The paperless office has been the holy grail of organisation since the early eighties when personal computers first landed on the desktop. But it seems that computers only make more paper and we are as far away from the paperless office as we ever were. But things are changing.
I’ve always thought that scanning bank statements and other stuff would be the answer, but I’ve found flatbed scanners pretty useless for this. They are slow and cumbersome and only really useful for scanning bound documents such as books. Most paper we deal with comes in single-sheet form and is ideally suited to document-feed handling.
Over the past year my working life has been transformed by the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners. For the Mac there are two models, a desktop and a portable. Both do the same job and there isn’t much to choose between them, except size and portability. They do an excellent job and the paper handling is as near perfect as you can get with any sort of sheet-feed device. Scanning multiple documents is quick and easy. And the resulting .pdf files are easy to manage.
I now routinely scan and shred all incoming mail with very few exceptions (those documents that need to be preserved in original form). Bank statements, utility bills and suchlike are scanned and shredded immediately. If I need to work on them, such as reconciling a bank statement, I do it from the .pdf file.
These scanners are a revelation and, as far as I am concerned, they’re high on my list of best gadgets. My desk files are now slim and lithe and I aim to keep them that way. Of course, committing sensitive information to .pdf files needs a security strategy so more later how I work with and protect my scanned files.