In 2014, the dream of a paperless office has become a reality that is already improving the lives of many people.
Here is how, in 5 easy steps, you can get rid of all your paper documents while making them searchable and accessible wherever you are.
1. Scan your documents
This step is obviously mandatory in order to let your paper documents have a digital life!
Living paperless requires a bit of discipline when it comes to scanning your documents. The more you postpone this work and the more tedious it will be to make it done!
In order to make this work fast and easy, we recommend using a scanning device that produces high resolution images while being small and handy.
When choosing a scanner, we usually go for a portable model that lets you scan without being connected to a computer. It is therefore possible to scan your documents on the corner of a table or while sitting on your sofa. Fast and easy!
It is also possible to scan documents with a smartphone using dedicated applications. In this case, be careful with the quality of the produced images. A smartphone’s camera will never match the quality of a scanner!
2. Convert your documents into searchable PDF files
PDF format is a standard when it comes to digital document archiving. It was made to be versatile and compatible with every operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux, IOS, Android,…). Your PDF files will always look the same as the original paper document and they are very easy to share and print.
Another great benefit of the PDF format is that you can make it searchable. That means that you can search for a word or sentence within its content without having to go through the entire document yourself. This feature is awesome when you are looking for a specific piece of information within tons of pages and files.
In order to turn your scanned documents into searchable files, you will have to use Optical character recognition software (OCR). This software will extract the text from your documents without having to retype it yourself. It will then create a PDF file that perfectly matches the original image of your document.
3. Compress your documents to save data storage space
Your paperless life will make you scan and store a lot of PDF files which requires an increasing (and expensive) storage space. In order to optimize the size of your files, you can use a document compression technology. This feature will lower the size of your PDF files without having any impact on their quality.
As an example, “Readiris” software uses the “iHQC” compression technology that can compress you PDF files up to 20 times!
Also keep in mind that smaller file sizes are easier for sharing or sending over LAN/WAN or as email attachment!
4. Export your documents to a secured « cloud »
It is today impossible to talk about « paperless » without talking about the «Cloud».
Hosting your documents io your own hard drive has a double disadvantage: first, you expose yourself to files lost by crashes or hardware failure. Secondly, your files are only available locally.
Today’s cloud hosting solutions let you easily access your documents whenever and wherever you are using your computer, smartphone or tablet. These services became extremely reliable (no risk of data loss) and secured (privacy became a critical priority for everyone).
When choosing a cloud hosting provider, we usually go for Drop Box, Evernote, Google Drive or Box.net. These services are very popular and they all offer free accounts.
When it comes to uploading your files in the cloud, we recommend using “Readiris” software.
5. Organize your cloud
Whethere it is your hosted PDF files or your cabinet on a shelf, a bit of organization never hurts! The cloud hosting solutions usually offer the option to create folders and sub-folders in order to organize your files. In addition, some of them also let you add tags and keywords to you documents in order to be easily retrieved.
Nevertheless, the benefit of using searchable PDF files makes it possible to search for a specific piece of information amongst tons of documents. That way, if you are not the king of organization, you will also be able to find the document you need without spending hours