Tiny Non-Twain PDF Scanner to Digitize My Office?

The [Scansnap] promises to be my key to digitizing the part of my life that’s piles and piles of paper. File cabinets full, piles of notes, notebooks full of stuff. I’ve been scanning for years with my HP, but it’s very time consuming. I dig [Pixily] and [Shoeboxed], but the volume I have to scan is enormous. It’s a room full. And I’m looking for economy, too, so I figure if I scan a couple of boxes of papers, that pays for a ScanSnap. Then we’ll just see how well it works for ongoing work like scanning receipts, and pretty much anything that goes on paper.

Thing is, this isn’t a TWAIN scanner – it’s not for gifs and jpgs. It’s not for photos. It does one thing incredibly well and fast. Make PDFs from any documents. Scans both sides at once. OCRs it, if you want – without human intervention – it’s not your grandfather’s OCR. And that makes those PDFs searchable by Google Desktop. But I figure 99% of what I scan isn’t family photos. I’ll get a cheap Canoscan for that, when it goes on sale [update: got it – love it]. But this will be my everything but photos scanner.

Update 11/24/2010: Still using the ScanSnap as my most favored technical device of all time. I love it like I love my 3rd monitor. It’s just a huge emotional and practical relief. I can’t see ever having an office without one. It’s small – I could carry it around with one hand, it’s eminently handy, and I’ve started scanning business cards when I receive them, into a csv that uploads into my Google contacts. I do wish they synced directly, but the speed and flexibility of profiles on this thing is unbeatable. And I’ve scanned it’s purchase price many, many times over by now. Still going strong. I’d buy another one in a heartbeat. Also, I’m going to use Pixily (now OfficeDrop) once more for emptying the file cabinets all at once. It’s 10cents/image, so basically like photocopying all the sides. I have done some really massive jobs with the Scansnap – giant manuscripts in droves, but this is even more than that, so I’m using the prepaid boxes and going to see it done. The Scansnap will keep picking up the rest. I use it pretty much daily.

Experiment: Success!

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