The Paperless Puzzle

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Shawn Blanc has posted an interesting walk-through of his new paperless workflow:

I knew that a scanner, an image-to-PDF converter, an OCR app, and some clever folder hierarchy was all necessary, but it all seemed like more trouble than it was worth. Therefore, the majority of the paper documents that came through my home office still get filed away in my physical filing cabinet.

It wasn’t until recently when a comment from David Sparks got me re-motivated to research a better and more consistent way.

His setup is geared towards a household where a Mac is the primary computer (as Hazel is Mac-only software), but the basic concept could be modified or expanded to suit PC users and small businesses. Substitute aDoxie Go for a Fujitsu ScanSnap 1500, for example, and you’ve got a high-powered solution to deal with the reams of dead trees laying around the office.

The key to making this work well is creating a folder structure that scales over time and using software to automate the tedious task of organizing your incoming scans. On the Mac, Hazel is the way to go. PC users will miss out on some of Hazel’s advanced features, such as sorting files based on their contents, but Belvedere and Hygeia are worth a look.