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How should I scan documents into FileHold?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

When working with new customers we always get the question "How can I scan my documents into FileHold?" The answer is that there are several ways scanning can be accomplished with our software. There is no right or wrong way to scan into FileHold; you just need to decide which method will work best. In the remainder of this article, I will discuss the many ways of scanning into the document management system.

Scanning integration with the FileHold Desktop Application

Scanning integration with the FileHold Desktop Application (FDA) can be accomplished using different import methods depending on how you are scanning and the type of scanner being used. The diagram below gives a high level overview of these methods.

Scanning Integration with the FileHold Desktop Application

Scanning with network scanners

First let's look at scanning using a network scanner. The options for scanning with a network scanner and bringing the scanned images into FileHold are:

  1. Scan to network folder location and use Watched Folders to bring the images into FileHold.
  2. Scan and send the images to an email address. From Microsoft Outlook, add them to the repository using the integrated functionality.

Emailing the images and using the Microsoft Outlook integration is likely the easiest scenario. Many organizations have this type of functionality already configured. Using network folders could potentially prove difficult as that each person scanning would likely need their own network folder to scan into. Otherwise if several users were scanning and "watching" a single network folder location, the scanned images would not likely end up going to the correct person's inbox as the documents would go to whoever's FDA ran the watched folder import process first. You would need to check the capabilities of your network scanner to see if it can support scanning to multiple network folders.

There is a third option with a network scanner that is not shown in the diagram. This would involve scanning the documents and outputting the files in a format (such as TIFF) that can be processed by third party scanning software. This is not an ideal configuration however as it add extra steps in the scanning process.

Scanning with desktop scanners

Now let's look at using a desktop scanner. The options for scanning with a network scanner are:

  1. Use third party scanning software (such as EMC Captiva QuickScan Pro, Kodak Capture, ABBYY FlexiCapture, Kofax) to scan and process the images. The Manage Import tool in FDA imports the images and any indexed information.
  2. Scan to a local folder and used Watched Folders to bring the images into FileHold.

A desktop scanner is beneficial when you want to be able to process your documents using third party scanning software. Third party scanning software gives you the ability to process images such as adjusting the contrast or removing hole punches, separate a pile of paper into separate documents, read barcodes, perform full and zonal OCR, and many other advanced features. It also allows you to index your documents during the scanning process and then import the indexed values along with the PDFs and populate the metadata fields of your schemas in FileHold. There are some drawbacks to using third party scanning software such as cost of the software and hardware, the time it takes to set up "batches" in order to process your documents, and the learning curve of the scanning software.

If your scanner is not compatible with the third party scanning software or the cost of buying scanning licenses is too great, then scanning into a Watched Folder is a great option. Most scanners come with its own software that already has image processing features and full OCR. Users can view and tag the documents when the arrive into the FDA using an integrated FileHold viewer and our Click-to-Tag feature where you can click or rubber band the metadata field values for the scanned documents.

Scanning integration with the FileHold Web Client

The Web Client version of FileHold (via a web browser) has a great scanning feature called WebCap where documents can be scanned directly into the repository with any need for scanning software. All you need is a scanner that has a Twain driver and an internet connection. WebCap is beneficial in distributed office environments where a lot of scanning is needed. It's also helpful in situations where employees may be working out in the field and need to scan such items as receipts, invoices, or paperwork. The diagram below gives a high level overview of scanning with WebCap and the Web Client.

Scanning with WebCap and the Web Client

As much as we'd like to see most paper documents go away, it is unlikely that we are ever going to be able to stop every last piece of paper from crossing our desks.  That makes scanning essential and with FileHold, there is no shortage of methods for scanning paper documents and organizing them in an electronic format.

If you would like a demonstration of scanning into FileHold, contact a sales representative today.