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How to digitize documents and files

Filing cabinets, drawers, photo albums – there’s probably not a shortage of documents stored throughout your home that could stand to move into the digital age. “Digitizing” is just that – taking physical documents and converting them into digital form.

When it comes to actually learning how to digitize documents, there are a few options for getting it done. First, consider what type of documents you’ll be scanning, then perhaps the budget and time you have, and how many documents you have to scan.

Once you decide all of that, and at least have a loose idea of how to digitize files, you can start exploring the equipment you may need and the methods you may want to use. Here are four ways you can digitize your documents – whether they’re related to your personal or professional life – and some considerations to take before committing to any of them.

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Use a desktop scanner

Desktop scanners are probably what most people visualize when they think of a scanner. They’re also among the most versatile methods, as the flatbed feature offers a good quality scan for books, magazines, awards and recognitions, photos and even clothing. According to Dummies.com, desktop scanners with a flatbed are actually preferred over sheet-fed scanners (which we’ll describe later) for other reasons as well. In sheet-fed scanners, especially if you’re handling older photographs, bits of photos have been known to get stuck inside and decompose in the machine. Although desktop scanners can be a bit pricier than sheet-fed scanners, they usually fall below retail on multi-functional devices that incorporate printer and fax features.

If you elect to go with a desktop scanner, take heed to regularly clean the scanner bed and get rid of any dust or fingerprints that could corrupt the scanned image. PC Magazine also states that when you’re scanning old photos, you should dust off the photos themselves and avoid trying to flatten out any creases on the scanner. One other thing to note is that desktop scanners are single-function machines you’ll need at least some space to house wherever you’re working.

Save space with a sheet-fed scanner

Your definition of what it means to digitize files may look different depending on the space you have available and what type of documents you need to scan. If you’re primarily dealing with office documents, then a sheet-fed scanner offers a low barrier to entry into the world of digitization. Sheet-fed scanners are not ideal for family records as they don’t allow you to scan any more than one sheet of paper at a time. Anything irregular or torn could also potentially get caught in the machine or fail to scan. If those risks don’t apply to you, however, they are a great, low-cost option – particularly if you’re working with limited space. Take note that sheet-fed scanners get their name from having to hand feed single sheets into the machine at a time.

Invest in a multi-functional device

Multi-functional devices may be among the most popular options for home offices nationwide, but they are not necessarily the best. If you are looking for a high-quality scan, most multi-functional devices will leave you lacking. According to How to Geek, “many of these units also have extremely annoying quirks like the scanning function won’t work if the printer is out of ink/toner, or it’s difficult to scan things to send to another printer because the unit was designed with a copy mode intended to scan and print only to its own printer.” If you’re looking for speed though, they do offer one of the best options. Before buying a multi-functional device, many of which come with two-sided (duplex) or faster scanning, check out how many document pages per minute the scanner can handle.

Get a scanning app to do the heavy lifting

Nowadays, you really don’t need anything beyond what you probably have in your purse or pocket to start digitizing. Again, depending on the type of documents you’ll be scanning, there are a number of apps on the market that use your camera’s phone to convert files and photos into PDFs and JPGs. According to The New York Times, these types of scanning apps may also save your files to “an online storage site. Be sure to read the app’s privacy policy first so you know where your data is being stored and managed by the company.” According to another article from The New York Times, “the resulting image quality (from most apps) may (also) not be as good as with a hardware scanner, but (they) are inexpensive and you spare fragile prints from bright light.”

The Rosy smart app offers the strictest document security standards as well as the convenience of a multi-functional device in an app. It not only offers convenient editing features; it allows users to conveniently organize their documents and files with the swipe of a finger. Essentially, Rosy helps save time by removing a step from your organization process.

Use a digitizing service

A digitizing service takes the work out of scanning for you, but it does come with a price. There are services that specialize in paper  documents, but the most popular form of digitizing service is exclusive to photos. According to this writer, a photo-scanning service was totally worth it when it came to organizing family memories from years past. He organized his pictures by “event and size, and then put rubber bands around each of those ‘event’ stacks.” He mailed a prepaid box back to the service he chose, and the service mailed him back the originals and thumb drives with his photos digitally organized into folders. Due to cost, some people reserve a digitizing service for their most precious photos or documents, and then do the rest of the chore themselves.

Get it all with Rosy

There is one option available that brings together the best features of any digitization method, and that’s Rosy. Rosy, a new smart home digital assistant that offers a fully customizable experience, digitizes and edits photos and documents easily with a high-speed scanner. You can scan  up to 15 pages at a time and Rosy will guide you through a step-by-step editing and organization process.

Rosy can also detect what type of document you’re scanning using its proprietary AI technology, and you can literally tell it where you want to file those documents. Its companion app even makes it easier to view, organize and share on the go.

No matter what method you use, convenience and security should always be at the top of the list. For more information on how Rosy offers both, as well as a number of other features aimed at helping you digitize documents and organize your life, sign up for our waitlist at www.Rosy.com/waitlist.