Scan to Email or Scan to Folder?

You’re in front of your multi-functional copier and you need to send a document to an individual or a group. You must decide whether you want to scan it to an email account or scan it to a folder. Which option is the best?  What are the advantages and disadvantage of each scanning type available? And how do you evaluate the pros and cons to determine which solution is the best in your present scenario?

Scan to email

The advantages

Scan to email is easy, fast and efficient. In most cases with this technology you can send a document or an image directly to the final recipient without the need of a computer or to forward the message again. This technology is nowadays extensively used in every office and is by far more preferred then older methods such as faxing, especially when sending multiple pages or images.

The disadvantages

One of the biggest disadvantages of scan to email is the fact that, for various reasons, your email might not get through to the recipient. These reasons may include:

  • Incorrectly entered email address.
  • Invalid email address.
  • Email inbox of the recipient is full.

When you’re in front of your multi-functional photocopier you might not even notice that you have an issue. Another downside of scan to email is that the recipients cannot reply to the message coming  from a multi-functional machine as the default “From” email address will be a “no-reply” or a “generic” address. One other challenge this technology has, is the fact that most email hosts have a sending limit. This means that they cannot handle large attachments, such as large multiple page documents or multiple high-resolution pictures.

Scan to folder

The advantages

Scan to Folder is a fast process which is typically set up locally in you network. The only limitation of document size you can send, is the available hard drive storage space at your writing folder. Folders are easy to manage, some companies may rely on their IT people to manage these. You can also set up your own folders, ensuring the required level of privacy.

A common practice in folder scanning is setting a shortcut in your desktop pointing to the location where you’re saving the documents. This makes it easy to find your documents and eliminates the need to log into an email account to view scanned documents and images.

The disadvantages

When scanning to a folder, unless you rename your document at the time of scanning, the device normally assigns a long file name. This may cause you difficulty finding the correct document without opening it.

Scan to folder permissions is a common concern for IT staff.  They need to address this in order for certain people to be able to view certain files only or their files only. Scanning to email eliminates this issue as only who receives the document can access it.

All Canon multi-functional photocopiers support both technologies with a variety of additional features such as OCR, Scan to Searchable PDF, Scan to OOXML among others.

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