Scanning project tips coming in hot

Beatiful BBQ ribs.

Tons of offices are looking to reduce the piles of paper lying around. Here a few tips hot off the grill to help plan your next scanning project that I came up with while testing out my new smoker last weekend.

Start with a comprehensive document scanning plan

Smoking ribs and chicken is a long, arduous process. I had to determine the type of meat to cook, which rubs and sauces to use, and how much time would be required for each.

In your case, start by figuring out what documents you should scan, what format to scan them in, and which index fields need to be captured to make the data meaningful.

Most businesses don’t scan every document in their possession. They scan what needs to be kept long-term and what is accessed most frequently.

Check your retention schedule to determine how long each record type should be kept. Then find out which collection of records would provide the most benefit in electronic format.

Make sure you have an airtight plan for naming conventions and required indexing fields. This important step should be done “low-and-slow” to ensure success.

How much paper do you have to scan?

You should get an idea of the volume of paper you have before starting a project. Don’t be like me and end up with trays of leftover ribs. I severely overestimated how much my guests would like my cooking eat.

A rule of thumb is that each inch of paper has about 200 pages. A standard box holds around 2,500 pieces of paper.

How do you prep documents for scanning?

If you don’t take special care when preparing food, a Waitr driver might be paying you a visit. Prepping paper for scanning is no different. You can’t just toss a pile of paper on a scanner and expect a quality output of digital files.

You need to remove the paper from folders or books, take out staples and bindings, smooth-out dog-eared pages, and tape down odd-sized documents to standard pieces of paper.

After they are scanned, you have to re-prep each page to its original format - staples and all - unless you are sending them for destruction. Scanning vendors typically consider these factors when delivering pricing.

Should I scan my own paper or leave it to the pros?

My guests begrudgingly ate my cooking to keep my feelings intact. I could tell they were ready to call in delivery though. A lot of companies set up a scanning department and have great success. Some fail miserably for a variety of reasons.

If your company doesn’t have the right recipe for scanning your documents, reach out to a team of master chefs by emailing us at