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Use a scanner to reduce paperwork, archive your important data

Tips for getting the most out of a scanner

Once a document is scanned, stored, and backed up, no one can lose the paperwork. But rember, not everything should be digital only. Sometimes, for legal or regulatory reasons, you need hard copies.

How to use a scanner to save money and increase efficiency - Best Document Management Practices

Use document management software to index, search, and save e-mail
The software lets people search and access documents from a variety of locations and keeps the e-mail system from choking on a lot of large attachments, because people no longer need large PDF documents sent to them. It also helps save time later when someone's trying to find something important.

Enable your employees and clients with remote access
By scanning documents, you can also make them available to clients online. Clients can actually see the documents involved in their case from anywhere. First scan a legal documents into a PDF and put it in the document management system. Then your attorneys, who work 24/7, can view it from their Palm Treo 650s as a regular PDF file on the server [again with a secure link]. Clients can log in remotely with a secure, password-protected connection.

Scan business cards to save time
If you travel to conferences a lot, you're bound to collect dozens of business cards at each one, which you later have to manually process. Save all that effort by getting a business card scanner, which can pull contact information into your primary address book, as well as save images of the front and back in case you like to take notes on the cards.

Scan any document and share it via a PDF in e-mail
A digital copy is searchable, and you can put it into an index where it can be easily pulled up. By scanning in documents, you can share large files with colleagues and other offices and reduce your dependence on couriers and overnight mail.

For high-powered jobs, get a business-class document imager
Get a scanner model with high-capacity automatic document feeders, duplex scanning (to scan both sides of a document at once), and fast conversion straight to searchable PDF files; PDF files lock documents into records that can't be altered.

Scanner Buying Tips and Guide to choose a right scanner for your needs

For scanning film exclusively, a dedicated film scanner is your best option. But if you plan to scan a lot of photographs as well as flat art, you're better off using a really good flatbed scanner with a built-in film attachment. If you're searching for a scanner to digitize your family album, be sure to look for color correction as well as dust- and scratch-removal tools.

Not everyone can afford a personal assistant to print, copy, fax, and scan reports and letters, but multitalented laser printers tackle nearly every noncolor document need for a small or home office. These models make crisp laser printouts and scan in color, too, but you'll need to fulfill your photo-printing fantasies elsewhere.