As discussed in another post, I’m striving to become “Paperless”. This post is to expound on how I’m slowly accomplishing that, but also how that entire Paperless lifestyle works for me no matter where I am. This post is specifically about Mariner Software’s Paperless Product. If you use Paperless, I believe this will be useful for you. If you don’t use Paperless (available for Mac and Windows) it might give you a reason to think about it, or maybe just give you ideas on how you can use products you have to automate your life!First, many of you know that I’m a Mac and iOS user. Some of this post will only mention Mac solutions, but I assume that there are Windows applications and processes that can assist in doing this for Paperless on Windows as well. So here goes.
First, a couple of years ago I purchased a “Paperless” scanner/software combo from Mariner Software. I got a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500. I will admit that I’m coveting that new iX500 scanner!! So I use the Paperless application for tracking all of my PDFs (I have another post about how all new PDFs I receive and create get added to my Paperless library) and scan all of my “paper” into PDFs as well and then throw the hard copies away.
Being an iOS user AND a DropBox user though, I often need to view a PDF on the road, or even just when I’m in my home (which is where my office is as most of you know), and using my iPad. There is no iOS application for Paperless yet, and Paperless stores the PDFs in date named folders, so it’s difficult to “find” a PDF outside of Paperless or Mac’s Spotlight if you don’t know the exact date. So here’s part of my routine. This blog post will call on various other posts on how to automate some OSX functions. I see no reason to duplicate all of that here. That way, if you already understand some of the concepts you don’t have to wade through them again, but if you need to go find out details, they are just a click away!
First some disclaimers/caveats. Mariner Software does not support having your Paperless database in Dropbox. This is because databases can be fragile when shared among different computers and it’s possible to corrupt the database when being used by multiple computers at the same time. That’s okay in my case, as I don’t actually even care about having the “database” with me – I just need the documents. In fact, the method I describe below allows you to choose to only upload the physical documents to Dropbox, bypassing the database altogether, and thus should keep the “database syncing question” off of the table. So here goes:.
- Create a symlink or an alias for your Paperless Documents folder. If you don’t know how to do that, see this post here. Once you have created a link to your Paperless documents in Dropbox, they will all be available to your Dropbox applications.
- Decide what you need to know about your Paperless library. If you have a Smart Collection already defined that has the information you need, that will be a good place to start. I created a Smart Collection called “Everything” – in order to make it truly pull everything I made the search parameters Amount is less than 10,000,000 (now if you have amounts more than 10 Million, good for you! And get an assistant to do this for you), and Amount is not blank.
- Click on the Smart Collection that has the data you want and choose File|Save as CSV. Save this someplace in your Dropbox folder.
- For my purposes, since I use Documents to Go, and it will not read CSV files, I then open that up and save it as an Excel spreadsheet. While the Dropbox app for iOS WILL open CSV files, there is no search functionality, so it would be tedious to try to use it that way. My guess is that if you feel an overriding desire to have your Paperless docs on your iOS device, you also have something like Docs to Go or QuickOffice or even Numbers, etc. that can access and search CSV or XLS files.
- Now, on my iOS device, I go into Documents to Go to my Dropbox account, look for my Spreadsheet that has my Excel spreadsheet and search for the file I’m looking for. It helps to have the titles and Categories/Subcategories well popupated. When I find the document I’m looking for in the spreadsheet, this will in turn show me the date of the file.
- I can then go to the Paperless Documents folder in my Documents to Go Dropbox account, drill down to the date of the document and voila – I have the document available to view on my iOS device.
Of course, I assume that this would be available for Android devices, etc.
That’s the high-level overview of how I make this work. I also have much of this (for example, creating the CSV file, converting to Excel, etc.) automated with other software, and that will be explored in a future automation blog post.