Document Preparation

When most people think about scanning they have a vision of paper running through a machine. This takes the digital picture of the paper. As the phrase goes, “this is where the rubber meets the road.” But it is not the majority of the work that goes into a document conversion project. The bigger parts of the project are the document preparation before the scanning and the post production work after the scanning. Both require a great deal of human interaction and account for a large portion of the costs. Today we will look at how to do document preparation for your scanning project.

Roughly speaking, document preparation just puts the documents in a format that can be run through high speed scanners. Smaller items like receipts and pictures are attached to standard sized paper. Items that are stapled or paper clipped are taken apart. Not everything can be run through a high speed scanner and those are put through a manual process with a flat bed scanner.

Some preparation of your documents happen at the time of conversion but some can be done as the documents come in. Here are some steps to take to reduce the time and expense of your records scanning project.

For small paper like receipts, tape don’t staple. Staples can get caught in the scanner and damage equipment or cause the paper to snag an tear. But just tape the edges. Don’t tape over the text as it may reflect the light and black out the words. Tape the top and the bottom to prevent them coming off during the scanning.

Glue is also another bad idea, stick with the cellophane tape.

Avoid highlighters. This does not show up very well when you scan or worse can lead to the text being blacked out. It is much better to use underlines.

Be careful with your receipts. If they are stuffed into the bottom of a purse they can get all bunched up and hard to affix to another sheet. They will also fade over time if exposed to heat or direct light It is best to get them into the file cabinet as soon as possible.

Avoid folding your documents if possible. It is much better to send them in a manila folder so they don’t need to be straightened out later.

Paperclips are better than staples. Staples can damage the paper and excessive stapling can cause the paper to get stuck. Paperclips are a better method for securing papers.