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Document Scanner Apps vs Scanners for Desktop Decluttering

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November 6, 2020

Businesses generate thousands of pages of paperwork each year—and the filing, security, and management of these often-sensitive documents can be a significant drain on time and money. If your office is buried in years of old paperwork or you continuously struggle to find ways to manage important documents, digital document scanning is the perfect solution. 

Are you ready to make the leap from filing cabinets and desktop clutter to organized, digital files? Let's discuss your options. 

Whether you're looking for a one-time organizational strategy or choosing to go completely paperless, finding the correct tool for the job is important. There are two leading technologies for scanning: A document scanning app or a desktop document scanner

Already know that you want a document scanner? See the four questions you should be asking before purchase.

Document Scanner Apps

Document scanning apps have risen in popularity with the prevalence of personal mobile devices. The best apps can help you convert paperwork into PDFs for digital or online document storage.

Scanning a document with your mobile device is as easy as taking a picture or depositing a check. This means you can scan anything from receipts to statements of work (SOWs) and edit the file accordingly before saving. Some apps offer additional services for a small fee to help you get even more done, such as signing or cropping functionalities. 

Format

The format is critical for document usability post-scan, so look for apps that offer jpg and PDF formats. Most document scanning apps allow you to edit, save, and share your documents, and some even allow you to change file dimensions and color. Want to sign documents with your mobile device, as well? Adobe Scan offers a seamless experience for all your business needs.

Most apps in the Apple store don't have OCR, or optical character reader capabilities. This technology allows you to edit and search document text after it has been scanned. However, a range of Android apps offer this feature. 

Quality

Some apps like ScanBot boast superior scan quality. Once you've scanned the document of your choosing, you can choose from five color modes to perfect it. You can also crop and optimize scanned documents to a resolution of 200 dpi. Of course, scan quality is dependent on the light in your environment and your hand stability. 

Color is also a question for quality. While some documents don't require a color scan, this is essential for photo scanning. Black and white scanning is available in the free version of apps, but color scans are reserved for in-app purchases.

Cost

A quick search on the Google Play or Apple App stores reveals thousands of different scanning apps. Most are free with the option of in-app purchases. The free versions of document scanner apps are limiting in color, quality, and editing capabilities. For paid versions, prices range from a couple of dollars one time to a monthly subscription price. 

Efficiency

One area in which scanner apps are particularly limited is volume output. If you have stacks of documents to work through, this technology requires you to scan each side of each page manually. When you do the math for the number of sheets you have, you may find that this is not an efficient use of your time. 

Collaboration is also essential in business environments. Apps like CamScanner allow you to easily share documents to cloud storage and jointly edit documents for efficiency.

Security

Not all scanner apps provide the security necessary for your sensitive documents. However, if you would prefer an app for your project, Genius App is the way to go. The app protects them with built-in encryption and passwords (or Touch ID on iOS).

Document scanners vs scanner apps

Desktop Document Scanners

Document scanners allow you to securely preserve a digital copy of critical paperwork on your computer or in the cloud. This makes documentation easy to find, easy to manage, and easy to reproduce. To execute, simply feed a document through a multi-format scanner's tray or lay it on the bed of a flatbed scanner

Format

Document scanners allow you to save scanned documents in various formats, including TIFF, PDF, and JPG. One of the most remarkable features of a desktop document scanner is Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which creates a searchable PDF. The ability to CTRL-F PDF files to quickly find the information that you need cannot be understated. 

Quality

Document scanners offer a range of high-quality scanning options. Photo scanners are higher-end as the resolution is of particular importance. For office documents, you can get away with a less powerful model and still receive quality scans. All in all, desktop scanners will offer better resolution than scanner apps due to the technology, light, and stability control. 

Cost

Let's be honest: Document scanners are significantly more expensive than scanning apps. In order to justify this price to your management, it's essential to consider your goals with digitization. 

How many documents do you need to scan? Does your industry require security? Do you have time to hand-scan these documents? 

If you have a high volume of documents, require security, and have little extra time, a desktop scanner might just be your new best friend. Get a ballpark for pricing by browsing these Canon document scanners.

Efficiency

High-volume document scanners provide an efficient way to process large volumes of paperwork without sacrificing time or quality. You can simply leave a stack of documents on the tray and walk away while everything is scanned. This hands-off approach to scanning is powerful for busy professionals looking to digitize their work environments. 

Security

Critical documents should stay private. Industries such as financial, healthcare, government, and legal must process and maintain extensive amounts of sensitive documentation from thousands of clients and customers, sometimes for years. 

Document scanner models offer several solutions to scan, print, and fax documents securely, and track violations when they occur. Of course, you'll want to be connected to a secure Wi-Fi network, as well. 

As businesses continue to migrate to remote or impermanent work conditions, physical documents become more cumbersome to maintain. The question is, how will you digitize? Take your business and digital transformation goals into consideration to find the correct solution for you. Need a technology consultant to help you decide? BLM Technologies experts are at your disposal for all of your document scanning questions.

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