I tell anyone who will listen that one of the keys to being able to find your paperless documents later is to have a consistent, descriptive naming convention. As much as possible, you want similar documents to be named the same way every time.
This is easier said than done, especially when you have others working with you. Tools like text expansion tools can help, but how can you ensure that everyone is naming files the same way?
Thanks to awesome DocumentSnap reader Michael, I came across this interesting application called Forms inMotion. Forms inMotion is a whole electronic forms solution, but the part that we are interested in here is the ScanSnap integration that they have created for naming documents on Windows.
You set up Forms inMotion with the ScanSnap like you would any application, and then the really interesting stuff happens once you start to configure it.
When you are setting things up, you want to think about what information you want to make sure is in the filename every time. You set these up as keywords.
Here I am creating an Invoice keyword, and as you can see I want it to be required.
I’ve decided that I want to capture Invoice, Invoice Date, Amount, and Vendor name, so I’ve set these up as my keywords.
Decide Where To Save It & See Results
You then decide where you want these types of documents you want to be saved, and give this Profile a name. I am going to be boring and keep it as the default.
You can then do a little test to see the results. As you can see, I put some data in to each of the fields, and at the bottom it will show the sample filename.
Scan With Forms inMotion
I grabbed a document and put it in as a test. After the normal ScanSnap scanning process, the Forms inMotion application pops up. I’m presented with my Profile, and fill in the requested keywords.
You can see that it has created a file with a file name built from the data that I entered into the fields.
I can see Forms inMotion being very useful in a business environment, where you want to a) enforce consistency, and b) make it easy for people to name files without having to mess around in Windows Explorer. I’ve long thought something like this would be a good idea, and I am happy KeyMark made it.
If it were up to me, there are a few things I’d change. The software works well when you are scanning one document at a time, but part of the power of the ScanSnap is that you can throw a stack of paper into it and have it scan all your documents at once.
Let’s say I have it set so that I scan a stack of documents and it produces a bunch of PDFs. In Forms inMotion, I can see all my documents there, and it looks like I can go through each one and name them with the fields.
However, that’s not actually what happens. What happens is the first file gets named, and the rest just get saved with the default ScanSnap-generated filename.
I think it could really enhance the power of the application if you could scan a stack of documents into it, and then go through and apply the fields to each one.
Another nice thing would be to have field types, so you could have a date field using the same format each time. I’m just an idea guy though… they can run with it.
I think Forms inMotion makes the most sense for business users. The price is $249 one time, $49 per year, or $10 per month if you prefer the subscription option. That is likely a bit high for your average home user, but for businesses I could see it being worth it for having a consistent, easy to use workflow. There is a free trial if you want to see how you like it, or click one of the links below if you want to purchase and support DocumentSnap at the same time.
Not to be confused with a ScanSnap Manager Profile, but you could call it the same name to be consistent if you want. ↩