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This week we look at a new flat bed color scanner, but first a bit about the paperless office. We’ve been reading about the paperless “office of the future” for years; what with e-mail, inexpensive scanners, fax to e-mail service, electronic document management systems and the like, we’re almost getting there. I don’t think that we’ll ever get to an office that runs without any paper, but it certainly is possible to get to an office that uses a lot less paper. Today’s larger firms are almost certainly using a formal, enterprise-based document management system, and even firms with only a few lawyers would do well to put something into place. Modern case management systems may provide document management as an aid to keeping all of the information about a case together in one place. And even a solo practitioner can save all sorts of outgoing and incoming documents in client and case related folders and sub-folders accessible through word processor program and e-mail programs. The key to document management, of course, is diligence when the document is created or received. It is obvious, but often not appreciated, that the creator or recipient of a document knows more about that document at the time of creation or receipt, than he or she, or anyone else, will ever know at some subsequent time. Your word processing system undoubtedly has a setting that demands that the creator of a document enters information about that document into a summary sheet the first time that document is saved or when the document is created. You have almost certainly not set your copy of the program or your secretary’s copy of the program to require the entry of such information. If you are at all interested in keeping control of your documents, and before you bother with a document management system, you should immediately set your personal copy of your word processor to look for summary input. When you generate a document in your office you already have at least one computer file. When a document is received from the outside, before you can do anything else with it, you must first use a scanner to convert the page into a computer “image” file. Some firms are using fast production networked scanners with ADF (Automatic Document Feed) units to scan everything that comes into the office. The Visioneer 7100 isn’t up to that job, but many lawyers will be able to put it to a lot of use VISIONEER ONETOUCH 7100 Scanners differ mostly in price, speed of the scan, connection to the computer, scan resolution — the numbers of dpi or dots per inch — the scanner can handle and whether the scanner scans only black and white, a variety of half-tone gray scale, or real color. My trusty Hewlett-Packard Office Jet 500 doesn’t do color or high resolution (mostly 200 dpi) but does include an ADF that can hold a 25-page contract, and does black-and-white faxing and ink-jet black and color printing at the same time. Scan time is about eight to 10 seconds a page, and it connects to my computer through the parallel port both for scanning and printing. Visioneer’s latest scanner is the 7100 OneTouch flat bed. The box promises that the unit is “33% smaller,” has a USB interface, supports “Win 98/2000/ME/XP,” 48-bit color and 1200 x 4800 dpi. The 7100 comes with Scan Soft’s Paper Port 7.0 including the TextBridge OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software. I didn’t bother to install other included software. The unit itself measures 17 inches by 12 inches by less than 2.5 inches in height, and has a scanning area of 12 inches by 8.75 inches. Installing the 7100 should have been easy, and perhaps would have been if I hadn’t already had a scanner or two, and Paper Port 8.0 on my computer. The 7100 comes only with version 7.0 of Paper Port — a company representative tells me that Scan Soft is supposed to provide 8.0 but has yet to do so — and the Twain USB drivers for the 7100 sometimes conflicts with the Parallel port Twain drivers used for the HP 500. After uninstalling the newer Paper Port and the HP drivers I had no difficulty with 7100 installation. When prompted by the installation software, plug the encapsulated power supply and the USB cord into the 7100, and the other end of the USB cord into your computer, and physical installation will be complete. USING THE 7100 The 7100 OneTouch gets its name from five programmable buttons which can be configured to do things like initiate a color scan; scan and attach the results to outgoing e-mail; scan black and white and send the results to TextBridge for OCR conversion to a text file; scan and print; and a “custom” button for whatever other function you may prefer. The buttons make the process a bit easier than what may actually be required to launch the software and initiate the scan from the computer. Whether you use the OneTouch buttons or launch the software, to scan you should lift the cover, place the document onto the scanning area, and close the cover. Flat-bed scanners of this sort usually require two scans — a “preview” pass where the scanner determines the exact size of the image to be scanned, and a second scanning pass where the actual conversion of the document to an image takes place. The 7100 can do a separate preview and scan, but if you merely tell the unit to scan, it first sends the imaging bar across the scanning area for the preview, then does the scan itself, as the imaging bar returns to the home position, saving the time it takes the imaging bar to return to the home position, and shortening the scanning process. You can set the scanning software to scan black and white, gray scale half tones, or color, and set the scan resolution to 4800. The appropriate setting depends on the sort of work you are doing. A 150 or 200 dpi black-and-white setting is all you need for OCR software to work. If you want to post some pictures on your firm’s Web site, 100 dpi is more resolution than the typical computer color monitor can handle. To place the same pictures in a color brochure, or to send the image off for traditional photographic printing, you will want to increase the resolution, but be careful: If you double the resolution, you do a lot more than double the image size. According to the scanning software, an 8.5-by-11.7-inch color photo is 2.83 MB at 100 dpi, 11.3 MB at 200 dpi, 45.3 MB at 400 dpi, and 406 MB at 1200 dpi. When I set the scanner to 4800, my computer gagged on what the software estimated to be a 6.35 GB image. Even 800 dpi took a long time. In fact, saving the file to a JPEG format will compress a 400 dpi scan to a bit more than a megabyte of disk space and a 200 dpi scan to about 300 KB. You will certainly be able to deal with files of this size, but it is clear than the 4800 dpi claimed by Visioneer (and the 9,600 and 19,200 I’ve seen claimed by others), while possibly within scanner capability, can’t really be used on your typical law office computer. The scanning software lets the user customize other parameters (contrast and brightness to name two); scanning for the perfect reproduction might take several passes as you tweak the software for a very good result. I wouldn’t depend on the 7100 for my paperless office, for the lack of an ADF alone. However, I wouldn’t mind keeping the 7100 around for many odd jobs, when dealing with several pages to be converted to image and then text, to scan to PDF to be e-mailed out of the office, or to deal with photographs not taken with my digital camera. At $100 and probably less at the local electronics store, you’ll be able to put it to a lot of good use. Visioneer’s rebate Web page doesn’t have anything showing for this model, but they do offer “coupons” for other models. Perhaps last year’s similar scanner, a little bit bigger but heavily discounted, would do as well. SUMMARY The Visioneer 7100 OneTouch isn’t a production scanner that will bring you to the paperless office by itself, but it will do a good job scanning color photos or a few pages of text at a time. You might come to depend on it. DETAILS OneTouch 7100 Scanner. Price: $99.00. Requires computer running Microsoft Windows 98/2000/ME/XP with USB port. Visioneer, Inc., 5673 Gibraltar Drive, Pleasanton, CA. 94588. Phone: (888) 229-4172 or (541) 884-5548. Web: www.visioneer.com.

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