Don’t File Your Papers – Scan Them!

There are some upsides and downsides to scanning paperwork and saving them onto your computer.


Scanning documents saves you space and also makes searching documents easy—but there are downsides too.

The nice thing about organizing files in your computer is that they never take up more office space. So why not move your other papers onto your computer too?

Using a scanner, you can translate papers into image files that live on your computer. This provides a number of benefits:

  • Scanning saves space—you don’t have to fill your office with files.
  • Once papers are in electronic format, they can be searched just like you would search for any other document on your computer, making it a lot easier to find and retrieve the information you’re looking for.

One of the downsides of scanning, however, is that it can be quite time consuming. It can take hours to scan all the documents contained in the many drawers of files you might have. There are services that can do the scanning for you, but they can be costly.

If you decide the pros outweigh the cons, you definitely want to weed through and organize the documents that you have before you begin the process. There is no point scanning documents that you no longer want, need, or use.

Buying a scanner: A good, high-speed desktop scanner will generally cost between $300 and $500. There are cheaper scanners, but they are slower and can’t scan many documents in one go. If you’re planning on reducing your paper on an ongoing basis it’s helpful to have a scanner that sits on your desk at all times.

Hiring a scanning service: Scanning services usually cost between 5 and 20 cents per page. A typical file box worth of documents will cost a few hundred dollars to have scanned. So depending on how much you need scanned and how frequently you plan on doing your scanning yourself, one or the other option might be a better fit for you.

Scanners can be extremely effective tools for managing your paper on an ongoing basis. If you go down the scanning route, know that it’s a commitment. The papers won’t jump into the scanner and scan themselves for you. Have a set schedule for when you’re going to scan your documents—whether it’s at the end of every week or maybe a few minutes at the end of each day.

If you’re wondering how to implement these strategies, we’d be happy to chat with you. Contact us for a complimentary strategy session by going to

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