Take Control of Your Physical File Cabinet and Go Digital Using Your Mac!


I have a massive submitting cabinet, and I hate submitting. Every day, I’m inundated with new mail, junk mail, payments, scientific statistics, brochures, manuals, faculty work, and investments. You name it. These papers end up stacked in piles on top of my submitting cabinet. I constantly tell myself, “Tomorrow, I’ll deal with this.” You know how that is going. Tomorrow, by no means, comes. Being a techy geek, I asked if I should keep all of my Mac files. Hard pressure space is so ridiculously reasonably priced that it can exchange the way I cope with my paper tsunami. I attempted some feasible solutions. Rather than bore you with my trial and error, I will give you what I came up with. Feel unfastened to evolve what I’m showing you here to suit your needs. To begin, you need a Mac. You do not want a Mac, but this guide is all about doing this with a Mac. Sorry, you need to look elsewhere if you’ve got a PC.


Getting Paper into Mac

Good, so that you passed the primary, look at it. You have a Mac. Now, you need to get the paper into your Mac. There are a couple of ways you can do that.


I started experimenting with my digital filing cabinet using my iPhone. I might take a picture of a document and save it on my Mac. If you’re gambling around and have already got an iPhone, you could do everything I’m going to expose you to. The only disadvantages are scanning speed and pleasantness.


All-in-one printer / Flatbed Scanner

There are a boatload of all-in-one scanners on the market. They usually scan one sheet at a time on a flatbed scanner. The slightly more high-end ones scan double-sided sheets and feature a record feeder. I use a Canon printer (TK) that works properly and fairly appropriately scans files. Again, the most important disadvantage to this is velocity.

A Full-On Document Scanner

This is the Mac-daddy in case you are going to go paperless. These scanners are designed to cut through stacks of documents like butter. There are some in the marketplace. I’ve personally looked at the Neat Scanner and the Fujitsu Scanner. Both of these will rock your global. They can scan as many as TK pages in line with 2D. For my digital submitting cupboard, I use the Neat Scanner.


You do not need to invest loads in a software program for the simplest setup. If you go together with both of the scanners I mentioned above, they come with software for purchasing paper into your Mac. In addition to that software program for filing, you want a few greater things.


Dropbox is a marvel. You simply lack it if you don’t install it for your Mac. Dropbox creates a folder on your Mac. When you use your Dropbox folder, your documents magically seem on any other tool connected to your Dropbox account. It’s an exquisite way to percentage files among Macs, iPhones, and iPads.

Other Optional Software

This software isn’t always essential but will simplify your lifestyle. I’ll provide a brief description of each here. Later, while we discuss the workflow, we can discuss how to use each one.


Think of Hazel as your assistant. Hazel watches folders and takes moves on documents primarily based on rules. I use it to observe documents with unique document names and mechanically file them into the perfect places in my virtual filing cabinet.


Text Expander software allows you to create keyboard shortcuts to duplicate repetitive tasks. For example, if you find yourself typing your deal with plenty, create a Text Expander snippet, and whenever you add it, Text Expander will replace it with your complete address.


If you’ve got an iPad, Goodreader is an outstanding utility for viewing all the PDF files you may be developing and storing in your Digital Filing Cabinet. It’s one of those Swiss Navy Knife iPad apps I ordinarily use.


Before we start digital filing, let’s get our gadget mounted. If you haven’t achieved this already, deploy Dropbox and create a Dropbox account. Create a folder known as “1 Scan” in your Dropbox folder. This will act as your Inbox. I use the no one inside the title to constantly appear at the top of my sorted list. This is particularly beneficial while you use it on your iPad and iPhone. Create a “Records” folder in Dropbox. This is your submitting cabinet. Once this folder is created, prepare it any way you want. Here is the structure that I use.
Records Personal

File Folder (i.e., scientific)

Feel free to apply something that you suspect works first-rate for you. Don’t cross too loopy with nested organized folders, though. Why? Well, take into account that this is a virtual system. You can use Spotlight to search for any record you want.

If you use the Neat or Fujitsu scanners, the software program comes with an optical individual recognition software program (OCR.) This software program will convert the scanned photo into real text, which is indexed through the system. So, instead of worrying about your final cell phone bill, look up Spotlight and type 2013 April Verizon, and your invoice will magically appear.

Naming Conventions

I heard Merlin Mann communicate on a podcast some years ago about how he organizes his files. Until I heard him, I lived in a world wherein all my documents lived in neat folders within subfolders. The trouble became that I may want to discover nothing by any means. His idea is to put the entirety into as few folders as feasible. He began talking, especially about text and Word documents. I’m extending here to this machine.

  • I name all of my files in the following way.
  • Date – Description
  • That’s it, quite easy. Now I do and then smash it down further.
  • Year – Month – cellular telephone invoice
  • Or if it’s miles, a receipt.
  • Year – Month – Day – bed bath past juicer receipt

The factor is that I give every file a date stamp and a terrific enough description that I can find it later. These documents then pass into a limited set of folders so I can easily retrieve them later. If I’m ever seeking a copy, I can use Spotlight to look for it. I can also get smart and create a Custom desire within the Finder that continually seems for documents with a given call.


TextExpander can make this even simpler. Thanks again to Merlin Mann and Dave Sparks for the suggestion. With TextExpander, I define templates for the files that I create often. Then, I first want to use the TextExpander keyword to create regular filenames robotically. This makes searching and retrieving the statistics later even easier. I’m using my mobile telephone invoice as an example. The bill comes monthly, so I can create a TextExpander snippet (template) as follows.

YEAR – MONTH – mobile phone bill

I assign this the keystroke. Cell bill, then after I type, the cell bill expands to a 2013-04 cell phone invoice, saving me the problem of remembering a steady name and typing it in.

Down to Brass Tacks

OK, now, with all of this software set up and configured, how do you operate it? The simple workflow looks as if this. Scan a file or document into PDF files. Give the files a constant, descriptive name. Use TextExpander snippets for repetitive titles; otherwise, manually call the report. Store those files in a single “Inbox” folder. Periodically, take them from the “In container” and file them into the proper hierarchy. This can show up manually by copying and pasting into one’s folders or using Hazel policies. Hazel Rules


Remember earlier than once, I said that Hazel changed into, like, your non-public assistant? Well, with Hazel, you could have it reveal your “Inbox.” Whenever it sees a cellular telephone invoice file, it can circulate it to your “Records” folder.

Wrap Up

We’ve scratched the provider with approaches you may eliminate paper and go virtual. You can do more with AppleScript and your iPad to blow your mind. I’ll keep that for later. For now, strive some of this out, even if you begin with Dropbox and an iPhone.