Questions for people who obsess about scanning home documents/being "paperless."

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by kavika411, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. kavika411 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2006
    Thank you for reading this. My questions concern both Mac software and hardware, so I'm not sure where to post this thread, but I'll try it out here.

    I would like to learn, from anyone who obsesses over keeping his/her home documents "paperless", about the process they follow. I would like to learn: (1) what scanner(s) you use (is it a single-sheet scanner or a feeder scanner), (2) what scanning software you use for the scanner(s), (3) whether you have a different process/scanner/whatever for documents that are small, large or otherwise different than 8X11; and (4) a general overview of how you organize your folders. Regarding this last one, what I mean is - do you organize by year with subfolders for house, insurance, taxes, etc., or do you do it some other way?

    I have several hundred pages of documents - all kinds of documents - that I would like to start scanning. Each time I get started, I get frustrated by the slow, single-sheet Canon scanner I use, and I get frustrated by the myriad of software that pops up when I try to scan just one page. I figure someone(s) has gotten this down to a science, and I would like to learn from you.

    Thank you for your time.
  2. vansouza macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2006
    West Plains, MO USA Earth
    Kavika- David I think that is.... I am obsessed about going paperless and did in my Windows era but not yet in my Mac-life. But I have researched it... and you might want to check out the Fugitsu web site... Mac magazines have their adds and they look quite good ... offering both hardware and of course software... good luck.

    ps... you could also check out

    which are both great magazine sites and have great reviews...
  3. kkat69 macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    I am not obsessive, but for records sake I do scan several month's worth of certain documents.

    I use a Canon Pixma with a document sheet feeder on top. It's an all in one scanner/printer/fax+copier. I got it with the 99 buck rebate so I pretty much paid 20 bucks for the all in one after rebate.

    The Canon software is Mac native and the tool basically asks how you are scanning, via single or auto document feeder. I choose ADF and it feeds the docs in one at a time.

    Pretty easy. Store them in folders with dates and common sense organization and viola it's done. Doesn't take long at all either.
  4. blodwyn macrumors 65816

    Jul 28, 2004
    Portland, Oregon
    Here's my approach:

    First the scanner...
    I have a Fujitsu S510M ScanSnap scanner, which is an awesome sheet feed scanner with a small footprint. Scanning is simple - you load the sheet feeder with a document and press a button on the scanner, and it scans the document, double-sided and in color, in PDF format. At the end of the scan it prompts whether you have finished scanning the document, or if you have some more sheets to scan (there is a preference setting covering this behavior). When you've finished you get a prompt to decide what you want to do with the scan, i.e. save to a folder, email, print it, etc. I have mine default to save to a folder - in my case the Yep Pending Documents folder, I also rename the file to something meaningful, with a year and month suffix before I save it, e.g. "Some Purchase Receipt 2008-11.pdf"

    Next the software...
    I settled on Yep for various reasons, amongst them being that it maintains the docs in PDF format (so likely to have fairly long term support as a file format), support for tags, features like drag and drop file merging, easy to use by my other half, good integration with my scanner, etc

    After several weeks initial scanning of all my file cabinet documents, here's my process...
    As we get new physical documents, we put them in a "To be scanned" tray in my study. Anything I get online, I either print to a PDF or do a screen grab to a JPG file, and place the file in a "Yep Dropbox" folder in my Dropbox (when you import JPG files to Yep it automatically converts them to PDFs).

    Every week I grab the tray of documents, scan them into Yep and tag them. I import the files in my Dropbox and tag them too. Then, within Yep, I move the files from the Pending Docs folder to a Yep Documents folder, with a year and month subfolder (So ~/Documents/Yep Documents/2008/November). This works fine for me, as Yep makes it easy to find stuff by searching and by using the tags.

    Some docs I merge together, so for example, I have all of my bank statements merged by year - 2006 Statements, 2007 Statements, etc. When I scan a new statement into Yep, I just drag the file icon onto the 2008 Statements icon, and Yep handily merges them for me.

    Then I run a set of weekly backups, including one that backs up my Yep Documents folder and my ~/Library/Application Support/Yep folder (which contains all the thumbnails and tag info) to an encrypted Jungledisk S3 account, so I have an offsite copy.

    This whole thing has been well worth the effort, and I've been surprised how little disk space is consumed. I had about 6 file cabinet drawers full of documents, ending up at about 650 documents in the Yep library so far, some more than 100 pages, and I'm at around 750 Meg of disk space, which will easily fit on a Thumbdrive. Also, my wife (whose technical skills are modest to say the least) has taken to using Yep to find things, rather than dive into the physical file cabinet. This is a huge breakthrough in our household :)

    Hope this helps
  5. kavika411 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2006
    Thank you for your responses. All of that is very helpful. Appreciate the time.
  6. St Soichiro macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2004
    Tulsa, OK
    Another thumbs-up for the S510M. I don't use any software other than what came with the scanner. For me, the biggest advantage of going paperless is to enable easy searching of long-lost documents.

    I am thinking of moving my current S510M to the office and getting an S300M for an even smaller size scanner.

    Hope this helps.

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