Digitizing Your Paper Manuals

Trying to go paperless here. While I can definitely see the prize to be won, I am finding the process quite cumbersome. It has been made more difficult by the unanticipated rupture of a main water line and unwanted intrusion of a great deal of water into my basement office where Scan Central previously was located. While I struggle with insurance adjusters (nothing like being on the other side of the fence), my scanning project has hit “hold” status.

So, I of course was attracted to an article over at Apartment Therapy about finding and saving product manuals into the iPad-friendly iBooks format. This is a very cool process that doesn’t require a scanner.

If you have ever lost a manual and needed to recover it, you probably are familiar with the process of searching for the manual online in your favorite search engine of choice. For the most part, I have been successful in finding the manuals I have needed. Expand that effort to include all manuals you may someday need (take a look at that bursting at the seams paper manual file for a decent start on your list). Search, find and download. Then toss the paper.

Open iTunes, hit the File Menu and select Add To Library. Find the documents you have downloaded and select them. Grab the iPad and connect it – make sure you have books selected to sync and check all those manuals you captured. After they hit the iPad, slot them all into a Collection / Category within iBooks on the iPad itself. After you organize within iBooks, sync again and that organization will transfer back into iTunes for easy filing and reference. Because they are already saved on the desktop, you need not keep them all in iBooks, but they are there and available if you want to shift them on or off the iPad for ease of use. And, because I am a search-head, digitizing this way makes it easy to jump right to the section you want with a keyword and a click.

Voila! Instant manual order. Thanks, Apartment Therapy.


2 comments on “Digitizing Your Paper Manuals

  1. Great point. When I buy new products now, I don’t even keep the manual as they’re all available online. So I don’t even think you need to pre-download and save them; just download them when you need them (unless it’s something you’re referring to frequently).

    Loving your blog, and good luck on the journey to paperless! I believe when you find a rhythm that works for you, it’ll be well worth it and a breath of fresh air.

    I’m actually working on a project called Ridacto that’s aiming to help paperless attorneys create more bulletproof legal contracts using artificial intelligence. I hope it can help tech-savvy attorneys like you work smarter and create better quality results for your clients.

    Thanks for sharing your journey and advice!

  2. Thanks Max for your comment and encouragement! And best wishes with your project – the process of automating repetetive document drafting seems a hot topic right now. Whoever gets it right will definitely be onto something. Best regards.

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