Is it for You?


New Products

Word Work


  Get a Website
Use the Web



Alienware - Ultimate Gaming PC




Scanners in the SOHO Law Office

Scanner Types:  Scanners come in two main types -- sheetfed and  flatbed.  A sheetfed is small, and operates when you insert a sheet of paper. A sheetfed scanner fits easily between your keyboard and monitor. Sheetfed scanners are great for scanning text quickly, but don't do photos as well as flatbed scanners. 

Flatbed scanners are large, taking up a lot of space. In addition to better quality photo and image work, they can be useful for imaging large quantities of documents if they have an automatic document feeder.

Interface:  In either case, think about the interface.  Some scanners work only with your parallel port, which already runs to your printer. Some printers refuse to run behind a scanner.  Get a scanner with USB or firewire connectivity, or a serial scanner. 

OCR Trick: Scanners come with optical character recognition (OCR) software. Most lawyers are disappointed the first time they try to copy a pleading.  The line numbers and address at the bottom don't come through OCR, and you end up with a mess.  Often the line numbers are on one page, the text on another!  

This is easy to overcome.  Just OCR the pleading, block and copy the text -- not the other stuff-- and paste the text on your pleading paper template.  Then you have interrogatories and can just fill in the blanks. I wish someone had told me that.

Recommendations: I use a flatbed for photos.  You can get a decent one for $100, because you really don't need high resolution for text and exhibits. You can see a wide selection of scanners at Amazon.

This beauty is the a Hewlett Packard. With its automatic document feeder, it is the only way to image large quantities of paper.  If you want to scan long briefs, entire files, or similar stuff, this is the one you need.  All these mechanical parts are scary, conjuring visions of expensive repair geeks living in my basement office.  HP products, however, just seem to work without interruption.  

I really like my PaperPort. The Visioneer PaperPort software is excellent,PaperPort Strobe executing when you feed paper.  This is the scanner you want for working with text, OCR, and getting some of the paper off your desk. 

This model is not easy to find, but I like it because it uses no desk space. At the moment, Amazon has some in stock.  Look for it in the Amazon box below.  If you don't see it, refresh your browser and maybe it will come up.  And maybe it won't. 


Recently, I gave all my scanners away and bought a multifunction machine.  So fair, it's been great. I got a  Hewlett Packard OfficeJet D135.  It not only works, it works wonders. Now I can  reach everything -- printer, scanner, fax machine -- with no effort. It is also a color copier, color faxer, and probably something I forgot.  The inkjet print quality is just fine.  It comes with software for all the various functions.  I really like it. It sits next to my digital lazer copier/printer; everything is right where I need it.