I am still working on my paperless office experiment. I’ve had an huge influx of consulting requests in the past 60 days, so I haven’t dedicated as much time to this as I had originally planned. Here is a quick update on what I’ve found so far.
Optical Character Recognition
One of the most important parts of being able to search for your documents later is recognizing it as text. A generic scanning process simply recognizes the pixels and doesn’t actually turn them into words. (A simple test to see if a PDF is storing data as pixels or text is to try to copy and paste a paragraph into a text editor.) I’ve found that for a proper workflow I need to make sure that the character recognition happens automatically as part of the scanning process.
Scan Snap Scanner
I purchased a Fujitsu ScanSnap and so far I’ve been impressed. It isn’t perfect and occasionally it misfeeds, but overall it has been a welcome addition to my tool set. I don’t have my document repository setup yet, but already it has made it easier to deal with documents that need faxed or emailed. The ability to scan both sides of a document at the same time is a significant advantage.
DEVONThink Pro Office
I’m still playing with the trial version of DEVONThink Pro Office. I had a personal edition, but the Pro Office version interfaces with the ScanSnap and will do OCR conversion automatically. I liked the idea behind DEVONThink, but I’m still more comfortable keeping my files in a hierarchy in the filesystem instead of in a database. DEVONThink offers some ways to help make this easier, but I’m not completely sold on it yet. I am still experimenting with it. I may like it better once I understand it more.
So there is a quick update. I’m still hoping to have my paperless office up and running by the end of the year. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
As always, please let me know if you have any suggestions that might help me out.