Paperless (and Clean!) Office
I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
For years I’ve struggled to keep my office clean. See, with so many projects, and the family stuff, and the Cub Scout stuff, it was just a mess. I’d clean up, but when I’m in my office, I want to work, not clean. One of my goals was to get as much as I could digitized, so then it’d only reside in my laptop.
A couple weeks ago I came across EverNote, a way to capture information and save it in a digital file. I have yet to unleash the true power of Evernote, but I’ve started.
To get my files scanned into my computer, I picked up the Fujitsu Scansnap S300 Color Mobile Scanner. This is one of the most important pieces of hardware I now own. In terms of productivity, I’d rank it right up there with the second monitor. This scanner is truly amazing.
First, I configured the ScanSnap to save the files right to Evernote. You have to create a new profile, and select the Evernote application in the profile preferences. Then left-click on the icon in the toolbar to chose the profile, then either press the scan button on the scanner or right-click on the icon and choose a Simplex (single-sided) or Duplex (doubled-sided) scan. That’s right… this scanner will scan BOTH SIDES of a document AT THE SAME TIME. Oh, and did I mention it does this in FULL COLOR, and it’s FAST?!?!
Here’s a video I took showing how fast the ScanSnap is:
So anything on my desk, I scanned, tagged, and then either shredded or recycled (by the way: you can recycle shredded paper. Save a tree). Right away my desk was cleaner. Then I attacked the pile of business cards from the last couple Affiliate Summits.
The business card software is clunky, but it works (most of the time). I still have to figure out how to export it to GMail, but that can wait. I rarely use these cards, but felt like I had to save them. Now they can go, as I have the data in a database, along with the image of the card (front and back, if applicable).
Looking for more to scan, I thought it’d be a good idea to scan my articles of incorporation, so I’d have a digital backup of them. I created a new journal just for these papers, and in a few minutes had them scanned in. Now I have a digital copy of the papers (convenient to send to my accountant or attorney if I have to), a copy saved with Evernote, and they’re backed up with Mozy (my online backup provider).
What’s nice about the files is that when they’re scanned, they’re PDFs. I haven’t played much with the OCR functions, but that’d make it easier to search & find things (right now, searches are limited to my titles & tags).
Then I figured, since I could use the ScanSnap with Evernote, why not set up a profile for Picasa. So I did. I set the profile to save to Picasa as a JPG, and scan at a higher resolution. Then I took a packet of photos that a Cub Scout parent had given me about a year ago, stacked them about 8 at a time in the ScanSnap, and hit the button. In about 10 minutes, I had all of the photos scanned. Now the quality isn’t the best, but that’s the fault of the disposable camera, not the ScanSnap.
I’ve also used the ScanSnap to quickly make a PDF to then fax with MaxEmail and to make a hard copy of a paper document.