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Tech Talker Goes Paperless

This week Tech Talker turns mountains of paper into a digital file cabinet! Here's how.

By
Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #89

How to Go Paperless

I have a nifty little document scanner that I picked up for $150 called the Doxie. This scanner is about the size of a water bottle, and is powered via a USB cable. It connects directly to my computer and allows me to quickly scan a bunch of documents. What's great about this scanner is that its software directly integrates with an awesome program called Evernote.

The problem I've always had with filing systems is what to do with documents that could go into 2 or 3 different folders?

Once the documents have been scanned, the Doxie software allows me to upload them directly into Evernote. If you're not familiar with Evernote, it's basically a free piece of software that allows you to organize and archive almost anything. It's great for storing notes, lists, ideas, text documents, pictures, audio, and pretty much everything else. Get-It-Done Guy often endorses Evernote, so you know it's good.

Evernote allows me to tag each document however I want it. For example, if I scanned in my car insurance paperwork I could give it a "Vehicle" tag and an "Insurance" tag. These tags can be whatever you want and are completely up to your own personal orginazational habits.

But the real magic happens when you need to look for something. So if I want to look up information about my car, I simply search my "Car" tag, which might bring up an invoice from a repair, a receipt for a new headlight, and then my car insurance paperwork. I could also then search my "Insurance" tag which would probably show documents relating to my life insurance, flood insurance, and you guessed it, my car insurance.

You can search for multiple tags, keywords, dates, and pretty much anything else. This allows you to find files extremely fast. What's even better is that Evernote is available for almost every device. So you can do the oganization quickly from your home computer, but then when you're out and about, you have your entire file cabinet at your fingertips.

See also: How to Organize Paperwork, Part 1 and Part 2

 

You're probably thinking that this must take forever to do, but actually it saves me a ton of time trying to figure out which folder a particular document belongs in. Generally, I'll take a few minutes each day to scan the mail and that's about it.

Now I mentioned at the beginning of the episode that some paper is necessary. Never throw out important documents such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, pink slips for vehicles, passports, and other essential documents. 

Tech Talker's 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for Going Paperless

Tip #1: Small document scanners allow you to scan on the go.

Tip #2: Using Evernote to organize all of your documents means that you can access your files no matter where you go, on any device.

Tip #3: Don't get rid of the really important pieces of paper in your life.

Well, that’s it for today! Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at techtalker.quickanddirtytips.com. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

 

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About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.