Scan, file, get organized
used with permission from HP Technology at Work

Breaking out of old routines can be challenging. For proof, take one look at the rows of filing cabinets still used in many offices these days. Those cabinets are most likely full of unorganized files that date back so far that it€s hard to know where to even start organizing them. The truth is, there really is very little need for storing hard copies of documents anymore. The inherent security risks of keeping business-confidential information out in the open, and the inconvenience of storing information at offsite locations, make digital file management an attractive option for business.

This isn€t about going paperless, though. There will always be certain type of documents that you€ll need to keep hard copies of in your files. Digitizing your files is about creating a more efficient, more secure, and more organized way to archive your business-critical records. The good news is that the solution is not only simple€it€s probably already a part of your office.

Multifunction printers (or MFPs) are called multifunction for a reason€because they do more than print. They can also scan, copy and fax. While routinely filing documents in an organized fashion can take a lot of discipline, many MFPs like the HP Officejet Pro X576dw come loaded with features like 1200 dpi resolution scanning and document-feeder trays that make it easy to tackle large jobs with ease.

HP flow MFPs provide automatic-imaging features that go beyond the standard features of auto deskew, color detection and edge erase. These include auto orientation, auto page crop and auto tone. Advanced workflow features like touch screens allow you to preview, edit, and zoom images prior to saving or sending scans.

Let€s get started

Before you do anything else, gather up the items you want to scan and sort them not just by relevance, but also by size. Since some items might need to be placed directly on the scanner bed, you can keep them separate from items that can be fed through the MFP€s document feeder.

The HP LaserJet Enterprise Flow MFP M525c and its HP EveryPage technology ensures that every page fed through the feeder will be scanned€regardless of size, weight, or condition of the pages in a stack. With a 100-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF), featuring single-pass, two-sided scanning, and fast simplex scanning speeds and duplex scanning, you€re sure to get the job done in no time.

Have a system

Before you begin scanning files you want digitized, it€s important to create a folder hierarchy on your server. While scanning files is one step toward getting organized, deciding where to store and retrieve the digital files is the most important step. Some tips for creating an organized file folder structure include:

  • Top-level folders should be limited to five€so your most frequently visited ones are at the top of the directory
  • Create as many sub-category folders as you need under your top-level folders
  • Last but not least, make sure the files are clearly labeled, otherwise your digitized files will end up as disorganized as your paper files

Search what you scan

Until recently, most scanners were unable to distinguish between text and images, leaving you with a €flat,€ unsearchable document, but optical character recognition (OCR) changes all of that. This software scans your documents and stores them by converting printed characters into digital, editable text, and allows you to save in a wide variety of files types, including TEXT (OCR), Unicode TEXT (OCR), RTF (OCR), Searchable PDF (OCR), Searchable PDF/A (OCR), HTML (OCR) and CSV (OCR).

Some benefits of scanning your documents with OCR software:

  • Faster searches: Effortlessly comb through hundreds of documents€by name, account number, and more€by using a keyword or phrase.
  • Not the final word: One of the benefits OCR has over €flat€ scanning is that it allows you to search for or edit your documents in a word processing program.
  • So long, busy work: Even if you accidentally delete or misplace an important digital file, you won€t have to manually recreate it by retyping it so the document can be stored digitally. Just use OCR to re-scan the original paper file.

Now what?

Once you€ve scanned all of your important documents, it€s time to evaluate your storage options.

  • Microsoft€ Windows provides a number of different ways to find files and folders. Even if you don€t know where the file is located, Windows offers different search methods to make it easy to find what you€re looking for.
  • Networked PCs connected to a LAN/WAN allow users to search for files with specific names or extensions that are stored on remote PCs. It€s also possible to use this option to detect dangerous files or files that violate copyright or compliance regulations.
  • File servers are a wise investment for businesses of any size. These simple, cost-effective network storage appliances are built for storing, sharing and securing data. Even better, many storage options are flexible enough to grow with your business.
  • Cloud based solutions like Box make it easy for businesses to securely send and share large files€and easily access your content from anywhere on any computer, phone or tablet.

Whether you€ve already invested in one, or are considering doing so, having a multifunction printer doesn€t require you to change the way you work in the office. However, the variety of functions they offer can help you move closer to an organized digital filing system that will surely help your business in the long run.