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Go Paperless With Doxie

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This post is part of a series called Going Paperless.
How to Start Going Paperless
Turn Evernote Into the Ultimate Paperless System With Scanned PDFs

If you’re wanting to reduce your paper clutter and digitise your old bank statements and receipts, a Doxie scanner is definitely the way to go. In this guide we’ll show you how to get the most from your Mac and Doxie.


What is Doxie?

Doxie is a range of mobile scanners. Unlike traditional scanners where you lift a lid and place the paper face down, Doxie scanners aren’t flatbeds. Instead, they work kind of like a fax machine - you place the paper at the edge of the scanner and Doxie feeds it through automatically. There’s an adjustable paper guide as well so you can scan anything from large magazine pages to printed till receipts.

Doxie is designed to let you do one thing - scan. Scanning shouldn’t be a chore and should be as simple as possible. Rather than fiddling with DPI, resolution and any other manner of settings that most scanning software has, Doxie manages all this automatically. The really neat trick is that unlike most scanners, you don’t need a computer to start scanning and it can even run off AAA batteries (making it truly mobile). It contains an SD card slot and Doxie automatically saves anything you scan to an SD card. You get a 2GB SD card in the box, too.

Doxie is a small portable scanner that makes going paperless painless!
Doxie is a small portable scanner that makes going paperless painless!

The accompanying Doxie scanning software makes importing scans a snap - we’ll delve into that a little later.

Doxie offer three models, the Doxie, Doxie One and Doxie Go. They’re priced at $149, $149 and $199 respectively.

Tip: Each Doxie has some unique features so to decide which is best for you, visit Doxie’s comparison guide.


Going Paperless

You probably hear this phrase being used quite a lot - it basically means rather than rummaging through lots of paperwork you have filed away (such as bank statements, receipts, letters - that sort of thing) you scan them in and create a digital copy that makes finding what you need really easy. This has a number of benefits that make it something everyone with any amount of paperwork should do…

A Digital Copy

Unless you have photocopies of all your documents, chances are you don’t have copies of them stored anywhere. Paper isn’t exactly known for it’s robustness and when it comes into contact with pretty much anything, it falls apart. Having a digital copy of important documents means should something unpleasant happen to your documents (or in terribly unfortunate circumstances, your home), you’ll have a digital copy of any documents you’d otherwise have lost. An example would be something like your birth certificate or important financial information.

Cloud Backup

There’s so many services that let you store documents in the cloud that it means should something happen to your documents or home that would’ve affected your Mac, your important documents are still backed up. Services such as Dropbox, Evernote and even Doxie’s own cloud service (more on that later) provide a way to not only sync them between devices but also offer a redundancy to something unfortunate happening.

Instant Search

How many times have you panicked because you couldn’t find an important document, only to discover it months later? I have. I thought I’d lost my car’s registration document, only to discover (after having to order a replacement) it filed under the “insurance” by mistake.

Text Search

Going paperless means not only finding documents by name but most scanning software (including the Doxie) offer something called OCR - Optical Character Recognition. This means that you’ll be able to search the text within most scanned documents. This alone makes going paperless a no-brainer.

Tip: When going paperless, this doesn’t mean you can throw away your existing documents! It just means you can file them away and forget about them. When you need to find something, you can search your Mac first.


Let’s Go Paperless!

Getting Ready

Make sure your Doxie is plugged in (or if you’re running on battery, that it’s charged) and you’ve got the latest version of Doxie for OS X (available from their downloads page) installed.

Tip: The remainder of this guide will assume you have a Doxie scanner (I use a Doxie One) and an SD card attached.

Step 1: Scan Your Document

To start scanning, simply turn the scanner on and wait for the power light to go solid green. When the light is flashing, it means it’s busy. When it’s solid, it’s ready to use.

Adjust the paper guide to the size of your document and place it face-up to the edge of the scanner, moving it slowly towards the feed. Doxie should then take the document and scan it. If it’s double sided or it’s several pages, scan the consecutive pages one at a time, in the same way you just scanned page one.

Scan your items with Doxie which will automatically save them to the SD card
Scan your items with Doxie which will automatically save them to the SD card

Step 2: Transfer to Your Mac

Launch the Doxie app on your Mac. You can transfer your scans to your Mac in two ways:

  • Connect your Doxie via USB
  • If you have a Doxie One and a Mac with a built-in SD card slot then you can simply place the card into the SD slot and not have to connect the scanner at all.
Doxie determines if the scans need to be imported
Doxie determines if the scans need to be imported

Whichever way you choose, the Doxie app will detect the scanned items and offer to import them. Before you import them you have the option of adjusting the import settings by clicking the Settings button. Similar to how iPhoto can handle importing photos, you can opt to have the Doxie app delete imports from the card and skip any duplicates.

You can specify how Doxie handles importing scanned items, similar to how iPhoto manages importing photos
You can specify how Doxie handles importing scanned items, similar to how iPhoto manages importing photos

Step 3: Name & Organise

What the Doxie app isn’t is a place to keep your scans stored. There’s no search function, no folders, no tagging. Think of the app as a sorting tray - the scanned items are ready for you to put away. Doxie has a numer of different ways to export your scanned items.

By default, the scanned items will have a naming convention along the lines of “Doxie 0002” or similar. Before you do anything with your scanned items, you can rename them very easily within the app. Simply click the name of the file for a text field to appear for you to change it.

What if you scanned in a 4-page letter? Doxie includes a “staple” feature that lets you easily combine multiple scanned items into one multi-page PDF. It’s as simple as selecting the scanned items that need to be stapled and then clicking the Staple button.

Tip: To save yourself accidentally setting the wrong page order (which can be fixed using Preview) scan your items in the correct order first.

Step 4: Export

Now we’ve got our scanned items named (and stapled), we can look to export them.

Export Formats

Doxie will save allow you to save documents as a JPEG or PNG (best for scanned photos) or as a PDF. What’s more, you can save the PDF with OCR as either a black & white or colour version. Unless you’re saving hand written documents, always use these options as they make the text searchable!

Tip: Unless you need to keep the colours of a document, B&W will provide much smaller file sizes.

OCR can take a few moments depending on how much text and how many pages there are. It still keeps the original scan within the PDF so the layout and appearance doesn’t change, but you’ll be able to highlight the text and copy it.

Doxie provides options to use OCR to read the text inside scanned documents and make it searchable
Doxie provides options to use OCR to read the text inside scanned documents and make it searchable

Save to Disc

We can simply save the scanned items to a folder on our Mac. Whether this is your Documents folder or Dropbox, you can use the Save button to do so. This will let us pick the desired format (PDF with our without OCR, JPEG, PNG etc) and the location to save the scanned item to.

Doxie can save scanned items in a variety of formats
Doxie can save scanned items in a variety of formats

Send

Doxie can also send scanned items to a number of different apps. By default, you can send scanned items to then be sent via AirDrop or iMessage. This list is also customisable and you can add further apps if you wish. If you find yourself scanning paperwork and then opening it in something like Preview, for example, then you can add Preview to the Send button using the Local Apps tab of Doxie’s Preferences.

Doxie allows you to configure favorite apps to send scanned items to
Doxie allows you to configure favorite apps to send scanned items to

In addition to picking your favourite apps to send scans to you can also customise the format of the scans before they reach the app. That way, you can make sure you send image files to apps such as Pixelmator and Photoshop and OCR’d documents to apps like Preview. If you’d like to use cloud services such as Evernote then this is where you’d set it up.

Sending scanned items to other apps can be quickly and easily done using the Send button
Sending scanned items to other apps can be quickly and easily done using the Send button

Tip: When you use the Send button, items aren’t saved anywhere - remember to save the document in the app you’ve sent it to.

Cloud

Services such as Dropbox, Basecamp and Flickr can be set up via the Cloud Apps section of Doxie’s Preferences. Once configured, you can use the Cloud button to send items to cloud services. Doxie currently supports the following services:

  • Basecamp
  • CloudApp
  • Dropbox
  • Flickr
  • Google Docs
  • Hello Fax
  • Scribd
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter

Just like with the Save option, you can customize the services to use a specific output format if you need to use OCR.

Doxie has built-in options to save to cloud services
Doxie has built-in options to save to cloud services

In addition to the cloud services above, Doxie provides its own called Doxie Cloud. It’s a free service for Doxie users though it’s not designed for long-term storage as files can only be saved for at most 1 year. When you upload a file to Doxie Cloud, you’re given a unique URL to access the file.

My Doxie is set up to save scanned items as a PDF (OCR B&W) to the /Doxie folder in Dropbox. As soon as I click Cloud and choose Dropbox, Doxie prompts me to confirm the file name and then saves it in the folder.

Scanned items can be saved to Dropbox easily using the Cloud button in Doxie
Scanned items can be saved to Dropbox easily using the Cloud button in Doxie

Once you’ve exported your scanned items, Doxie marks them with a green tick.

Doxie provides visual feedback when you’ve exported a scanned item
Doxie provides visual feedback when you’ve exported a scanned item

Upon quitting Doxie, the app will prompt if you’d like to delete the items you’ve exported or just to quit. Try to get into the habit of sorting through all your scanned items so you always start Doxie with a clean slate.

Doxie will prompt whether you want to clear out the temporary scans you’ve exported
Doxie will prompt whether you want to clear out the temporary scans you’ve exported

Wrapping Up

With Doxie you can reduce the amount of paper clutter on your desk and make any paperwork you have easy to find. This means you can file your paperwork away but with the knowledge that any document you might need in the future is just a few keystrokes away.

Do you have a paperless workflow? Perhaps you use a traditional flatbed scanner. Let us know how you work in the comments.

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