The iPad Lawyer – Handling Your Snail Mail on an iPad
We all get email and other digital messages on an iPad. What happens, however, when you receive snail mail (mail that is delivered by the postal service or UPS or FedEx)? Or perhaps you come across an article or other document that you really want for later use on your iPad. The good news is that you can integrate your terrestrial documents with your digital files very easily. Here’s the way paper document handling generally happens in my office.
Every piece of non-advertising mail is scanned (we don’t scan commercial mail because it’s just thrown away as a rule and I don’t scan magazines because I usually have digital subscriptions for them, as well). We currently use two Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners (http://www.fujitsu.com/us/services/computing/peripherals/scanners/scansnap/scansnap-iX500.html) to handle the vast quantity of terrestrial mail. I love these scanners! They can handle up to 50 pages at a time and quickly scan both sides of a document. They also instantly create PDF documents that are useable in OCR format. Most importantly, for me, is the free ScanSnap app that is available:
Provided the scanner and my iPad are on the same wireless network, the ScanSnap app permits my iPad to communicate directly with the scanner. The ScanSnap scanner then recognizes that my iPad is the one communicating with it. Any scan that I initiate and coordinate from my iPad is automatically downloaded onto my iPad. Any scan originated from the scanner, itself (for instance, documents that are placed in the scanner feeder), do not get downloaded onto my iPad and are, instead, saved to our primary servers and duplicates placed into a Dropbox folder (called Mail for my later review and handling.)
We use Dropbox all the time, by the way, for sharing files and collaboration. For those who might have privacy concerns, I encourage you to go into your Dropbox account and turn two-step or two-tier authentication to “On.” If you want to be even more diligent, you can also set up encrypted Dropbox folders by using apps like BoxCryptor (https://www.boxcryptor.com/en/download) and Viivo (http://www.viivo.com/the-viivo-app-for-the-iphone-and-android-is-here/).
For those times when I’m not in the office or only have one or two (maybe three) pages to scan, there are a number of scanning apps you might like to consider. Here are a few that I have on my iPad. You really need to check them out as I find these types of scanning apps have such different looks and handling that your personal preferences and needs will ultimately dictate which you choose. Most of the following apps have an assortment of options. My notes that follow each app are meant to tickle your curiosity – not intended to be exhaustive.
Be warned: this app does not run in landscape mode. It does, however, have a unique ability to let you scan up to four different areas of a document in order to get detail. It then stitches the two, three, or four areas together to create one document.
You can actually annotate documents that are scanned with this app from within the app, itself. You also have many options for page, document, and folder management.
DocScanner allows you to automatically link to Dropbox and iCloud, among others. It also has a setting for OCR. You can import and export to your Camera Roll.
Genius Scan+ ($2.99)
As with most of the other apps, you can import documents from your Camera Roll (photos of documents that you’ve taken with your iPad Camera). WiFi sharing is available for you. And, you can tag your documents.
This is the free version. There is a paid version, as well. You can scan receipts, facsimiles, and documents. And, of course, you can email your scans.
Scanner Mini (FREE)
This is the free, lightweight version of Readdle’s more robust Scanner Pro, below.
Scanner Pro ($6.99)
Scanner Pro allows you to set passwords. It also permits you to fax and even allows you to save a scanned document to your Camera Roll. It, too, connects with Dropbox. And . . . it can open a scanned document in your PDF creation/annotation app.
Tiny Scan Pro ($4.99)
Tiny Scan Pro provides you with a multi-page scanner that creates high-quality PDF scans. You can send your scans to Dropbox, Evernote, and other cloud service providers. This app works on both your iPad and iPhone. You are given the option of different-sized scans as well as black and white, color, and greyscale.
Moving to paperless mail handing is cutting-edge stuff. And I just know that you are ready to make that leap into the wonderful world of having your mail – all your mail – available on your iPad. Enjoy the freedom!
If you enjoyed this, I’d be grateful if you share this with others. That’s right, go ahead and help spread this information by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. And, if you’re interested in finding out how I can make a presentation to your law firm or association, please contact me at 909-483-1850 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.