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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Too Much Paper! - What To Do When Your Manuals Take Up More Space Than Anything

Almost Ready To Roll!
    I know I'm a packrat. I save things forever. Many times this has saved my bacon as I had something on hand that I needed RIGHT NOW and didn't have to go find it at a shop or online. This includes saving all manuals and instructions from whatever I buy. Sometimes it's a single page, but often it's multiple books. I even save them for stuff I don't even have anymore. Crazy right? Perhaps... I don't mind keeping a library handy, but there had to be a better way. Being the computer and technology fan that I am, I figured why not turn them into electronic data and store them in a USB Thumb drive? You could just get a scanner (or even take photos of each page) and store them as pictures. Sure...but why not go that extra step and make them searchable? This way, you could find the info in any manual easily. There would be an extra step, but it's not that hard. besides, the payoff would be well worth it!

How's THAT For A Mess Of Old Manuals?
So, how do you get it done? Well, first begin by deciding how you are going to get the image of each page into the computer. You could scan them on an old fashioned flatbed scanner (SLOW!) or use one of the newer Multifunction printer/scanner/FAX machines. The benefit to those is they often come with a document feeder that automates much of the process. In the case of manuals, not so much. They are typically bound or in booklet form, so not great candidates for automated document feeding. Hmmm....now what. Well, most of us have a very sophisticated handheld computer we use everyday. Yes, I am speaking about your cell phone. Most (if not all) smartphones have a camera. A very good camera. If you look around, you can easily find a PHOTO TO PDF application for your phone. They are available for iPhones as well as Android and are quite amazing.

How It Works!
You simply run the application, aim the camera at the page you want scanned in and take a photo. The Software does the rest. It will convert and format the document, so it looks like what you see all while allowing it to be searchable. Even the pictures will be transferred. Yes, it will take a while to do them one page at a time, but you don't need all of them at once. Do a few at a time (or one manual at a sitting.)


 I love it! It's going to take me a while to get through several decades of manuals, but they will all fit on a tiny USB drive and I can just have access to it whenever/wherever I like. Pretty cool. That's why I like technology. Not always...mind you...but for this kind of thing...it's great!!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com

9 comments:

  1. You can get most manuals directly from the Internet. Download it, and that's it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mimi,
      that is very true, but what about when you have no Service!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  2. First, before resorting to snapping pictures of every page in a manual and converting to PDF, see if the manual is available online. Most manufacturers have them on their webpage. Next, don't save it to a USB drive. They can get lost or damage easily and you can't use them on all devices. Use a cloud service such as Google or ICloud. They give you lots of free storage space for this and you can have access to your manuals on any device you have. Plus you can't lose the data.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're in an area where there is no internet, no cell phone, no way to access the cloud, you are SOL. I'd go for a physical drive so I have access no matter what.

      Delete
    2. Deborah,
      Well Said! Besides, I always have a backup of my USB droives at home for...umm..backup!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  3. look for your manuals on line may have been converter already by others

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,
      Mnay have been and are free to download. Some, not so much.

      Your mileage may vary,

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  4. Chuck once a P/R always a P/R. I'm willing to bet ya that after getting all that data off those manuals that you still have those manuals hidden somewhere!
    Dave

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. davtel,
      You're probably right, but at least they'll be in a waterproof tub someplace that ISN'T onboard the RV!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete

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