Businesses are trading in their filing cabinets that are filled with files from who knows how long ago and using document scanners to scan and store their important documents. By using a document scanner for your business, not only do you save space, you increase the security of sensitive information, plus you have an electronic copy that will not be irretrievably lost.
There are several different types of document scanners on the market and dozens of models within each category. By better understanding the different types of document scanners, you can choose the best scanner for your business.
How to choose a scanner for your small business
Choosing a scanner might seem complicated at first. There are several requirements to keep in mind, as well as many different types of scanners to choose from. To help you choose the best document scanner for your business, keep the following factors in mind.
What do you need to scan?
The type of scanner you select should be able to easily scan the types of documents you need to digitize and render a clear, crisp image. Are you scanning paper documents and receipts? Do you need to scan photo identification? Are you planning on scanning photographs? What you are scanning should be the primary consideration when selecting a scanner.
Most document scanners are capable of handling paper records, receipts and photo identification with ease. To scan photographs, though, you’ll need a scanner designed specifically for images. Photo scanners offer higher resolution and enhanced color, preserving the appearance of photographs when rendered digitally.
How many documents do you intend to scan?
If you plan on digitizing decades of paper archives, you will need a high-volume document scanner that can handle stacks of documents without much oversight or manual labor involved. High-end document scanners usually come with an automatic feeder that can digitize large amounts of paperwork without supervision, allowing you to create a digital archive and ditch the filing cabinets. [Interested in learning more about document management software? Check out our reviews and best picks.]
If you only scan documents occasionally, though, you’ll be better served with a cheaper model. There are portable document scanners that do the trick, as well as smartphone applications that leverage the camera on your phone to digitally recreate documents.
Do you need optical character recognition?
Optical character recognition (OCR) is an advanced document management feature that allows your computer to easily read the text in your documents. OCR makes it easy to organize, search for and format your scanned documents. OCR is generally an industry-standard feature included in most modern document scanners, and it can be a huge timesaver for businesses.
What operating system are you using?
It’s critical that the document scanner you’re considering purchasing is compatible with the operating system you use. Most document scanners work well with PC software, while fewer are available for Mac.
If your business uses Mac OSX, ask the sales rep or the manufacturer if the document scanner you are considering is compatible. Most scanners can work using third-party drivers even if they aren’t ready to go with Mac OSX out of the box, but third-party drivers can sometimes reduce functionality and hamper performance.
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