Scanning to Your Computer – The Secret is the Software

Scanning is good!

It could be old photos or printed documents that you want to archive or share with other people.

Perhaps you just want to do a better job of file-keeping. I’ve begun a new personal policy that I am going to SCAN every piece of paper that comes to my home that I need to keep and then throw out the original and NOT put it into a file cabinet.

Scanning should be simple!

However, a really problematic situation with a customer became a great teachable moment over the past week.

Most of us can scan something one of two ways: through a separate scanner or through a multi-function printer that has scanning capability. Truth be told, unless you have a very specific reason for owning a standalone scanner, the multi-function printer will serve you just fine.

If you need to scan, HP and Epson multi-function printers (or scanners) are top bets. As always certain models are better than others (so please ask) and GENERALLY both of these companies include functional scanning software.

However, we just don’t know with each individual multi-function or scanner model which software was included. I mean what if it was a clearance model and no software is included?

So I will give advice here similar to what I say with Office software. If you are a casual Office user, then Open Office (Neo Office for Mac) is fine. However, if your peace of mind or livelihood depends on it — you need Microsoft Office.

If you scan once in a while, then you probably could trust the software included with a NEW HP or Epson machine. However, if your scanner / multi-function is older, not an HP or Epson, or you demand that it work smoothly each time — you need to buy real scanning software.

This will cost you between $40 and $100 depending on which you choose. Your machine should be compatible, but just make sure it is before you buy. You can check out the info on the software (PaperPort) and (VueScan) below.

Windows – PaperPort ($100): http://www.nuance.com/for-business/by-product/paperport/standard/index.htm
or Mac and Windows – VueScan ($40 or $80): http://www.hamrick.com/

* If I were you, I would say go with the Pro version of Vue Scan for $80 — because it guarantees you lifetime upgrades. Vue Scan also let’s you try before you buy. PaperPort would be better for a business sharing many documents.