Businesses in many industries use large documents in their day to day operations. The large dimensions of these documents make them ideal for studying and sharing detailed drawings.
However, large documents such as technical drawings, construction plans, blueprints, and maps can be difficult to store and manage due to their size. This is especially for firms that deal with high volumes of these documents regularly.
Many organizations have been digitizing their documents as a way of making them easier to manage and retrieve. This practice offers numerous benefits to organizations that have to deal with these documents.
Why Do Companies Digitize Large Documents?
Organizations can enjoy many benefits from digitizing their large format documents. These include:
Easier Storage And Retrieval
Most engineering firms and construction companies deal with large volumes of drawings and plan regularly. When these documents are not in use, they are usually rolled up or folded before being placed into storage. When these documents need to be retrieved or shared with clients, employees will often have to unroll and sift through multiple documents before finding the right one.
This method has the potential to create additional difficulties, as these large documents could take up a lot of space in the office. They may also get damaged from being rolled up or retrieved repeatedly.
Some companies use large format scanning services to digitize their oversized documents and free themselves from the burden of managing physical documents at the workplace. This practice can be used to get rid of physical documents or to make digital backups of oversized documents that are valuable.
Digital Editing Capabilities
Physical drawings are often digitized for editing purposes. Digital editing tools can provide employees with more options when they are editing or making changes to digital drawings.
By contrast, physical drawings are often difficult to edit by hand due to the high level of detail and precision required. Physical edits also tend to be messier than digital ones, so many drafters and editors prefer to edit digital files.
How Is Large Format Document Scanning Done?
The process of scanning large format documents requires specialized wide format scanners, scanning software, trained technicians and a well-established workflow process that ensures the project runs smoothly and efficiently. Each sheet needs to be unrolled/unfolded and any rips or tears on the ends need to be taped so that they aren’t damaged when going through the wide format scanner.
Depending on the quality of the documents and their application will determine what resolution and color scheme you should scan them in. These oversized documents typically contain large scale drawings, but they may also feature detailed sections that include tiny text. Such documents need to be scanned in high resolution so that the finer details and text are legible when viewing the digital file. Drawings that are only black and white will yeild higher quality images if they are scanned in greyscale or even color as opposed to black and white only.
After scanning, a certain level of Quality Assurance procedures should be taken to make sure all of the scanned images are legible and re-scanned as necessary. The images also need to be indexed accordingly so that they can be found easily when searching for them in an electronic document management software. Index fields from drawings are generally taken from the title block, i.e. drawing number, project, date, sheet number, etc.
How Are Digitized Large Format Documents Stored?
Large format documents that have been digitized are usually saved as PDF, TIFF, DWG, or JPEG format files. These digital files can be very large at times, but they are far easier to manage compared to physical documents. Digital space also provides more room for storage compared to physical space, so digitization can be viewed as a space-saving practice.
Managing Digital Files
The digital files created from scanning large documents can be managed in several ways.
The newly created digital files can be organized in a manner similar to the way physical documents are organized in filing cabinets. With this method, groups of files are sorted alphabetically into digital folders which are easy to locate and navigate through.
These files/folders can be located easily using the search function and file names. Once the file has been located, it can be opened using a photo viewer application, computer-aided design (CAD) software, or a PDF viewer depending on the file type.
These applications and software allow users to view the digital drawing at their desired scale and pan around different sections for easier reading.
The digitized drawings can then be shared on portable drives or attached in emails easily. This is preferable to carrying or mailing physical drawings.
There are many cloud storage options available to ensure that your scanned digital files are backed up, secure and easily accessible from various devices by employees who need them.
Backing up files to a storage cloud is also a great way to keep valuable drawings safe during workplace disasters or unexpected data loss events. Hard drives are susceptible to failing and losing data so organizations can minimize their losses by backing up all their drawings on a storage cloud.
Access to these storage clouds can also be limited to employees who are authorized to view the drawings. These digital files are kept secure thanks to the numerous security features used by cloud storage providers.
Where Should You Scan Large Format Documents?
Some organizations that deal with large documents often own large format scanners for scanning their large format documents on-site. These scanners tend to be expensive and will require additional staff to manage and perform the work.
A more affordable option for companies that wish to digitize their large format documents is to use third-party scanning services. It is important to remember that large-format document scanning is a specialized service that requires the right experience and equipment. When researching document scanning companies, make sure they have large format scanning capabilities.
Organizations should also use their due diligence to make sure that the scanning company they hire is trustworthy and has good references. When you are dealing with large quantities of irreplaceable documents, the last thing you want is for an inexperienced company to damage or loose any sensitive information.
Brandon Harris is the vice president of Smooth Solutions founded by his father Michael Harris, who has been a pioneer in document scanning industry for over 35 years. A leading Document Scanning Services in New Jersey, who are experts in providing microfilm conversion, aperture card conversion.