Going paperless with Notion (and Scanner Pro)

A sketch of a person sitting at a messy desk cluttered with paper

Are you tired of cluttered desks, overstuffed filing cabinets, and piles of paper everywhere? Going paperless can seem daunting, but with the right tools, it can be a breeze. Not only does it help reduce our carbon footprint, but it also saves us time by giving us access to all of our important information whenever we need it.

I decided to go paperless about 3 years ago, and since switching to Notion, going paperless has become easier than ever before.

Scanner Pro

Before we can begin going paperless we need a way of turning our physical papers into digital scans. You may have a flatbed scanner already or a 3-in-1 printer which has scanning capabilities, but to make things even quicker you’ll want to download a decent scanner app on your phone.

While any scanning app will do, I highly recommend Scanner Pro by Readdle.

Scanner Pro allows you to scan documents, receipts, and any other paper items using your phone’s camera and then converts them to PDFs. It has built-in OCR (optical character recognition) which makes the text in your documents searchable and has powerful tools for correcting distortion, removing shadows, and adjusting the final output style.

Paperless Workflow

Simply launch Scanner Pro and click on the orange + button at the bottom

There are two capturing modes; Auto and Manual.

In Auto mode, simply point your camera are your document and Scanner Pro will find the edges and automatically capture it. For best results, place your document on a plain background which provides a decent amount of contrast to make the document stand out. The app will hint to your if you’re too far or too close.

In Manual mode, you can take longer to line up the document before snapping.

You can also capture multi-page documents and they will be combined into a single PDF.

If the capture isn’t perfect, you can manually adjust the corners by entering the crop mode.

You can use the built in editing tools to adjust the brightness and contrast, adjust the type of scan (document, photo, colour, b/w) and even use the eraser tool to get rid of shadows and other imperfections.

Give your document a meaningful name. Remember, we’re going digital so it’s important to be able to find what you need later in Notion. You might want to think of a naming pattern for yourself like “Company ABC – Invoice – January 2023”

Once you’re done with your edits, it’s time to get your document into Notion.

Unfortunately, Scanner Pro doesn’t have a default integration with Notion in the way it does with other cloud services like Dropbox, OneDrive or Evernote but the process is still very simple.

Tap the Share icon to bring up the share sheet and scroll to the end and tap on “More Apps” then select Notion.

Here you can give your Notion page a name and select which Workspace and Page you want to add it to.

I highly recommend creating an Inbox database for this kind of thing.

And voila! Your scanned document is embedded as a PDF in Notion, ready for you to add more context and organise how your please.

Shred and Recycle

Once you’ve scanned your documents and uploaded them to Notion, it’s time to get rid of the paper copies. Shred any sensitive documents and recycle the rest. This will not only clear up space in your home or office but also help the environment.

Remember to also let companies know that you want to go paperless so that you can receive PDF copies of bank statements and bills, which you can import directly into Notion.

Going paperless with Notion and Scanner Pro is a great way to increase productivity, reduce clutter, and help the environment. Give it a try and see how it can transform your life!

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