How to Prepare Documents for Scanning

There are few things that are more annoying than discovering that there was an easier way to do an admin job in the office, and that it could have saved you hours of work, if you knew about it. Many office jobs can be tedious and time consuming. So if there are ways to make your life easier, and keep your boss happy, then why continue to suffer?

One task that can be especially time consuming is scanning documents. It can be even more time consuming if you don’t prepare your documents in the best way. Luckily we are here to help. We can give you a few tips and tricks so you will know what to avoid when you prep your documents for scanning. That way you will save time and hopefully the task will be a little less tedious.

So what are some of the things that can trip you up when you need to scan documents?

Document Prepping

First things first. You will need the documents that have to be converted to a digital format. If you take a little time before you start with the process of scanning documents, it will make the whole job that much easier. It might sound like a very old-school thing to do.

Document prep is not something that really fits in our digital (almost) paperless world. But we actually still deal with quite a large amount of good old paper documents, and we need to get them into digital formats.

If you don’t prepare your documents well it can lead to bad quality scans. You might need to re-do the job or heavily edit the files. If things go very badly you might even ruin or destroy your original documents. If your originals are very valuable this can be a major problem.

Avoid these little traps

You know that document preparation can save you a huge amount of time. When you work in an industry that regularly deals with 200 page contracts, this can mean hours of your life!

So the first thing you can avoid is forgetting about staples. Staples in the document feeder is a scourge that tears paper and jams scanners everywhere.

A stapler remover is an investment in your time bank. Of course there are many ways to kill a staple, but stapler remover works well with smaller packs of documents. If the type of documents you are scanning don’t have intrinsic value as hard copies, you can even just tear off the corners to save even more time.

So step one is avoid staples! Stapling a page over and over again also creates problems with feeding the documents, so try to avoid this as well.

Avoid staples and paperclips even if you aren’t using a feeder, they can still damage the optical surface of the scanner. A stray staple or paperclip can cause quite a few issues.

Also remember to avoid having paperclips between pages. Remove any fasteners that can cause issues with the document feeders and fan pages a little to avoid them sticking together.

The next thing to avoid is different page sizes in the same stack of documents. If the sizes vary to much the feeder won’t work effectively and can jam. Much smaller sizes, like business cards or memos can really confuse a document feeder. So go through the stack of documents carefully. You can fan the pages out to check for smaller (or larger folded) page sizes.

Avoid just starting with a scan without checking the scanner and feeder. This can seem a little unnecessary but someone else may have scanned something that could have left residue and can clog the feeder. Something like notes torn from a book can easily have little torn edges that can detach in the feeder.

Receipts can be tricky. You will need to tape them to a standard page size carefully. Don’t use tape on both sides of the page and keep the receipts you stick to one page to a minimum. You can do one test page to make sure it works well, before feeding the entire stack of documents.

Avoid using glue sticks to secure receipts, tape will work best. Avoid just sticking the receipts with small bits of tape. Make sure the corners of the receipts are taped securely. Corners can easily become detached and jam the feeder. It can also fold and obscure some of the text you might need.

Don’t have any folded pages in the stacks of pages you want to scan, this can also cause jams or tear the pages. It will save you a lot of time if you don’t need to find the place you last scanned, to remove one folded page in a 300 page document.

You should also avoid trying to scan documents that are very dark, or printed on grey or black paper. They won’t physically jam the scanner, but can be very difficult to get a clear image from. This is especially problematic if you only have one or two such pages in a massive document getting a consistent clarity and contrast will be difficult.

The most important thing to avoid with document scanning, and life, is not having a plan. If you have a huge document with sub sections, plan if you are going to scan it as one set, or if it will work better in smaller sets. Then you can work with each set separately and effectively.

In conclusion

When you need to scan a large amount of documents, the best thing you can do is to prepare your scanner and your pages. IF everything is organized well the task at hand will be that much easier.

Hopefully our tips on what to avoid when you prep your documents will help you with your next scanning job. It will also help companies that do large scanning jobs, if you prepare your documents. It will save them time, and save you money in return.

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