How to Quickly Convert a Paper Document to Word File Using ScanSnap

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How to Quickly Convert a Paper Document to Word File Using ScanSnap

You’re sitting at your desk holding a document that needs to be delivered immediately. It’s after 7pm and your secretary has left for the day. Since you don’t know where the original file is saved, the available options are very limited. So, you start the hunt for the poor soul left that is not only working late but will now be working even later since they will be retyping the entire document.

Has this ever happened to you? In 2002 when I was working in a law firm, this was a regular occurrence I know because I was the poor soul that always ended up retyping documents with an attorney breathing down my neck.

Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners convert paper documents to Microsoft Word files with just the press of a button. Not only does it completely recreate the document, it preserves the formatting. Bullet points, indenting, and spacing are correctly inserted to produce a near mirror replica of the original paper document.

Here’s how to quickly convert a paper document into a Word file:

Install ABBYY FineReader
ScanSnap comes with a DVD to install all the necessary software. The key piece to converting paper documents to Microsoft Word files is ABBYY FineReader. After the software installation is complete, configure the ScanSnap settings to begin converting.

Configure ScanSnap Settings
On the Applications tab of the ScanSnap menu, change the application to ABBYY Scan to Word. Only use this setting when you want to covert a paper document into a Word file and change it back to the default setting when complete; otherwise, everything you do will be scanning to Word.

Next, configure the settings in the ABBYY window by clicking on the Application Settings button. Check the boxes to “Keep line breaks” and “Highlight unreliably recognized characters”; all other options should be left. Click OK to close the window.

Lastly, click on the Scanning tab. My experiences have shown that setting Image Quality to “Best” yields optimum results. I recommend not choosing “Excellent” or “Better”; both of which seem to do strange things to the final document. If there are any issues with the resulting scan, change this setting to “Normal”.

Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners are the most popular line of scanners in the legal vertical because of their ability to convert a large stack of documents into a PDF file with the press of a button; quickly recreating Word files from paper documents is the icing on the cake. Plus, ScanSnap has the same capacities with Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint documents.

Craig Bayer gets technology. After earning degrees in both History and Political Science he went to work in IT at a Law Firm while studying for the LSAT. But practicing law didn’t turn out to be as enticing as working with technology. This lead to his current role as a legal software consultant; helping professional services firms build better companies through effective technology solutions.