Digitizing old paper files fast

Things are getting a bit too hectic in my attic, me and father have been piling up boxes of office files there for years. The usual stuff, documents we weren’t sure whether we’ll start needing as soon as we were to throw them out (there was a Murphy law about that, I believe…), and others we are legally obligated to keep for a few years. Yet, now at the middle of 23’, it seems like it’s finally time to clear up the clutter.

So, we’re about to start combing through them and selecting which files are worth spending time on. It will be a slow process, I can tell right away. For the ones that make the cut, we’re thinking about digitizing them for hassle-free storage. We have an older scanner that I can bring in the house for this, so I suppose we’re saving there. I’ve been checking out guides about hard copy file management and hopefully, we will build a digital gallery in orderly fashion here :slight_smile:

However, I’m not sure which method to apply so that we do this as fast as possible. I’m pretty certain we’ll require software with OCR so that it could “understand” what a specific, freshly-scanned document is about, that seems unavoidable. However, I’d also appreciate it if we could set up a system of rules the app can implement, like automatically placing all files originating from a given year in one folder, or all files containing the word “Ohio” in another designated folder, etc.
Any tips?

I think you are creating work for yourself. Once you winnow the mountain down, the remainder should be small enough to just shove back in the attic.


If you’re hell bent on digitizing them, modern cell phones have automated image optical character recognition software built in.

In the picture window with the standard samsung app, it will automatically crop the image to the document, then extract the text.

Even if you just want pictures, using software like this only requires enough light for the sensor to see and a place to store the captured files.

The hardest work at that point is naming and sorting the files into your categories. If you have pre sorted, this will be all the easier.

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Here is a solution
Convince yourself that AI is improving so fast that if you just wait a year or two it will easily do the OCR and sorting for you.
Thus you can confidently wait a couple of years more before starting.



Rinse and repeat. :sunglasses: