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Ltryptophan's avatar

What's a good way to scan piles of old documents?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10271points) January 26th, 2011

Here’s a pile, there’s a pile, everywhere’s a pile pile…old ltryptophan had a farm eieio.

With a magazine here, and a resume there, here’s a card, there’s a stub, everywhere a dead tree…

Ten years into the new century, I want to be clutter free.

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8 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Get your own scanner and devote fifteen minutes a day to scanning things in. If you have a sheet feeder scanner, that will probably save some time. Or you could place the scanner next to wherever it is you watch your TV and feed stuff in during commercials.

crisw's avatar

I can recommend ScanSnap scanners – they are unbelievably fast, compared to flatbed scanners. They can scan pages as fast as you can feed them in.

jerv's avatar

@crisw… but they cost far more and cannot handle magazines unless you cut the pages out. They also cannot handle non-standard sized originals or stiff stock like cards and photos. Flatbed scanners are more labor intensive, but they are also more versatile and far cheaper.

I think it depends a bit on what sort of originals we are talking here, but unless all of the stuff you want to scan is normal-sized sheets of regular paper, I would advise against a document feeder unless it also has a flatbed option. Some can handle odd sizes, but that ability is not universal. I would also recommend against them if you are on a budget.

That said, they are useful, and if you have the money then there is nothing wrong with them for most scanning needs. It’s just that, as seems the norm, my needs are different and therefore a document feeding scanner makes no sense for me.

crisw's avatar


“They also cannot handle non-standard sized originals or stiff stock like cards and photos. ”

I have scanned hundreds of photos with a ScanSnap; it does just fine.

jerv's avatar

@crisw It depends on the photo.
I have some old ones that would not survive a trip through the feeder; too brittle. I have others that are rather thick (mostly Polaroid) and thus stiffer than your normal, modern photo paper and thus likely to jam. For normal photos, you are correct though. It’s just that I am assuming that not all of the OP’s pics are printed on normal, modern photo paper.
BTW, how well do SnapScans handle cardstock? I know some printers and document feeders (especially the cheaper ones) have issues with the thick stuff. And can it take a whole magazine or book, spine and all? I have yet to see a document feeder that can take a paperback copy of Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, thus part of my bias against feeders (at least those without a flatbed option).

Again, it depends on what you are scanning in.

AshlynM's avatar

There are scanners out there that can handle big volume of documents at one time.

This list may be able to help you. It may depend on how much money you’re willing to spend.

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