While this week is World Backup Day, typically celebrated by hard drive makers and data storage services, it is supposed to remind people to back up their files. But even if you are already creating backups of your digital files, do you have a backup plan for your only paper documents and photos, such as birth certificates and marriage licenses?
Scanning copies of your personal documents creates a digital file that can also be used as a backup, especially if you have password protected files and are stored securely location. And even if you don't have a document scanner, you can create your own file with a smartphone, some applications and some time. Here's a guide to get you started:
Step 1: Stay organized
Gather all the documents you want to digitize. In addition to the vital files, consider other documents you've saved over the years and you might want to share, such as old letters, certificates, diplomas, scraps. newspapers, family photos and other souvenir feelings. (Please note that while electronic copies of some documents may not be suitable for official use, you can use them yourself for quick reference.)
Scanning a large pile of documents is repetitive, but it gets faster when you have the stack organized and working in a well-lit and clean area.
Step 2: Use a scanner (if you have one)
You have a printer that has been sold as a "multi-function" device but you have never used it for anything more than one printing; Look for the operating manual, as your device may possibly scan and make photocopies as well. You may need to install utility software or find the scan function in your computer's system settings.
Once installed, open the scanning cover at the top of the printer and place the original document or the face-down photo. Close the lid and select Scan on the printer or computer screen to create the digital file.
Step 3: Scan with a mobile app
Wirecutter, a New York Times product review site, recommends some scanning applications for Android and iOS devices, including Adobe Scan, which requires a free Adobe Document Cloud account. Dropbox and Evernote also offer scanning features on applications their. For documents it's your identity, for example, an app that keeps your files on the phone (like the $ 5 Piksoft TurboScan Pro for Android and iOS) can provide more confidence.
Step 4: Scan old photos with your phone
Some document scanner applications can also take photos, which is handy if you are trying to copy old prints to an ancient album. Or you can get one photo image with your phone's camera and use photo editing tools to enhance the image.
For faded old prints, an application that uses artificial intelligence to capture, clear and correct color can help. PhotoScan from Google Photos, free for Android and iOS, is an option. Photomyne's similar name Photo Scan for Android and iOS also uses photo editing algorithms and has a limited free version - the full version costs $ 10 a month with higher image quality and other features.
Step 5: Protect and safely store your files
Identity thieves are always on the hunt for personal information, so password protection of your files adds a level of security. Most computer operating systems include tools for folder lock and commercial encryption programs is another option. PDF editors like Adobe Acrobat DC also include a password feature.
If you want to keep your documents online with Dropbox or similar service, encrypt them before downloading. You can also store your files in an encrypted flash drive in a secure location.
Hopefully you will never have to search your digital archive for something serious. But making your own stuff file, you can make sure there are copies of your documents when you need them.