Do you want to convert your paper documents to digital? Would you like to scan them yourself? If you do, be aware that your scanner configuration will directly impact your scanning time, storage costs, and data retrieval performance.
The default scan rate of a scanner right out-of-the-box is typically configured for full color at 300 DPI. If you are like most busy business professionals, you probably haven’t bothered to modify the default settings for your scanners, as well as other printers and devices. In most cases, scanning at 300 DPI is not necessary, unless your documents include high-definition photographs and you need to retain that high level of quality for enlargement purposes. The problem with scanning at 300 DPI or higher resolutions is that it creates unnecessarily large files.
DPI Affects Digital Document Size and Cost
File size is one of the most important factors to consider when scanning your documents. It impacts your storage and performance (uploading and downloading) requirements and costs. For example, scanning 100 CAD drawings at 200 DPI in black and white would require less than half the space (.5GB) required when scanning at 300 DPI in full color (1.2 GB). You can calculate image file sizes and storage requirements using this handy File Size Calculator from Image Access.
Storage and retrieval services, such as cloud-based Enterprise Content Management (ECM) services (e.g., ImageSilo), charge by the GB. This means that larger documents ultimately cost more per month. Obviously, it is to your advantage to avoid higher fees due to unnecessary file sizes.
Let’s look at hypothetical yet common example. “Acme Widgets” initially worked with a Document Management Service vendor to help convert paper documents in its engineering department to digital documents and stored them in the cloud. The next year, Acme decided to convert the rest of the company’s paper documents to digital documents using their own staff to scan the documents with the new scanners the company had bought.
However, after a few months, the CFO noticed that the cloud service storage and usage costs were significantly greater than expected. Analysis showed that the newly stored documents were significantly larger than similar documents scanned the previous year by the outside vendor. It was found that the company’s new scanners were still set to the default settings, which were set unnecessarily high for the documents being scanned.
The best practice to avoiding unnecessary storage/performance issues and costs associated with scanning, storing, and using digital documents is to scan your documents at 200 DPI in black and white monochrome unless there are high-res color images. Work with a trusted document management expert to advise on the appropriate scanner requirements and configuration settings for your next scanning project.