How To Bring Your Receipts And Documents Into The Digital Age

For many, the start of the new year is an opportunity to reorganize and refocus. In the digital era, there are a variety of applications for archiving, data tracking, content creation and team calibration. With so many different applications, more and more people are using their smart phones to organize their digital and physical documents. Most digital documents are easy to file away in the application of your choice, but even in 2017, physical document storage is still an issue. Most people have a box or folder full of old papers and receipts that need to be scanned or filed away. Over time, these documents start to degrade, making it impossible to read or reference any of the included information. There are several ways to combat the problem of paper clutter, but it starts with the company who printed that receipt, faxed over that invoice or mailed that contract. Most companies are printing documents with low quality inkjet toner cartridges. Using ink and toner of a lower standard leads to streaky, faded, and completely unusable documents. 

The first step to organizing receipts or other paper documents is digitizing them. This can be done using a traditional scanner, all-in-one printer or a mobile phone. Flatbed scanners will typically provide the highest resolutions and clearest pictures. A mobile phone is a great option if you are in the habit of collecting receipts in your wallet. Instead of storing those receipts in your wallet, you can scan them quickly from you mobile device and immediately discard them. While no scanning solution is perfect, scanning documents from a mobile phone can be particularly challenging. Mediocre camera quality and poor lighting conditions make it difficult to obtain clear images from scanned documents. If the document is printed very lightly with poor contrast, it will be nearly impossible for a mobile phone to recognize the text or images in the document. If you have access to a printer or copier with higher quality paper and inkjet toner cartridges, you can use that to enhance and reprint your document for better scanning results. 

Once your documents have been digitized, designate a specific location on your computer to store the documents. You will want to create a naming scheme that suits your needs when renaming and sorting your documents. Adding identifiers is a good idea. Things such as date, time and location are usually included in the name of the documents. You may also want to include the device used to scan the document. This can be helpful if you use multiple devices for digitizing your documents. Knowing which device provided the best results can save you a great deal of time in the future. 

Finally, create a folder on your computer with any documents that had to be enhanced and reprinted for scanning. Keep an image of the original document for reference in case of missing information. It is also helpful to note the specific settings such as printer or copier model, settings listed on that machine, ink and toner replacement numbers, inkjet toner cartridges used, document resolution and page size. This information can be used to recreate a successful scanning session so that all those unscanned documents and receipts can be digitized quickly.