Over the last several years many people have asked me how to remove paper from their lives. Here are some tips on how to empty your file cabinets and get rid of that pile of mail.
Scanner + OCR = pdf
Get a duplex document scanner with at least a 25 sheet feeder and good OCR software. I use a Fujitsu Scansnap that is a few years old and it does a nice job. For OCR I use ABBYY FineReader that was bundled with the scanner. Acceptable entry-level scanners start at around $300, but it is worth spending more for the next level up. The more expensive models give you greater scanning speed with less misfeeds and paper jams. This is especially important if you want to scan different types and thicknesses of paper at the same time, such as bills, credit card receipts, and business cards. If you really want to go all out, buy a networked scanner.
If it doesn’t come bundled with your scanner, buy Adobe Acrobat Standard or Pro (unfortunately, bloated and expensive). [Read more…]