Scan your database, copy options

One of the most useful but often underrated technology tools for a home office is a scanner. Scanners take images or text from a printed page and convert it into a computer file. You can then work on these files using your personal computer.

Scanners are very popular with users of the Internet. No wonder — if you have a Web site, you’ll find that a scanner is invaluable in converting a variety of images for use on your site.

But scanners have many more applications beyond making Web graphics. If you are in a line of business that involves a product catalogue or some other form of graphic representation, you may want to move this information into a computer database. Use a scanner to capture each image, and then try a program such as ThumbsPlus (http://www.cerious.com) to build a simple database of your images.

You can create more sophisticated databases using programs such as Polaroid DisplayCase (www.polaroid.com/products/displaycase/index.html). The software allows you to link each photo to a variety of other information. A real estate agent, for example, may use it to build a database of properties for sale.

Scanners are also extremely useful for those who need to transfer a large amount of printed text or other material to a computer. In the past few years, optical character recognition technology used in scanning devices has matured to the point where it is now very easy to transfer text on a paper document to a PC.

I’ve been using Adobe Acrobat Capture (http://www.adobe.com) to convert several hundred pages of text. The program does a fabulous job of scanning each page and creating a document that can be imported into a database. That alone has made the scanner investment worthwhile. There are some frustrations with the technology — generated documents are not always 100-per-cent accurate — but it beats retyping the information.

Finally, once you get a scanner, you may also end up with a makeshift photocopier. For example, my Hewlett Packard ScanJet came with copy software. Just insert a document into the scanner, press the copy button in this software, and a copy comes out of the printer. The quality is adequate for small needs, but you will still go to the local copy store with larger-scale jobs.

One thing to keep in mind when purchasing a scanner is that investing in a higher-quality product can be worth it. The scanner market has changed dramatically in the past several years, with a wide variety of inexpensive models becoming available for under $100. While these devices definitely work for basic scanning and copying, you may find that some will not do so well with an optical character recognition program.

There exist many significant causes wherefore a consumer want to purchase a prepaid calling cards and the most important reason is that they economizes money.

Tags : , ,