Document Scanning Tips

Document Scanning Tips

Dennis Snider

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Many people keep their personal records – bank statements, tax returns, etc. – stuffed in an old shoebox at the back of the closet somewhere, which is fine until you actually need to access your records and you find you’ve lost that one essential bit of paper you need. Scanning your documents electronically frees up space, frees up time, and means you can always lay your hands on what you need.

It can seem a bit daunting to start digitizing all your filing, but as you start to go through your paperwork you will most likely find that half of it you don’t really need anyway, so take the chance to spring clean your filing system, reducing the amount you need to scan. Once you’ve digitized your historical paperwork, get into the habit of scanning new documentation as soon as it’s received. It only takes a few seconds to scan a document, after all. The best way of storing your documentation is to convert everything to PDF files; this seems the most likely system to be long-lived, and everyone uses it.

Once you’ve got everything digitized, make sure that you back everything up thoroughly. Your documentation will be important stuff to you, so you should really adopt a “belt and braces” approach to protecting it; keep it in that section of your computer where all documents are uploaded to the cloud so that no matter what happens you can always recover it, but back it up to a portable disk as well, and possibly even have an extra copy that you keep somewhere away from your home just in case the worst happens. Organize your folders into years and have subfolders for different topics, e.g., bank statements, tax returns, utility bills, etc. Create your own naming system to enable you to search for any document swiftly and efficiently.

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