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I'm getting tired of living in the modern age and still having a messy filing cabinet full of paper. I have a nice cheap scanner and want to scan receipts, warrenties, and so forth.

To make it possible to find these, I'd like to make them searchable via Windows Search (or google desktop search).

Because I'm lazy with backups, I want a file format that embeds metadata into the file. Backups should be as simple as coping a bunch of image files around.

I'm also cheap, and am not going to install an expensive solution. I'm hoping one of the basic formats can do this.

So, what common scannable format satisfies: searchable and and metadata embedded in image generated. The more "open" and portable the better.

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2 Answers 2

I wanted to do the same thing and here are the things I’ve found and considered. The solution I normally hear for this is NeatReceipts or NeatDesk. Unfortunately, I don’t believe you can get their software without getting a scanner. This is somewhat expensive.

The other thing I considered is using the EXIF data of JPGs. That was cheap, but I couldn’t find an easy way to search that information or make that useful for document management.

What I finally decided would work for me is using Adobe Acrobat. It definitely isn’t cheap, but I also had other uses for wanting to make/modify PDFs. Acrobat can scan documents and OCR them into searchable text. PDF is now an open standard, but if you are concerned about being compatible over long periods of time there is a PDF/A format. I don't know if PDF/A would preserve the OCR text. PDF documents also has a place for you to enter meta data like title, author, keywords (which I use like a comments). If that isn't enough you can always add your own text or notes within the document itself.

I know keeping records is important so I hope you find some a solution that works for you.

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I know what you mean. I wanted to be able to scan all my tax related documents and be able to keep them secure. I decided to go with Scanmountain.com for organizing my tax docs. They're searchable, so I can't lose a file, and they're online so I can access them anytime I need. They even have an email feature, so I can email my files straight to my account! My bf was worried about security, but I checked and scanmountain uses military grade encryption, so my tax docs are safe! Last I saw on their site, they're offering free accounts right now to try them out. They're prices are good - no complaints there. This solution has worked for me...perhaps it can for you. Good luck!

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