Almost Paperless
March 22, 2010 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Help me scan my legal documents.

Three years ago, I went paperless. I now scan all my documents and it has changed my life. The only thing left in the file cabinet are my old legal sized documents (mortgage and real estate transactions). My printer/scanner/all-in-one doesn't handle legal sized paper. I called Kinkos and they offer legal scanning at $.80 a sheet (their self-scanners only handle letter sized). This is too costly for me as I have about 100 pages that need scanned.

I figure I have a few options:

1) Buy a new scanner (probably cost me about $200)
2) Find a company/service that will do it cheap

I'm looking for recommendations. Should I just bit the bullet and get a new scanner? If so, do you have a scanner you recommend? Do you know of a company that will do this for me for cheap?

Side information:

I live in Denver.
I don't anticipate needing to scan legal sized documents too frequently (if ever) in the future.
posted by shew to Technology (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have an Epson WorkForce 610 that has a document feeder and handles legal-sized paper no problem. It's about $100 on Amazon right now.
posted by squorch at 7:55 PM on March 22, 2010

We just bought a new printer/scanner specifically to handle legal-size docs. You need one with a document feeder. Ours is this one.
posted by raisingsand at 8:00 PM on March 22, 2010

Officedrop is a document management and scanning service that will let you physically send your paper documents and upload them to their service, and then manage the scanned files online. They have a two month free trial. I've never actually used them so there's two things you'll need to make sure of: that they do legal size (I'm assuming that they do because it's a service geared toward businesses) and that you can download your documents with ease during the trial without additional fees. Actually, I just realized the secure shredding of your documents (which I'm assuming you'd want) is an "optional" service, so you might at least have to pay for one month of service.

If you go the scanner route, the new Scansnap s1300 looks pretty cool, handles legal size.
posted by sharkfu at 8:22 PM on March 22, 2010

There should be legal reprographics companies in your area that typically serve law firms and do this sort of thing all the time for way, way cheaper than Kinkos.
posted by The World Famous at 8:26 PM on March 22, 2010

There are hundreds of companies that will do this for you, for perhaps 7 to 12 cents per page. A stack of 100 pages is quite small. Google will show you the way.
posted by yclipse at 8:27 PM on March 22, 2010

Hell, I bet that very same Kinko's has self-serve copiers that can reduce 8x14 to 8x11 paper. Then you can take it from there.
posted by yclipse at 8:33 PM on March 22, 2010

The Fujitsu Scansnap S300m is freaking out the nerds over at Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools site. It sounds awesome, just what you are looking for.
posted by Aquaman at 8:33 PM on March 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

I love my Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 so much that I would have babies with it if I could.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:33 PM on March 22, 2010

For a one-time deal you could easily just buy a scanner from a large mail-order vendor or big box, use it for a couple of days, then return it. It's not really ethical and I've never purchased equipment like that, but I'm just putting it out there. Another idea is to peruse Craigslist for a cheap scanner and Google it to make sure it handles legal-sized documents.
posted by crapmatic at 8:39 PM on March 22, 2010

shrew, check your memail.
posted by lilac girl at 8:40 PM on March 22, 2010

Seconding Crapmatic (I've done this before), and if you do buy one, YOU MUST buy the Scansnap S1300 or S1500 - you might even like it so much you keep it!
posted by Merlin144 at 8:47 PM on March 22, 2010

Just for clarity on the Fujitsu scansnap front since the model numbers can be confusing:

There are two sizes, the larger desktop size and the smaller travel size. The larger has a bigger page feeder (50 pages) and faster scanning while the smaller is portable, cheaper, and can be run from USB ports only but only has a 10 page auto document feeder.

The s1500 (PC) and s1500m (Mac) are the newest desktop size, replacing the older s500/s500m,s510,s510m.

The s1300 is the newest portable scanner and the first that doesn't have a specific PC/Mac version, replacing the older s300 & s300m.
posted by sharkfu at 7:14 AM on March 23, 2010

This sounds like the sort of situation where keeping the original paper is the best solution.

That said, I bought an HP Office Jet 6500 for just that sort of task, and its adf is capable of scanning legal size, and does so fairly competently.

You could also scan each page twice, first the top half and then the bottom half, and combine them into a BMP or TIFF inside an editing program. I think even MS Paint will do this, although you'd have to eyeball it. Something like photoshop would be perfect, because I think it lets you "see through" what you are drgging and dropping so you can line it up right on the first shot. Might even take less time than it would to go buy a new scanner and get it set up.
posted by gjc at 7:18 AM on March 23, 2010

My Visioneer Roadwarrior does legal size. I set it that way as the default, and use the auto-crop feature for smaller stuff.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 12:59 PM on March 23, 2010

Not quite the answer you may be looking for:

Why not use one of the paid services and send them in staggers to when you can afford them?

Or, go to a public library, there you may have access to a scanner that supports the same?

Place an ad on Craigslist for borrowing a scanner?

Try a UPS, or OfficeMax copy print service?

The visioneer roadwarrior I believe does not have a tray but is highly portable and more than the cost of office drop. The Fujitsu has a tray but bulkier and heavier.
posted by iNfo.Pump at 1:46 PM on March 24, 2010

One other thought. The company I work for has a photocopier which can scan to PDF and email the files across the network.

It's fast and industrial strength. Maybe a friendly organization near you has such a machine you can get access to for a few hours on a weekend or something?
posted by blue_wardrobe at 3:41 PM on March 24, 2010

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