I oversee projects being conducted at various contractors and get a lot of one or two page handouts with maps or other information that I want to capture into my OneNote filing system. Some people just don’t do digital files so I get stuck with paper copies of this information and I need to get it into OneNote where I can refer back to it occasionally and even write ink notes on it. Yesterday I finally broke down and picked up a cheap scanner to let me do just that and so far my impression is very good. The scanner is the Canon CanoScan LIDE500F and it is doing exactly what I need it to do and is very easy to use. It is a USB 2.0 scanner that draws all its power from the USB port so there is no adapter to fool with. The scanner is a flatbed scanner without an automatic document feeder (ADF), something I don’t need anyway. The neat thing about the 500F is the ability to use it in the attached upright stand which reduces the desktop space requirement to very little. It’s a great scanner that can scan to images, direct to the included ScanSoft OCR software or even direct to a multi-page PDF file. The latter is my preferred method to capture information into OneNote. It has a double hinged lid that allows copying from magazines or books which is really nice and something I am already finding very useful. There is a Copy button on the scanner that copies a document directly to my printer turning it into a simple copier.
To capture a page I scan the document to a PDF file and store it in the project directory where I keep all related documents. I open the PDF file in Adobe and print it to OneNote using the OneNote ImageWriter PowerToy which "prints" the image to a OneNote page. I can then ink all over the document in OneNote and even forward to others if necessary. If I have a document for which I don’t need a searchable PDF file then I scan the document in straight from OneNote using the INSERT | PICTURE menu item. It scans the document in straight into the active cursor position in OneNote and is cool because it creates a thumbnail of the page which can be enlarged with the cursor at any time and is scaled resolutely. My goal is to go completely paperless as much as possible and especially to have all project information with me on my Tablet PC at all times. This is working well so far so we’ll see if I can refine the process with experience. I am interested to hear from readers whatever methodology you use for capturing information via a scanner and using it on your PC so let me hear from you.