I’ve attempted to go paperless a number of times but it just seemed so much of a hassle. Sure, scanning paperwork meant I’d have a digital archive and if I splashed out on some OCR software they could be searchable, but the main stumbling block was the scanner.
I have an ageing HP DeskJet 4580. It’s one of those early (and cumbersome) scanner/printer/copier models that could be found in most supermarkets (which is where I got mine from, incidentally). It’s fairly cheap to run for printing and produces decent results but even though it supports wireless scanning, it’s an absolute chore.
- Load the paper on the flatbed, careful not to touch the glass (God forbid you ever touch the glass).
- Spend 30 seconds trying to remember whether the paper needs to be aligned to the left or to the right, only to remember that it doesn’t matter as I can just crop it later.
- Launch Image Capture, make sure I remember to either check or uncheck “combine PDFs” when needed otherwise everything I scan doesn’t end up in one huge document.
- Dick around with the DPI, scaling and quality.
- Give up as I’ve got better things to do.
When Doxie announced their Doxie One, I instantly pre-ordered it. It has one purpose which it does extremely well. There’s no settings, no glass, no orientation and, best of all, it does not require a computer to scan. It’s main advantage over a flatbed is you’re not limited by paper length. If you’ve ever received an extremely long receipt you’d want to keep a digital copy off, just feed it into the Doxie and it’ll keep scanning until it’s finished.
The Doxie One is bundled with a power adapter (with UK/US/EU plugs which is great for travelling), 2GB SD card, protective cover for scanning older photos (excellent idea), calibration sheet and cleaning brush. Optional accessories include different colour covers1 and a carry case. An added benefit of the Doxie scanners is that they can also be battery operated (4xAAA).
The Doxie has no internal memory so scans are saved to an SD card. The included2GB SD card is actually more than enough for most people and can either be placed into your Mac’s SD card slot or, alternatively, the Doxie has a mini-USB port where it essentially acts as an SD card reader.
Compare it to a traditional flatbed scanner…
- Power up the Doxie.
- Place the paper in the paper feed.
- Rinse and repeat.
Once done (and most scans take about 5-6 seconds), you simply hook up the Doxie or SD card and launch the Doxie app. Documents are presented in a thumbnail view where you can rename documents. Unlike Image Capture where you need to specify whether you want a multi-page PDF, you simply “staple” documents and it’ll merge them automatically.
I mainly scan text documents and Doxie includes OCR for making text searchable which works astonishingly well. Granted, the last time I used OCR was the nineties, so I can’t say whether Doxie’s OCR is that good or if OCR is better overall, but for every document I passed through, it had no problems.
But above all else, Doxie makes scanning fun. Seriously. It may sound like one of the most mundane tasks imaginable (just trailing behind data entry) but once you start using it, you’ll keep wanting to use it. Before you know it, you’re scanning anything, just for the sake of it.
If you scan documents even infrequently and going paperless is something you’ve seriously considered before, invest in a Doxie – you’ll thank yourself later if you do.
Don’t by the covers. They’re just like those GelaSkin stickers you get for your iPhone but nowhere near as good a fit. I bought them which includes 8 colours and found each and every one overlapped and were a little to wide for the scanner. This meant creases were inevitable but, more worryingly, because the adhesive side overhangs it means dirt just sticks to it (which is not something that does a scanner any good). ↩