Piles to paperless: portable & phone scanner app options
Despite living in a digitized world where businesses across most major industries are going paperless, the reality is paperwork and the need to scan pertinent documents is still a part of everyday life.The struggle is real; particularly for all the busy mortgage brokers meeting with clients and clients unable to scan their own T4s or bank statements when time is of the essence.
So, what are your options? Lugging around that trusty 300-pound all-in-one printer/scanner you’ve been using for ten years isn’t one of them. Fortunately, there are some travel-friendly, portable scanners on the market capable of scanning piles of paperwork, and phone scanner apps that can conveniently shoot and convert important documents info PDFs on the fly.
Below, we highlight some options – four portable scanners brokers can stow in their bags and three free phone apps.
Portable scanners you can travel with
Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i
Approx. Price: $380
Considered one of the best portable scanners on the market, this option won’t come cheap at around $380. However, with an auto-feeder sensing the document’s size and colour, and ability to digitize up to 12 black and white sheets double-sided per minute, it is a go-to choice for those with higher budgets. Power comes via AC adaptor or USB.
- Small and streamlined
- Scans 12 colour/b&w docs double-sided per minute
- Wider dimensions than competitors
- No battery power option
Epson WorkForce ES-300W
Approx. Price: $365
If speed is important, this portable model goes toe-to-toe with larger full-size scanners, digitizing up to 25 pages per minute (PPM) and 50 images per minute (IPM). It’s wireless, comes with free Epson software bundle, and the auto feeder will scan up to 20 pages.
- Fastest scan speeds in its class (up to 25 ppm/50 ipm)
- Free software bundle included
- Batteries for power source, in addition to AC and USB
- On the larger side
Canon CanoScan LiDE 400
Unlike the previous LiDE 300 offering high-quality photo scans, the new 400 focuses on improved text document scanning. Significantly less expensive compared to the previous two options, this model is a flatbed scanner, so there’s no page feeder. With 4800 x 4800 dpi resolution and 8 second high-speed scanning, the LiDE 400 won’t compromise quality, especially if there’s a need to digitize images.
Approx. Price: $100
- Improved document scanning and vibrant photo scans
- Comes with upright kickstand to save space
- Flatbed style scanner so one sheet at a time
- Can’t scan legal paper size (8.5 x 11.7 maximum)
Doxie Go SE
Taking wireless to another level, brokers can scan documents without their laptops. Allowing up to 400 pages per charge via rechargeable battery and storing up to 4000 pages in the built-in memory before needing to sync, the Go SE will scan full-colour docs in 8 seconds at up to 600 dpi. Ships with Amazon Software and the OCR technology recognizes the text in your document to create multi-page searchable PDFs. For more bells and whistles, there’s also the Doxie Q for approximately $325.
Approx. Price: $250
- No computer required
- Stores up to 4000 pages in internal memory
- Compact size
- No built-in WIFI
- Might be worth stepping up to the Doxie Q model
3 popular phone scanner apps
From mortgage professionals scanning client docs to everyday users looking to convert receipts, business cards, or restaurant menus into a PDF, it is no surprise our mobile phones can double as reliable, high-quality scanning devices.
Best part? The top scanner apps are free and typically offer a premium subscription if you need more features. You have plenty of options but you’ll find three of the most popular apps below.
Adobe Scan: available for both Android and iOS, Scan is a popular choice to keep piles of paper off the desk. Each digitized document converts to PDF and automatically uploaded to Adobe Cloud Document for safe keeping. A free app with no premium subscription available, Adobe Scan is a no-frills option void of the extra features you’d find with the apps listed below. Cost: free.
CamScanner: Downloaded nearly 400-million times worldwide, CamScanner will quickly digitize a document and extract texts from an image. The advanced document editing feature will make annotations when needed, and brokers can set password protection when sharing more confidential assets. Cost: free with premium subscription option.
Scanbot SDK: Similar to CamScanner, Scanbot is another popular, free mobile scanner (pro version available). One advantage of this app is the ability to create and store files in folders. The Document Scanner SDK feature simply asks you to hover your phone over the doc, then converts the file into either PDF, JPG, PNG, or TIFF file formats. What if your papers are crumpled or have reflections? The app’s image filters will take care of that. Cost: free with pro subscription option.
Portable scanners are a pricey option but will scan stacks of papers, and looks more professional opposed to pulling out that phone to snap a few photos. On the other hand, the cost and convenience of always having a scanning machine in your pocket makes today’s mobile apps remarkably efficient and will do the job when less paperwork needs your attention.