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Safety & security

Practical tech tip: How to digitize your most important documents

How do you store your most important documents? Do you have a folder containing your birth certificate, marriage license, Social Security card and other crucial paperwork?

If so, it’s time for an upgrade. Maintaining paper documents can be a good way to keep records straight, but it also opens the door for damage, loss, theft or other issues. In fact, it’s one of the ways you’re putting your identity at risk in your own home.

But how do you secure important documents and records? Digitizing them will let you do just that — while offering you quick, secure access to digital copies of your files. Let’s take a look at how you can digitize your documents — and why you should.

Benefits of digitizing important documents

As mentioned, digitizing documents ensures that you’ll always have a copy on hand in case the original records are damaged, lost or stolen. But there are plenty of other reasons to digitize your documents, too.

For example, there are situations when you need to show proof of insurance or offer up proof of your identity. Having digital copies of your records gives you easy access to the paperwork or documents you need from virtually anywhere because they’re accessible from your phone or computer.

Making a digital copy of your documents also helps to keep them secure. You can control who gets access to those files with passwords and encryption. Anyone can rummage through your paperwork — but not just anyone can access a secure digital file.

Digital documents also make it simple to find what you need quickly or annotate when necessary. You can annotate and locate the paperwork you need with a search or by clicking on the correct folder.

How to digitize your documents

Use a scanner

One of the easiest ways to digitize documents is by using a scanner. There are tons of options available for purchase, but Kim’s choice for the office and home is Epson’s EcoTank line.

What’s nice about the EcoTank line is it offers scanners, printers and copiers — all rolled into one device. These compact machines have wireless and ethernet connectivity, color touchscreens, voice-activated controls and tons of other features depending on the model.

When it comes to scanning, you can choose between different EcoTank options to find one that meets your needs. If you have a ton of multi-page documents you need to scan, you may want to opt for the EcoTank ET-4760, which offers multipage document scanning and an automatic document feeder. There are EcoTank options with flatbed scanners that fit lower-volume scanning needs, too.

Interested in checking out EcoTank options? You can add the Epson EcoTank to your online shopping list at Amazon, Dell, Micro Center and at Epson.com/EcoTankKim.

Use an app

No scanner? There are apps you can use to scan documents instead. They aren’t all as user-friendly as feeding documents into a physical scanner, but they work well nonetheless.

Take, for example, Adobe Scan. This app makes it simple to scan anything directly from your phone. You can use it to convert documents, forms, business cards, and whiteboards into high-quality Adobe PDFs. It also offers different capture modes so your scans are as clear as possible every time.

What’s unique about Adobe Scan is it uses Adobe Sensei to identify and sharpen handwritten or printed text on the documents you scan. It also removes annoying elements like glares and shadows so your scanned documents are easy to read.

It’s super easy to use. You just open the app, wait for the scan to capture, and then tap on the thumbnail to view or edit your scan. You can download Adobe Scan for iOS by tapping or clicking here. Need Adobe Scan for Android? Tap or click here to download it. Or, click the appropriate link inside the yellow box below.

There’s also Genius Scan, an app that lets you easily batch-scan documents or files with multiple pages. To use Genius Scan, all you have to do is place any document in front of your device’s camera. The app automatically recognizes paper against the background and scans it.

One of the main perks is it will also crop the scanned document if necessary and clean up the result. Another is it lets you scan dozens of pages in a matter of seconds. Want to download Genius Scan for iOS? Tap or click here. Need Genius Scan for Android? Tap or click here to download it.

You can also check out Microsoft Office Lens. It’s a scanner app for your mobile device that scans, trims, enhances and makes your scanned docs readable. What’s unique about Office Lens is you can also use it to convert images to PDF, Word and PowerPoint files. You can even save images to OneNote or OneDrive.

Want to try out Microsoft Office Lens? Tap or click here to download the app for iOS. Tap or click here to download the app for Android.

Storing your digital documents

Once you’ve scanned all of your documents, you’ll need to store the copies in a safe place. You can opt to use your local hard drive or a USB flash drive to store your files, or you can go with a more secure and high-tech option.

Our sponsor, IDrive, offers online cloud backup and storage that’s perfect for saving and accessing important documents. The nice thing about using a service like IDrive is your scanned documents will be accessible from anywhere. You can just log in and access them when you need to.

Want to know more about IDrive? Here are five reasons to use the IDrive cloud service for your storage needs.

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