Comments on document scanner

A question came up from somebody interested in document scanners, so I thought it might be good to write it up real quick and post it as well…

I’ve got a Fujitsu ScanSnap 510m that I bought over 3 years ago and it’s been really great. I do a scan to PDF+OCR so that they are searchable. Each document (may be multiple sheets) is a single file in a big folder and then I use Spotlight (file search on OSX) to find what I need. I very rarely need to find things, but when I do, it has worked fine. I do keep my tax documents unscanned and in a “tax” folder until I do my taxes and then scan all of them as a group, but that’s just my tax workflow.

Specific questions:

– You can just throw 50 sheets in (I’ve done 100+) but if it’s a group, it will store them as a group, not individual documents. If the sheets are irregular in size that can be an issue and need a little intervention to stabilize them going in.

– I’ve got 3+ years on mine and it’s still working fine. I’ve certainly pushed thousands of pages through each year with a minimal failure rate.

– In my case, it’s just a folder of PDFs, so it backs up like anything else. I happen to use Time Machine cause I’m on a Mac with both an onsite and an offsite disk, but any other backup would be fine.

While a document scanner is fairly expensive (I paid $400). It’s been worth it in terms of the time and effort savings. The real key feature is scanning both sides at once. Other solutions are just too slow to provide good ROI. I just scan stuff and shred it. I got rid of my 4-drawer filing cabinet over 2 years ago, so I’ve got more space and I don’t stress about where to file things, they all go in a big folder and search enables me to find anything I’ve needed.