As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I’m a self-professed digital hoarder at home—and at work, I’m the Technology Evangelist here at PFU America, Inc. And because I’ve had a strong interest in scanning technology since I was in my teens, I’m also now known as the “go-to” guy when my friends and family have questions about buying a new scanner.
Since so many of us are working from home right now, I thought I would put together a few tips here for those of you that want to add a scanner to your home office.
First up–design: Look for something sleek, quiet and intuitive
One of the first things I tell my friends is to look for a digital imaging scanner is that fits into your work environment at home. For my wife and I, it meant getting a scanner with a small footprint that fit into a tight space. We wanted to keep it close enough to be able to easily access it, but also didn’t want it to clutter up our living room. We like the ScanSnap iX1600 because its wireless connectivity let us put it anywhere in the house. If we’re scanning our tax documents and receipts, it’s easy enough to move it around without having to reconnect it to a PC.
The second design feature that I think is important is unobtrusive, quiet scanning. If your home is filled with others that are busy all day long, such as children in Zoom classes down the hall, you’ll want to find something that isn’t noisy and loud. You want to scan when you need too, without feeling like you’re disturbing anyone else in your household.
The third thing I mention to friends is to look for is an intuitive, user-focused design. What I mean by that is, find one that is ready to go and set up for you to easily digitize, organize, and share the information you scan. You’ll see what I mean by this as I discuss some other key features.
Next on the list—performance features like speed and versatility
Productivity is important to my friends that work from home, especially as many of them are balancing their professional and personal lives in rather unique times. One of the features that improves work efficiency is how fast you can scan. There are a lot of scanners on the market today that claim they are fast, but what does the published speed actually mean?
For instance, some scanners may take a bit of time to start and warm up even before you can initiate the scanning process. Add in the set-up process, (All of those steps required to initiate the actual scanning process) and all of a sudden, the paper-per-minute (ppm) speed is suddenly no longer accurate.
However, there are scanners out there with fast real-world scanning times, like our new ScanSnap iX1400 and iX1600 models. They come with either one-touch or touch-screen functionality that makes even complex scanning simple—and fast. These scanners promise 40-ppm duplex color scanning, and they deliver on that. More importantly, ScanSnap streamlines all of the pre-scan and post-scan requirements. Things like scanner settings, file names, and scan to locations are all automated with intelligent processing and easy to use profiles.
These new models also come with other features that improve performance and save time. For instance, those profiles that I mentioned can be set up based on existing templates or you can create new ones. You can set up a personal profile and a work one, and even set up profiles for your family. With the iX1600, you also have the versatility to scan to a variety of devices, whether it’s a PC, Mac, IOS device, or Android device. You can even scan without any device, just shoot it straight to the cloud. Scanning to cloud is perfect for home use. You can walk up to the iX1600, select your profile and scan your documents in a snap! You can then access them on any computer, phone, or tablet. It’s that easy.
Although it’s really easy to drive a scan from the iX1600 directly, you can also use the ScanSnap Connect application to drive scans from your phone or tablet. Just open the app and press the blue button. All of the documents in the scanner will be quickly digitized and then appear on your device. From there you can share them, store them, or send them to your favorite app or cloud service.
What and how you can scan is important too
Another key performance feature to look for is the ability to scan a variety of different types of documents and then tag and categorize them for searching. For instance, say you have a new health care plan with your company. All of a sudden, you have filled-out application forms, a new membership card, pages of benefits, and other associated documentation.
You can scan all these items individually or together in one batch, regardless of size—without worrying about time-consuming jamming or image quality. You can also tag and categorize all the documents as they are scanned, ensuring that critical information will be available in a designated folder so you can easily search later and find what you need. In fact, the iX1600 now comes with OCR parallel processing, so while you’re scanning 20 pages of benefits, you are making them fully searchable at the same time. It’s another way that ScanSnap saves you time. You don’t have to go back and enable OCR later on. But not to worry, both the iX1400 and iX1600 come with ScanSnap Home, it’s a powerful file management and connectivity application. You can make documents searchable at any time if you need to. You can also send them your favorite Microsoft Office application for editing.
Other key check-list items for a buyer’s guide
There are a few more features that you’ll want to check off as features on a new scanner:
- Automatic document feeder
- USB or Wi-Fi connectivity
- Color, size and blank page detection
- Deskew and rotation capabilities
- Editable Word, Excel, and PPT files
- Feature rich file management application
The bottom line: What works best for you?
Everything I’ve mentioned here will enhance your scanning experience, save you time and deliver high image quality digital files. If I’ve piqued your interest in our new models, check out this page – it includes more on some of the features I’ve mentioned here that will be helpful.