't have to use Apple software for scanning. I use my Epson scanner with an Epson scanning app. It works fine. Just pick the scanner that fits your requirements and budget. It will work with your Mac.

One other thought about going paperless (I've been paperless for many years): Consider the possibility that in many cases, you don't need a scanner; you need a shredder! In other words, many things aren't even worth scanning.
SO true. I get EVERYTHING paperless except my rent statement and one credit card (I can get the CC statement electronically so it gets shredded anyway but the rewards program requires paper but that is changing this month due to changes in the rewards program).

The other thing the OP should consider is how they're going to secure all those digital files once they're digital. I have mine in a TrueCrypt container but have flirted with the idea of using an encrypted disk image instead.
 

fanchee

macrumors 6502a
Nov 23, 2009
540
20
I have a ScanSnap S1300i and it's been phenomenal. I usually scan all bills/important papers/etc directly to my Synology NAS. I can then reference them, when needed, from anywhere via my iPhone or iPad or computer.
 

C.clavin

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 23, 2012
50
7
Thanks for the tips guys, I think I'm going with the ScanSnap 1300i, found it for $250 on NewEgg. I'm going to use its own software. Does anyone know if it can send duplicates to cloud services so I can have a form of backup? Would ideally like to have it send to Dropbox and my Time Machine, but don't know how likely both are of working like that.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,180
8,829
California
Thanks for the tips guys, I think I'm going with the ScanSnap 1300i, found it for $250 on NewEgg. I'm going to use its own software. Does anyone know if it can send duplicates to cloud services so I can have a form of backup? Would ideally like to have it send to Dropbox and my Time Machine, but don't know how likely both are of working like that.
What I do is put everything I scan in a folder or folders in the Documents folder then symlink the Documents folder to Dropbox by running the command below in Terminal.

So anything you put in the Documents folder (or others folders below that) will get mirrored to Dropbox without you having to move them. Of course Time Machine picks all these up by default also.

Code:
ln -s ~/Documents ~/Dropbox/Documents
 

glenthompson

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2011
1,929
128
Florida
Thanks for the tips guys, I think I'm going with the ScanSnap 1300i, found it for $250 on NewEgg. I'm going to use its own software. Does anyone know if it can send duplicates to cloud services so I can have a form of backup? Would ideally like to have it send to Dropbox and my Time Machine, but don't know how likely both are of working like that.
Check out the McSparky book "Paperless" for good pointers and ways to think about your filing system.

I use CCC to sync my electronic file cabinet to Dropbox every night. Makes it easy to get to documents from my iPad when out of the house.

Think long and hard about your backup strategy. Think through various disaster scenarios and how you will handle them. Major theft, house burning down, natural disasters. Backups must be tested - if you haven't tried to restore a file you don't know if you can. I go for overkill with multiple TM destinations, multiple CCC drives, and multiple cloud storage and backup with Dropbox, OneDrive, and Crashplan.

When you get everything scanned check for local shredding events. We seem to have one about every 6 months. Better than burning up my light weight shredder.

Best way to get rid of paper is to never generate it it in the first place. Electronic receipts and statements I want save I print to PDF and file appropriately.
 

MacTCE

macrumors 6502
Dec 20, 2013
474
15
Upstate NY
I've looked at buying the McSparky "Paperless" book, but wonder what you folks would recommend, the PDF version or the iBook version?
I would definitely go with the iBooks version since he writes them natively with iBooks and includes a lot of interactive content. Also I would add a +1 for the Scansnap. I have the iX500 and use their bundled software and it's the best solution hands down from the dozens of paperless workflows I've tried.
 

rhett7660

macrumors G5
Jan 9, 2008
12,238
2,253
Sunny, Southern California
I've looked at buying the McSparky "Paperless" book, but wonder what you folks would recommend, the PDF version or the iBook version?
I would definitely go with the iBooks version since he writes them natively with iBooks and includes a lot of interactive content. Also I would add a +1 for the Scansnap. I have the iX500 and use their bundled software and it's the best solution hands down from the dozens of paperless workflows I've tried.
I would go PDF, for the simple fact, PDF is supported on both windows and mac platforms. This way if I need to ever use a windows machine, I know I will have support for it. I just like PDF though too.

I have been looking at the iX500 and I am thinking based on everything I have read it will be one of my next purchases.

----------

What I do is put everything I scan in a folder or folders in the Documents folder then symlink the Documents folder to Dropbox by running the command below in Terminal.

So anything you put in the Documents folder (or others folders below that) will get mirrored to Dropbox without you having to move them. Of course Time Machine picks all these up by default also.

Code:
ln -s ~/Documents ~/Dropbox/Documents
Do you worry about security when saving to dropbox? i.e. credit card statements etc?

----------

Check out the McSparky book "Paperless" for good pointers and ways to think about your filing system.

I use CCC to sync my electronic file cabinet to Dropbox every night. Makes it easy to get to documents from my iPad when out of the house.

Think long and hard about your backup strategy. Think through various disaster scenarios and how you will handle them. Major theft, house burning down, natural disasters. Backups must be tested - if you haven't tried to restore a file you don't know if you can. I go for overkill with multiple TM destinations, multiple CCC drives, and multiple cloud storage and backup with Dropbox, OneDrive, and Crashplan.

When you get everything scanned check for local shredding events. We seem to have one about every 6 months. Better than burning up my light weight shredder.

Best way to get rid of paper is to never generate it it in the first place. Electronic receipts and statements I want save I print to PDF and file appropriately.
I completely agree. Anytime a store wants to email me my receipt I have no problem giving them my "burner" email address. Less paper I have to deal with and it also saves precious space in my wallet! :D
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,180
8,829
California
Do you worry about security when saving to dropbox? i.e. credit card statements etc?
I am not oblivious on the issue, but I'm not over concerned no. If I had confidential client info or corporate secrets on there, I would use an encrypted container, but just for my personal documents I am comfortable with the Dropbox security model.

I do have two-factor security turned on, so for someone to get my documents would mean Dropbox itself was hacked.
 

flynz4

macrumors 68040
Aug 9, 2009
3,125
35
Portland, OR
I am not oblivious on the issue, but I'm not over concerned no. If I had confidential client info or corporate secrets on there, I would use an encrypted container, but just for my personal documents I am comfortable with the Dropbox security model.

I do have two-factor security turned on, so for someone to get my documents would mean Dropbox itself was hacked.
A few years ago... if I remember correctly... dropbox was inadvertently left open and unsecured for about 4 hours.

Personally, I really do not need to share 99+% of my data via the cloud. I do not need to see my 1994 income tax statements when I am away from my house. Hence... I keep my DevonThink database local to my iMac... which is double backed up (Time Machine & Crashplan)... and double cloned (via CCC).

BTW: I strongly recommend Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners. Incredible machines. For the corresponding gold standard in document database software, I highly recommend DevonThink Pro Office.

/Jim
 

sigamy

macrumors 65816
Mar 7, 2003
1,300
2
NJ USA
I use a ScanSnap and have set it's software to send documents directly to DevonThink Pro Office. Devonthink has OCR and some AI features to allow you to link documents and find related items.

I'm not even close to "paperless" but I'm happy to know that all important documents are stored in DT, backed up and that I should be able to quickly find anything from a tax statement to my child's 5th grade report card.
 

robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
3,287
230
A few things.

I have the Canon P-150M, the predecessor to the 215. Unfortunately, Canon apparently isn't gonna update the TWAIN drivers (they're 32 bit, not 64, and don't work with some applications). Nor are they gonna provide the Image Capture plugins. There's a workaround though; see here: http://janegil.net/2014/01/twain-scanners-in-os-x-maverick/

I also use Graphic Converter 8, which can scan directly using the 32 bit TWAIN drivers. Or the Canon software, which works pretty well.

Consider an iPhone solution, though. There are some terrific scanning apps, like Jot Not. These days I rarely encounter documents that are conducive to sheet feed scanning. It's more likely odd shaped store receipts, cards, warranty cards, DMV documents, etc. It's sometimes easier to use an iPhone to get a good scan, and WAY cheaper. Send the scans to Evernote and use their PDF OCR feature, and even with some handwritten stuff you get a searchable PDF, really key for paperless storage.

Once I've got the receipts, and aside from Evernote, I prefer Yep for organizing the stuff, and use tags extensively. In fact, Leap is even better for this. By using tags you can also tie together receipts that would otherwise be difficult to store together; for instance, you can tag emails, photos, PDFs, and Word documents with a client name, even though each is in a different place in folders in the Finder.

Devonthink is also an excellent place to store scans, and other documents as well. It gives you option of either referencing those documents, or importing the actual files. And again you can lump stuff together, and use tags. I sometimes have the email, the scanned invoice, and even a archive of the web page I bought off of, all in one handy place.

Finally, it's a bit off the topic, but I like to save emails as PDFs for receipt purposes. I'm used to this as a lawyer, to have a more immutable archive of a document than an email stored on a server or locally. I use Email Archiver Pro for this, and it's great. Unlike a Save to PDF... it stores the header info in the PDF in a clever way, so it's viewable without getting in the way, and searchable.

Rob
 

onekerato

macrumors regular
Jun 6, 2011
222
1
I also prefer the iPhone/iPad approach to traditional scanners. Two suggestions:

(a) Ensure good lighting. I got the ScanStand Pro and it works quite well.

(b) I use a wifi camera app (RemoteSnap) to send images directly to the Mac when required, otherwise I prefer CamScanner to create cleaned-up PDFs.
 

flynz4

macrumors 68040
Aug 9, 2009
3,125
35
Portland, OR
Consider an iPhone solution, though. There are some terrific scanning apps, like Jot Not. These days I rarely encounter documents that are conducive to sheet feed scanning. It's more likely odd shaped store receipts, cards, warranty cards, DMV documents, etc. It's sometimes easier to use an iPhone to get a good scan, and WAY cheaper. Send the scans to Evernote and use their PDF OCR feature, and even with some handwritten stuff you get a searchable PDF, really key for paperless storage.
Rob,

The ScanSnap will consume all of the above with ease. Using an iPhone scanner (or a flatbed scanner) page by page is an exercise in frustration. By contrast.. You put the whole heap of pages/recipts/cards, etc into the scansnap... and it rips through them at 20 pages per minutes... copying both sides at once, auto straightening, auto blank page removal automatic page size adjustment. etc. It is like magic.

/Jim
 

glenthompson

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2011
1,929
128
Florida
A few things.


Consider an iPhone solution, though. There are some terrific scanning apps, like Jot Not. These days I rarely encounter documents that are conducive to sheet feed scanning. It's more likely odd shaped store receipts, cards, warranty cards, DMV documents, etc. It's sometimes easier to use an iPhone to get a good scan, and WAY cheaper. Send the scans to Evernote and use their PDF OCR feature, and even with some handwritten stuff you get a searchable PDF, really key for paperless storage.

Rob
I've never had a problem with scanning any of these type of documents. I mix letter sized with tiny credit card receipts and the ScanSnap feeds it flawlessly.

The iPhone solution would have been rather tedious for me last week when I had to scan 105 pages of medical records to email to someone. I might still be working on it if using my iPhone.
 

neutrino23

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2003
1,700
203
SF Bay area
ScanSnap is fantastic. I have dumped my flatbed scanner after getting a Scansnap.

I recommend Sparky's book Paperless for iBooks as it has all of the videos and interaction integrated in the book.
 

flynz4

macrumors 68040
Aug 9, 2009
3,125
35
Portland, OR
ScanSnap is fantastic. I have dumped my flatbed scanner after getting a Scansnap.

I recommend Sparky's book Paperless for iBooks as it has all of the videos and interaction integrated in the book.
We never use the all-in-one flatbed scanning feature of our Xerox color laser printer anymore... we just use the ScanSnap for scanning. Anything that does not fit through a sheet scanner, I just take a pic with the iPhone and push into DevonThink.

I think it was Sparky who said (paraphrased): Trying to go paperless without a full duplex sheet-fed scanner is an exercise in futility. If it wasn't Sparky, it was a quote from some other paperless office book I read. In any case... truer words cannot be said.

We often let scanning jobs batch up in an "inbox". Then, when we scan... I operate the scanner, while my wife feeds the high capacity shredder. She can't keep up with my scanning. ;)

/Jim
 

InsideTJ

macrumors regular
Mar 18, 2012
114
13
I've had several flatbed and self-feeding scanners over the years. Also have one of those little portable photo scanners.

For documents, NOTHING beats the iPhone scanner apps. So quick, deals with crimped papers and odd sizes well, and is so quick to use.

A couple of years ago, I had file boxes of personal documents going back 10 years. I did many of them with page scanners, then I went with the iPhone Scanner Pro app and it made easy work of the job.

I scan to the Scanner Pro default PDF. The app has a web interface to copy files to a computer. I keep a file on my phone for '2014 receipts', scan them as i get them, and trash them. works great.

The iPhone scanner apps are NOT sufficient for photos, in my opinion.
 

robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
3,287
230
I've never had a problem with scanning any of these type of documents. I mix letter sized with tiny credit card receipts and the ScanSnap feeds it flawlessly.

The iPhone solution would have been rather tedious for me last week when I had to scan 105 pages of medical records to email to someone. I might still be working on it if using my iPhone.
I agree that something like med records still requires sheet feeders; but I rarely encounter that anymore.

I should have mentioned that it isn't just the feeding of the tiny receipts, thick card stock and whatnot that causes the problem, it's also that it's faster to do it with my phone, and I don't have to carry them home. Ditto with box labels, labels on foam envelopes, newsprint, etc etc. Just a right tool for right job.

And if you're going paperless sometimes it helps to think about what the point of that is. Say you want a record of an inventory of say electronics or books. It's sometimes preferable to use an iPhone barcode scanner for that. Or for the boxes electronics come with, since they often contain serial and model numbers too. Then I just link those via tags with the email receipts. Same with books. And maybe a photo of the item. Even if you've got dedicated flatbed and sheetfeed scanners, as I do, the scanner apps for the phone are super helpful.

Maybe restaurants will finally have electronic payment systems that just email you a receipt, and I'd probably never have to scan one again.
 

JuryDuty

macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2014
320
31
Texas
I have the ScanSnap and LOVE it. I throw every receipt, article, etc right into Evernote. It's the perfect organizing system that you can access anywhere on about any device.

For larger items like books and magazines, I sent them to 1dollarscan.com which is cheap and has GREAT customer service. I literally digitized bookshelves of papers, books and albums.
 

flynz4

macrumors 68040
Aug 9, 2009
3,125
35
Portland, OR
I agree that something like med records still requires sheet feeders; but I rarely encounter that anymore.

I should have mentioned that it isn't just the feeding of the tiny receipts, thick card stock and whatnot that causes the problem, it's also that it's faster to do it with my phone, and I don't have to carry them home. Ditto with box labels, labels on foam envelopes, newsprint, etc etc. Just a right tool for right job.

And if you're going paperless sometimes it helps to think about what the point of that is. Say you want a record of an inventory of say electronics or books. It's sometimes preferable to use an iPhone barcode scanner for that. Or for the boxes electronics come with, since they often contain serial and model numbers too. Then I just link those via tags with the email receipts. Same with books. And maybe a photo of the item. Even if you've got dedicated flatbed and sheetfeed scanners, as I do, the scanner apps for the phone are super helpful.

Maybe restaurants will finally have electronic payment systems that just email you a receipt, and I'd probably never have to scan one again.
I dont disagree that the phone is useful for some scanning... but for anything bulk... you still have to manually handle each side of every page. That is no comparison to a full duplex sheet scanner.

Between a good sheet scanner and a phone scanner... flatbeds are dead.

/Jim