What does DPI Mean?

DPI means dots per inch and is used in scanning to reference how much details is picked up by a scanner. The standard for document imaging has always been 200 dpi but most people, especially for OCR, scan at 300 dpi. Anything above this is usually overkill for documents and our advice would be to invest in a better scanner.


Should I scan in colour?

Depends what you are scanning. If you are scanning business documents, there is little need to scan in colour unless there is a lot of photos or the content isnt clearly showing up in Black & White mode. B&W saves a lot of disk space. A page of A4 in mono is only around 50K so a 4 drawer filing cabinet would be around 750MB in disk space, saved as say a PDF. Contrast that with colour which would be 24 times bigger.


Will a scanner do OCR?

OCR – Optical Character Recognition is the process of reading the text on a scanned page. The text could then be searchable insider the document (PDF) or exported into an editable form like a word document.

A document scanner is basically a high speed camera and it only creates images of the pages. The software you are using may have an OCR facility. The higher end applications will do an even better job of the OCR. Kofax Express as an example and Canon’s Capture Perfect offer the facility to Scan to searchable PDF.

When you are creating serious amounts of pages – say you have a 100 page per minute scanner running, you will need to create the OCR’d output as a post scanning operation. Otherwise the PC is more than likely going to hold up the scanner by buffering.


Can I separate files while scanning?

Yes. You need the right scanner and right software that support this. A scanning application may do this on it’s own and a QR code on a page will be enough to tell the software to create a new file.


What is a Patch Code?

A Patchcode is a sheet of paper for separation during scanning. Most scanners that support patch codes (Canon range for sure) will provide PDF files of the Patchcodes that you can print out and slip between the files to separate. This then enables batch scanning.


How are barcodes used in scanning?

Barcodes can be used to separated pages and name files when scanning. Most scanning applications will recognise a range of barcodes including 2D barcodes like PDF417 and QR Codes.


Whats the best Barcode for scanning?

We used to think PDF417 was best but now, we think QR Codes are better. Firstly they are open source so are free to use. Secondly they are quite easy to generate. If applying a QR Code to an everyday document like an invoice you will need code to generate it. As it stands they are quite rare on documents so good for scanning as common barcodes like 3 of 9 or Code 128 can cause problems if lots of people use them. You can end up splitting documents at the wrong time.

How can I scan large format plans or drawings?

You will need a large format scanner. You can buy or even hire one from us. Large format scanners will generally scan A0 or even 44 inches wide. Now these will be feeder scanners. You can get A2 flatbed scanners for artwork and fragile documents but anything bigger starts to get extremely rare and extremely expensive.


What’s the cheapest way to scan a book?

Cut the spine off and run it though a document scanner. Seriously this is the best way. If your book is precious and you need to keep it in tact you have a few other choices.

1) Scan it page by page on a flat bed scanner.
2) Get an over-head optical scanner and scan a double page to save a bit more time. Fujitsu do an afforable scanner – www.scanner-store.co.uk
3) If you have lots of books or a library of them then you may need to invest in a book scanner with automatic page turning.


Can I read bits of the page when I scan?

Yes you can. This is called Zonal OCR and works well when you want to scan documents that you have control over like your own POD’s. You will need a scanner and some software to manage all of this. You can use a standalone scanning application that creates say a PDF named to the value of the field or you can use a document management system like FileDirector that has the facility built in.


Can I scan invoices and get the data off?

Yes. You will need software that is setup to look for information on the page and then has the ability to lift it out. Take your supplier invoices, the variations of the words “invoice number" might be Invoice No, Invoice Num, Our Ref, Invoice Reference, Invoice:, Document Num, Document Ref etc. Its unbelievable hoe many variations of the same thing is used by different business across the UK let alone Europe. The key thing here is finding the labels. Once we find a label on the page we can find a value near it. Once we find the value we can export it.
Check out ABBYY FlexiCapture. This program does exactly this and can be used for a variety of documents or forms.


What does digital mailroom mean in scanning terms?

This is the terms we use for larger organisations that scan their morning post and have it recognised and sorted automatically. The components of a digital mailroom will be Capture, Recognise, Route, Notify, Archive. This works really well in law firms, banks, finance, insurance and local government where there is as huge amount of inbound daily post. Return on investments can be very quick as well. A digital mailroom will probably have some high speed scanners and powerful software that interacts with existing databases and systems.


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