Streamlining my (somewhat) antiquated scanner


Shortly after starting in my current position, I became to feel inconvenienced at having to walk down the hallway to the common “copier room” in order to scan documents.  The room was approximately 25 feet away.  Aside from breaking up whatever administrative roll I was on by having to exert myself physically, the copier room often meant HIDEOUSLY PAINFUL SMALL TALK (not *always* perpetuated by my own need to avoid silence), stale coffee smell, uncomfortably avoiding cleaning up others’ messes, and trying to not be offended by a range of passive aggressive notes and “tips” roguishly posted around the room.

Side note, I no longer work on that floor – but am in the same position.  Relatively recently a notice was put out that the walls were being torn out and replaced to deal with “The Mould Issue.”  A particular vendor was mentioned so, of course, I web-searched the company.  They were coincidentally hiring for a couple temporary asbestos removers.  True story.

Meandering to the point… common copier = annoying.  My workflow = sacred.

Since I already had a desktop printer, I figured the smartest thing to do was to purchase an all-in-one device, replacing the printer and acquiring a scanner/copier in the process.  That was proven impossible.  My organization apparently permits networked *printers* but not networked *scanners* within offices (damn you, copier rooms!!! Your existence is perpetuated by the very bureaucracy you often undermine!).  My options were to move to an all-in-one that was non-networked or to keep a networked printer and obtain an off-the-network scanner.  Sharing the printer with my boss in the next room, the off-the-network printer option wasn’t ideal.

Thus, the HP Scanjet 5590 was obtained.

In 2004, PCMag gave it a 4/5 stars!

Regardless of having purchased it in 2014, much past its likely stale-date, I’ve actually become quite enamored with the rowdy [it’s loud] l’il [it’s really not little] beast.  Sometimes it’s a tease and I like that.  Mostly, I just wanted OCR capability.  Which it does handily.  [Hmm, Chrome suggested I change “handidly” to “handily.”  I seem to have been pronouncing that word incorrectly for quite some time.]  PCWorld thought the 559-er was pretty good, too.

Here’s where we get to some preemptive laziness.

The scanner scans as jpegs, rich text, searchable pdfs, etc. and can send any of these via email, to a drive (a shared network drive, even!  Haha… sigh), and you can save your scan settings as a shortcut.  “What does that mean for workflow?” you may ask.   Well, I repeatedly scan hard-copies of a few specific types of documents.  And I use a specific naming scheme.

E.g. I scan “RFA” forms that are tied to an individual.  I have the shortcut set-up for “RFA” and, once I put the document in the feeder (or on the glass if it’s one page and I’m in a hurry), I click “RFA Scan.” The choice to scan as a “searchable” OCR document is already chosen, the scan-to location is already pointed to, and I’m then prompted to name the file (which I already have “RFA_” entered as the filename in the shortcut setting) so then just add lastname_firstname_date.  It’s even set up to launch the file explorer of the folder where it’s been scanned to once I’ve reviewed the file and hit finish.

Rinse and repeat for other types of forms I use regularly.

What would normally be choosing scan options, scanning to a C: drive, renaming, and moving a file has been relegated to one click and typing the remainder of the name.

I didn’t set this up because I’m a hard worker.  I set this up because I’m so lazy that automation is next to godliness in certain instances.  Personally, I see great beauty in this particular shortened sequence.


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