Scanning and Organizing Important Paperwork

April 23, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Preserving and organizing important documents is a necessity in today’s world. Whether it be your home business paperwork or your family’s financial documents, having a system in place will make your life easier. While a filing system of some kind is a good start an even better method is some type of electronic storage system. This type of system takes up less physical space and is less vulnerable to loss through water damage or the like (assuming you back up your computer). An electronic system can also make locating a document much easier if you do it correctly.

paper scanning

Getting Started

If you want to implement an electronic filing system then the first thing you will need is a scanner. If you do not have a lot of documents then a flatbed or even portable scanner may suffice. But the best scanner for paper scanning is a document scanner because it is specifically designed to scan quickly and in bulk. Most of the better document scanners also have document management software that can help to organize your scans and even extract important data. Otherwise, you can invest in a separate software program for organizational needs.

If you buy a scanner the best place to start is by reading the manual to see what the scanner is or isn’t capable of. Scanning a document is fairly easy but tweaking certain settings and understanding the software upfront will enable you to get the most out of your scanned documents. I also recommend you do a few test runs with a single document to see what method works best for you.

save to folders

File and Folder Organization

The second step for electronic conversion of paperwork is proper organization. If you were to scan all of your documents to one folder with unidentifiable file names you will have accomplished preservation but missed out on management. You want to be able to find a certain document at any point by utilizing either the scanning software’s or your own filing system.

The benefit of document organization is the ease of locating documents when you need them. If you only have a few documents here or there this may not seem like a big deal but over time an unorganized electronic system will become a burden. Of course, everyone needs to come up with their own logical system which makes sense for them. I may prefer to organize by date while you may be better off organizing by subject. Try considering how you organize physical documents for inspiration.

Keep or Shred Originals

After you have all of your documents scanned and organized you will need to decide how to handle the original paperwork. If you have physical storage space you may want to keep the originals as a backup. But if you are short on space and have a digital backup for your hard drive you could consider disposing of the original copies. When doing so make sure that you shred any docs that contain personal information or financial information that could pose a risk.