For the past few years, I’ve been trying to achieve a paperless office and a paperless life. I try to get companies I deal with to send me electronics bills. When I buy something from the Apple store, I have them email me the receipt. I try to do all my reading online or in eBook format. However, not every book or document is available in a digital format. As much as I’ve tried, I still get a ton of paper that I need to organize.
The idea of the paperless office was established some 30 years ago when the first PC was born. However, the tools to achieve a life without paper didn’t fully materialized until recently. Thanks to advances in scanning technology and cloud services, the true paperless office can finally be achieved. A paperless office offers many advantages such as increased productivity, improved client services, reduced operating cost, better security, good for the environment, etc.
I’ve created a paperless office and paperless life using two core technologies.
The ScanSnap S1300 Instant PDF Mobile Scanner
The ScanSnap S1300 by Fujitsu is a mobile sheet-feed scanner that turns any scanned document into a searchable PDF file. The keyword here is searchable. Scanning a document doesn’t improve your productivity over just putting it into a filing cabinet. By turning the file into a searchable PDF, it makes a it lot easier to retrieve at a later date. You can also use a colored highlighter pen on a black and white document to create searchable keywords automatically.
With dimensions of 11.18 in. x 3.90 in. x 3.03 in. and weighing only 3.08 pounds, the ScanSnap S1300 is extremely mobile and can easily fit into my travel bag. Speed wise, the S1300 is extremely quick, able to scan at up to 16 images per minute. Resolution can be set as high as 600 dpi. Other features include:
- Scan up to 8 double-sided pages per minute
- Holds up to 10 pages in the automatic document feeder
- Cross-platform compatibility for PC and Mac
- One button Searchable PDF creation, PDF, and JPEG
- Scan to editable Word and Excel files
- Create searchable keywords from highlighter text
- Business card scanning software
- USB or AC powered
While the S1300 can run on USB power, I recommend you plug it into a wall outlet if you’re near one. Scanning speed is cut in half when the S1300 is powered by USB. Everything is operated by a single button. Push it and the 10 page automatic document feeder scans both sides of each page. The S1300 automatically recognizes the size of each document, detects and corrects for skew, and shows images in their proper orientation with blank pages removed.
So the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 is what I use to kill the paper. The next question is how do I organize all those PDFs and more importantly, how can I access them from anywhere in the world so I can maintain The Dot Com Lifestyle?
Remember Everything with Evernote
Evernote is a free cloud service for storing all your notes, or in this case, scanned PDF files. Evernote integrates seamlessly with ScanSnap to free you from the paper monster. Evernote allows you to easily search and tag all your documents so you can retrieve them whenever you like. By combining Evernote with ScanSnap, you’ll be able to digitalize all your paper documents and access them from any computer or mobile device, anywhere in the world.
Using Evernote doesn’t cost anything. The free plan gives you 40MB of uploads per month. Depending on the quality setting on the ScanSnap S1300, you can upload hundreds of documents every month before hitting the limit. The premium plan cost $5 per month or $45 per year and gives you 500MB of upload per month.
Even if you don’t plan on scanning more than 40MB worth of documents a month, I would still recommend the premium plan because it offers SSL encryption syncing. If you’re scanning sensitive documents and putting them on Evernote, this extra layer of security is well worth the $45 cost. It’s really a no brianer.
It might have been a dream 30 years ago but the true paperless office is here and it’s real. It felt so good to send those filing cabinets and paper to the recycling center. Watch the video below to see Sally and I give a demonstration on using Evernote with the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300.