I wanted to respond to a few comments that readers left on my S1100 ScanSnap post. Plus, I just felt like talking about paperless some more.

Doug asks:

I’m curious about these receipt scanners. Do you keep the physical receipts, too? I’m just wondering if I ever needed to produce a receipt for some reason whether a printed copy of a scanned image would be acceptable?

Most of my receipts just go straight to an annual file bucket. I only scan receipts that are medical in nature or that I’m likely to need to reproduce (e.g. for flexible spending account documentation). In my recent experience, I haven’t encountered any company/agency that required original receipts. These days, copies seem to work fine for everyone.

And I do keep a paper copy of everything. Most things get tossed into a single large file. I spend very little time organizing paper files because I access them so infrequently.

Bruce asks:

Do you happen to use any type of PDF file manipulation software to rearrange pages and/or or delete blank or unwanted pages?

Just Preview. On occasion, I will accidentally scan pages out of order, and sometimes I accidentally put pages in upside down. If I want to edit a PDF after scanning, I simply open the PDF in Preview, edit, and save. I’ve also used this free Automator workflow to combine PDFs.

Ilhan asks:

Does [the S1100] scanner make it easy to scan directly into Evernote when using a Mac?

Yes, it’s very easy to scan directly to Evernote using the software Fujitsu includes, but I mostly scan things to a secure disk image.

I only scan things into Evernote that are 1) “low security”1 and 2) I will likely need to retrieve on the go. For example, I’ve started keeping copies of insurance cards in Evernote. Since I don’t carry a wallet, it’s nearly impossible for me to remember to bring along the physical versions of those cards.

It’s not necessary anymore either. Just the other day, I needed to give my dentist an updated copy of my dental insurance card. I simply emailed it from my iPhone as I was standing at the receptionist’s desk.

A note on OCR

I know that lots of people want a way to automatically OCR everything they scan. Personally, I only use OCR on an as needed basis. It’s actually quite rare that I need to do a text search on a scanned document (as a percentage of everything I scan). If I need to OCR a scanned PDF, I simply open it in PDFpenPro, and do the OCR there.

For everything else, I just give the file a really verbose name that will make it easy to find. I also include the scan date in the file name. This makes not finding the file damn near impossible—especially with a little Spotlight fu.

The main message

The “all or nothing” mindset is dangerous with paperless workflows. Don’t become a slave to paperless. I really only scan things that I absolutely do not want to lose (e.g. tax documentation) or that I’m likely to need to retrieve (e.g. EOBs and other medical records).

All of the other paper that invades my home and office either gets trashed or filed in annual buckets.

As with any other system, make sure that your paperless workflow is adding efficiency, not displacing it.

  1. This isn’t a knock against Evernote’s security. It’s just my personality. I don’t (intentionally) put sensitive documents in the cloud unless I have a way of independently encrypting them.