Tips, Techniques and Tools to Make Scanning Easier

Tips, Techniques and Tools to Make Scanning Easier

Paper Clip Monster... ahhh!If you are dealing with any significant paper volume, you are always looking for ways to optimize and make things more efficient.

However, when we look to optimize things, we usually look at what we do on our computers. This is important, of course, but you can reap surprising benefits by looking at how you handle your physical paper before you scan it.

I have written about how I do some document preparation, and ScanSnap Community has some nice tips, but awesome DocumentSnap reader Jim Sewell from JimSComputing gave me the idea for some more. Thanks Jim!

Here are a few that Jim shared from the trenches:

We used a ton of Tacky Finger. It made such a huge difference when dealing with a stack of paper and I never would have believed it.

Also when prepping the papers it was much more efficient to grab the top paper with one hand, lift it up so you can see the next to make sure there are no staples, etc, then use the other hand to “feed” the next page to the first hand as you bring it down to the stack. Lift-look-lower-grab the next page-add it to the growing stack you are raising and lowering. When you have to prep papers to avoid feeding your ScanSnap a steel staple diet it is very helpful.

He also has some other document prep tips:

Put all the small register receipts together so you aren’t wasting energy going from tiny to 8×11 paper. Any time I can get a stack of normal paper together when scanning a batch I am happy because they go through easier and then I can adjust the guides for the next size or the oddball sizes. [Brooks: I do this too. The ScanSnap is pretty good for dealing with multiple-widthed pages without adjusting the guides, but I tend to do it anyways.]

I have had trouble with papers that were folded over in an envelope for a while folding back on themselves when I try to scan them. If I leave them out for a day or two laying flat, or if I can manage to slightly bend them longwise it seems to help them stay straight while feeding.

Another tip I would add is if you are working with delicate or weird-shaped pages, a carrier sheet can be really helpful. The larger ScanSnaps like the ScanSnap S1500 come with them, but you can buy them on Amazon. A reader found that they can also work with non-ScanSnaps too.

Also, this sounds obvious, but get a good staple remover. I was recently introduced to these push-style removers instead of the old-school jaws ones. What a difference.

Do you have any physical paper tips that make you more efficient? Leave a comment and let us know. Thanks Jim!

(Photo by millicent_bystander)

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 3 comments

Martin - December 18, 2012 Reply

Don't know that spending money for a product, particularly a consumable (non-reusable) product, is needed for paper-handling. Many cashiers still use the old trick of swiping fingertip(s) on a moist piece of sponge before peeling off some currency from the register – and they sure have an incentive to use something that works! (Their object, like ours, is to avoid accidentally grabbing more than one sheet at a time, after all.) Once upon a time this was such a common practice that a widely used, commercial desk accessory was a little holder with a sponge inside it. Key point: the sponge should be slightly moist – not too wet. … Yes, that staple remover is far superior. … The Tacky Fingers link is wrong; it brings you to the ScanSnap carrier-sheet page. … Thanks, Brooks.

    Brooks Duncan - December 18, 2012 Reply

    Whoops, sorry about that. Link fixed. Yes, I remember the sponge thing well from my accounting days. I had somehow blocked that from my memory! As for the tacky fingers specifically, I have never used it myself so I can't comment. Some people seem to swear by it.

    Jim Sewell - December 19, 2012 Reply

    Martin is right that a damp sponge is a favorite of many but for me the Tacky-Finger (and similar products) tends to do a better job. Specifically, it doesn't leave the page or your fingers wet since the product makes your fingers grip but not damp. The one I have now (SortKwik) says to rub it in until dry. Damp pages in a scanner can be trouble, especially small receipts. Whatever works best for each person is the best though, right?

    Whichever product you use, please make sure you are the only one using it and that you don't keep it around forever. Germs, bacteria, mold, etc. love things like sponges that are used for too long. I don't want my fingers in the same tacky container as a coworker either.

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