Document Imaging Questions and Answers
Q. What is document imaging?
Document Imaging refers to the process of capturing the image of a paper
document and turning it into digital form. A document scanner is usually
used for capturing the document image, although other imaging methods
are also available.
Once scanned or imported, documents are indexed using one or more
parameters (e.g. invoice number) and stored in an electronic archive
such as a hard drive. The indexes will be used later to find the desired
document images. Images stored in the electronic archive can be
retrieved, viewed, printed and emailed.
Q. What is document management?
Document Management refers to the systematic organizing, tracking,
storing and retrieving of documents and files. A computerized document
management system can manage not only document image files but also many
kinds of digital files.
Q. Is document management only for very
A. Electronic document imaging systems used to be very
expensive. Prices of a sophisticated document imaging systems range
from tens of thousands of U.S. dollars to hundreds of thousands of
dollars. Only large companies could afford owning such systems. That
is why there are third-party document imaging service bureaus who
provide outside service to companies which could not afford to have
their own systems.
As prices of hardware and software have come down a lot, medium and
small companies can now afford to enjoy the benefits of document
imaging and management.
Q. How can a document imaging & management system benefit
A. By turning your paper documents into
compressed electronic files, you can make your documents more
manageable, eliminating the clutter of paper.
Using the search function of a document imaging & management system, you can save time when
looking for your files (document images or other digital files). The
chance of losing mis-filed documents is minimized. Record keeping
becomes an easy task. Related documents can be grouped together for
The bottom-line is that you will save money and time by having an
efficient information and document management system.
Q. What are examples of document imaging & management applications?
A. The scope of application is limited only by your
imagination and observation. Eamples:
- Personnel department: For keeping resume records, sick leave
records, promotion records, salary pay-stub, etc.
- Accounting department: For keeping bank check images (payment
processing), invoices, tax forms, expense report forms, etc.
Sales department: For keeping hand-written quotations, sales notes.
For storing customer business cards, product brochures,
presentation materials, etc.
- Engineering department: For organizing product design specs. For
managing drawing files of projects, etc.
- Shipping department: For keeping whole sets of shipping
- Customer service department: For tracking warranty cards, RMA
- Hospitals, clinics and doctor’s office: For keeping patients
records, prescription records.
- Lawyer’s office: For keeping legal correspondence, contracts,
case records, etc.
- Insurance underwriters, brokers and agents: For keeping policy
copies and claim forms.
- Clubs and associations: For tracking members records.
- Banks and credit unions: For keeping loan application and
approval forms, etc.
Q. How can I find a document that I've saved in a document
A. When you originally saved the document, you would have
entered some key information that is indexed in order to find a
specific document when using the search engine of a document imaging &
Q. Do I have to use any particular brand
or model of scanner ?
A. Any standard TWAIN compliant scanner should work with most
document imaging software without any problem. There are other scanner
drivers such as ISIS but these are usually a lot more expensive than
Also the faster the scanner, the more
benefit you will get from the document imaging system. Your choice of
scanner usually depends on
the volume of paper documents to be scanned per day. The following are some
general guidelines for scanner speeds:
Personal and SOHO use: 4 to 10 PPM (Pages Per Minute)
Small volume: 15 to 20 PPM
Moderately large volumes (e.g. law firms): 45 to 50 PPM
High volumes: 100+ PPM
Scanners with automatic paper feed are recommended. Duplex scanners
are useful if you need to scan both sides of two-sided documents.
Q. Should I save my images in color or black & white?
A. Color images take up more storage space than black & white
ones. Therefore, when scanning documents where color is not a critical
issue, black & white
mode is recommended.
Q. What resolution should I set my scanner to keep my file size
A. For most documents you seldom have to exceed 200 dpi (Dots
Per Inch). For
images that will be used with an OCR program, try to scan at 300 dpi
for best character recognition results, although 200 dpi is also often used
for OCR. The
higher the dpi, the bigger the file.
Note: Cropping or deleting unwanted or unused areas around the
actual image or information you want to save will also reduce the file
Q. What if my image didn't scan well?
A. A good document imaging system usually provides you with many tools and filters to
correct and change the look of your images. Options like rotate, crop,
flip, invert, brightness, contrast, gamma correction to name just a
few, will help you enhance your image quality.
Alternatively you can rescan the document. Some modern scanners
come with built-in auto-image correction feature.
Q. Can I add new pages or delete existing pages from my document
A. A good document imaging system usually allows you to add
pages or remove pages from your documents whenever necessary.