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Stories To Tell is a full service book publishing company for independent authors. We provide editing, design, publishing, and marketing of fiction and non-fiction. We specialize in sophisticated, unique illustrated book design.

Stories To Tell Books BLOG

Advice on How to Digitize Your Documents

Nan Barnes

Today we’ll look at’s suggestions on how to protect all of the paper records, letters and documents you’ve accumulated about your personal or family history from data rot – deterioration or destruction due to storage in places like hot garages or moldy basements.

Author Adam Dachis advises, “If you're really taking the leap into a paper-free existence…you're going to need an actual scanner suited for the job.” If your scanning needs are limited to documents:

  • You may find that you have a multi-function printer which includes a flatbed or sheet feed scanner

  • If not, Life Hacker offers a short list of recommendations

    • Fujitsu's ScanSnap S1300 makes PDF creation simple and is a favorite in the paperless community. (Also see hour post on the S300, its predecessor.)

    • Canon's imageFORMULA P-150 is a great portable choice, especially for Evernote users.

    • Apparent's Doxie is a budget-conscious option that integrates well with the cloud.

Dachis adds, “Scanning software is another choice in the process.” His software recommendations include:

  • Adobe Acrobat (Windows/Mac OS X) scans documents to the PDF format and can perform optical character recognition (OCR).

  • VueScan (Windows/Mac OS X/Linux) supports over 1500 scanners, can save to PDF and offers a free trial.

  • Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard's Image Capture can save scans as PDF documents and perform visual adjustments.  It comes free with the operating system.

  • Microsoft Office (Windows) can scan individual pages or to its proprietary MDI format as well as perform OCR.

Whatever scanning tools you choose Dachis cautions, “You'll want to consider the following:

  • The different types of paper you'll be scanning and if your scanner can handle each size.

  • Whether or not you'll be scanning color documents and documents printed on non-white paper.

  • If you'll need software that can perform OCR.

  • If you'll need to scan any double-sided materials.

  • The types of documents you'll be scanning.  For example, are they all typed-text documents or will you be scanning handwritten notes as well?

Tomorrow we’ll look at preserving images and photographs.

Click here to read Dachis’ article at Life Hacker.