Getting the right scanner is key if you want to have a smooth-running paperless law practice. Besides having the right paperless office scanner, there are other important steps.
If you yearn for a paperless law practice, listen to what St. Louis attorney Todd Hendrickson had to say in a recent Above The Law article.
“You can’t practice law without paper — that isn’t possible,” Todd Hendrickson explains. “But having as little paper as possible just makes things simpler.
Obviously, I agree. As I’ve pointed out before, the notion that a paperless law practice means “zero paper” is a myth.
If you’re a litigator then I suggest you read the whole interview with Todd. Very interesting, and enlightening stuff.
Do you sometimes fantasize of smashing printers?
Well, you are NOT alone. Printer smashing is quite popular, actually.
Printer rage was first celebrated in the 1999 comedy Office Space.
Perhaps you’ll enjoy this short clip from the movie (but mute the sound if you’re at work, or offended by gangsta rap).
In the nearly 20 years after Office Space came out a lot has changed in the world of technology: smartphones, pervasive Wi-Fi, self-driving cars, and personal drones.
But, one tech device has not changed: the lowly printer. Printers are still frustrating the hell out of office workers.
But guess what is new in the world of printers?
Companies planning corporate retreats with “team bonding exercises” centered on printer bashing. Crazy, but true.
In fact, the Wall St. Journal reported today that this is part of a whole new service industry. Have you heard of “rage rooms”?
Well, according to the WSJ, these are “springing up all over the country for customers to vent their anger by smashing objects, including dishes and old furniture.”
And guess which objects are most in-demand for customers to vent on?
Donna Alexander, the proprietor of the Anger Room in Dallas, can barely keep her business stocked with printers for customers to crush.
How long does it take to smash a printer, you might ask?
Well here’s a fun factoid from the Wall St. Journal article: “For the average person, it takes at least 10 good whacks…”
And another interesting blurb from the WSJ article: “When you smash [a printer], it creates glass fireworks.”
This, as they say, is “news you can use.”
So, when New Years rolls around in a few months, don’t just buy fireworks. Pick up a few printers too.
Mike Judge, the creator of Office Space hasn’t changed his mind: “Printers are still horrible,” he said when interviewed by the Wall St. Journal.
What about you? What’s your opinion of your office printer?
Leave a comment below. Let us know the brand and model you hate (or love, if you have a good one), and why.
Small law firms that own the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap scanner (click here to learn why it’s the best one) should use optimal scanner settings for maximum efficiency.
I’ll quickly explain what my optimal scanner settings are. Then I’ll tell you about an exceptional guidebook that you absolutely must have to get the most out of your ScanSnap scanner.
I have the iX500 model, which is the latest one. And I use it with my Mac computer. But the setup is basically the same for PCs.
Optimal Scanner Settings
Start by opening up the Preference pane for the scanner, and then you’ll see a box like the one below.
ScanSnap Preference Pane
Here’s a rundown on what each of the numbered options is all about.
1. Scanner: If you have more than one ScanSnap scanner connected to your computer, you can pick the one you want to use here. I have two scanners, but you’ll probably only have one in which case this option will be automatically set for you.
2. Profile: You can set up more than one scanning profile. For example, do you generally scan to black & white, but sometimes want to scan in color? Here’s where you can pick from among the preset options you use most. The things numbered from 4 to 11 are the options you’ll select as part of a scanning “Profile.”
3. Quick Menu: I uncheck this option and leave it unchecked. I prefer to tailor my scanning options via the “Profile” (see #2 above).
4. Application: this is where you tell the ScanSnap which application you want to scan to (if you look at #10 you’ll see I have this scanner set to scan to Evernote). And #11 is where you can tweak settings particular to a given application.
You can scan to Adobe Acrobat or any application you want. After the scan is complete you’ll see the document in the application. And the document will have been automatically saved, which is what the next option is about.
5. Save: this option is where you tell the scanner (#1) where to save the resulting PDF; you’ll almost always be scanning to a PDF document. You can see the file-path displayed in the screenshot below (#2), or browse for a new location if you need to change it. And finally, you can specify the File Name Format. I use the “Year-Month-Day-Hours-Minutes-Seconds” option (see #3 below) and I use a dash as the separator.
ScanSnap “Save” Settings
6. Scanning: here you specify image quality, color mode, scanning side, and image rotation. (I’ll explain the reason for my settings after this screenshot.
ScanSnap “Scanning” settings
I have my scanner set to automatically set the quality and color mode.
The “duplex” setting means that the scanner will automatically scan both sides of a page in one pass, and selecting the checkbox that says “Blank page removal” means that if the back of a page is blank that page will be tossed out.
I let the scanner automatically rotate any pages that were put in upside down so that they’re saved in the proper orientation.
The checkbox labeled “Continue scanning after last page” is unchecked because most of my documents are less than 50 pages and, therefore, fit in the automatic document feeder. If I had a document longer than 50 pages I’d select this option, and then the scanner would wait after each batch to let me put in more documents. I could set this as a “Profile” but I choose not to.
7. File Option: You have two choices, PDF or JPEG. You’ll always use PDF so once you set this up you’ll never change it.
8. Paper: the default is for the scanner to automatically detect the paper size, and I leave it in the default option and never mess with it.
9. Compression: another option that I leave in the default setting.
So those are my optimal scanner settings. Yours will probably be slightly different, but at least now you know something about the basic options.
Another Great Resource for Going Paperless
As you become more proficient with the basic operation of the ScanSnap I suggest you visit Brooks Duncan’s excellent DocumentSnap website and pick up a copy of his very affordable ScanSnap Guide. He has a version for both the PC and the Mac, and the cost is less than a cup of good coffee.
After reading his guide, you’ll absolutely know how to create the optimal scanner settings for your Fujitsu ScanSnap.
Brooks is a tech-savvy accountant and a really nice guy. His website is a fantastic resource for any professional that wants to become more efficient by getting rid of paper, and his free email newsletter is a must-read as well.
If you want to learn more click here to sign up for our free email course on paperless lawyering, which starts with us giving you a 1-page guide called 5 Keys to Creating a Paperless Law Office.
While writing Acrobat in One Hour for Legal Professionals, I created some checklists for common PDF workflows for lawyers and legal professionals.
The litigation workflows are based on my personal experiences, and include the following:
- Processing documents received for production
- Preparing PDF for e-filing
- Processing PDFs e-filed by other parties
- Responding to Interrogatory requests
- Preparing a PDF Trial Notebook
I’m not a transactional attorney, but I created a checklist for making a PDF closing binder as well. I’d love feedback from transactional folks on what kinds of PDF workflows they encounter. I plan to update the Workflow Checklist from time to time.
If you want a PDF copy of the Workflow Checklist, click here.
I have tried many different programs for viewing or manipulating PDFs, but in the end, I always stick with Adobe Acrobat. It’s not cheap, and its rich feature set makes it daunting for new users. There are some things about Acrobat that annoy veteran users, including me. It occurs to me that perhaps if I start posting some of my frustrations it will prompt others to share their annoyances as well.
The goal is not to mindlessly rant, but to collect feedback in an open, transparent way. Perhaps Adobe will take note and then fix some of these annoyances (especially the ones that many users agree are a problem) in future versions of Acrobat. I think software companies are under pressure to create new versions each year or two, and, with mature products like Acrobat, they run out of useful ideas for improving the program and do silly things instead.
Adobe massively changed their user interface in version 10 (also called Acrobat X, so they also changed their naming convention for the product itself, which is also annoying). The new user interface was supposed to help new users figure out the program. I don’t know if the new interface helped new users, but I know it annoyed the hell out of experienced users. In fact, I don’t know one person who thinks that the UI that emerged out of Acrobat X was helpful.
So, I’m throwing down the gauntlet: if you have a pet peeve about Acrobat and would like to share it let me know by emailing me at email@example.com. I am more interested in hearing from loyal Acrobat users who use the software extensively but have a few things that annoy them. I’m not interested in generalized bashing of Adobe or Acrobat.