DoxCycle already does a great job of making the task of scanning and managing source documents easy for tax preparers. But, there are still a few things you can do to optimize the scanning process. Read on to learn more.
Update on December 17, 2013: Since the release of DoxCycle 2.0, some of the items below are easier. Updates appear in italics.
1. Start with the highest-quality paper document you have
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology depends on having a good quality image to start from. And, when you're scanning a document, the quality of the resulting image depends directly on the quality of the paper document you scan. A crisply-printed form or slip will produce an electronic copy with clean, solid lines and easily-readable numbers and text. A faxed, faded or wrinkled document will add unwanted artifacts (spots, dots and lines) to the scanned image. These spots then make it hard for OCR to correctly read the boxes, numbers and letters on the page
So, if you want the best results, start with the very best version of the original document that you have. Rule of thumb: If it looks good to you and is easy to read on paper with human eyes, it will look good on screen and be easily-read by DoxCycle. Remember, DoxCycle gives you the option of importing documents from PDF files instead of scanning, so if your client already has good-quality electronic copies of their files, you can also use those.
2. Scan multi-page documents separately, if you want to...
We used to tell people to scan multi-page documents separately all the time, and you do still have the option to do that. But, DoxCycle 2.0 includes the categorization assistant, which allows you to group several pages together into a single document if you need to. The following instructions explain how to scan multi-page documents separately if you want to.
If you stack the multi-paged documents in with your other single-page documents, DoxCycle may treat each single page like its own document. Or, it will launch a categorization assistant if it doesn't know what they are.
If you want to, you can tell DoxCycle you're going to scan a multi-page document ahead of time:
Gather all pages of the document; put them in order in the scanner feeder.
Open the client's DoxCycle file.
On the Home tab, click on Multi-page or other and then select one of the options from the drop-down list.
Once scanned, the document will show in the category panel and indicate how many pages it contains.
3. Don't bother splitting up T-Slip pairs
We used to tell people to split up the T-Slip pairs, but DoxCycle has grown smarter in it's second season. Leave them together and DoxCycle will ignore duplicates when grabbing the data for extraction and import into your tax return.
4. Duplex scan double-sided documents
If your scanner supports scanning double-sided documents (duplex), DoxCycle does too. Just place the document in the scanner, click Multi-page or other and select one of the double-sided options to tell DoxCycle to capture the data on both sides of the paper.
If all of your documents (slips and everything else) are printed double-sided, you can set up DoxCycle to scan every document as double-sided. This means whatever document type you select (Slips, Donation receipts, etc.), DoxCycle will consider it double-sided. Simply check the Enable Duplexing scanning option (more on scanning options below).
5. Tweak those scanning settings when you need to
It can help to adjust your scanning settings if you're having trouble with the quality of a scanned document. For example, sometimes scanners don't handle shaded areas well, displaying them as solid black boxes. You can usually fix this by adjusting the options in DoxCycle:
On the File tab, click Options.
Then, in the DoxCycle Options dialog box, click the Scanning tab.
Select Use greyscale.
By default, DoxCycle hides the scanner settings dialog box when it scans a document. However, if you want even more control over the scanning process, you can force it to display by checking the Display scanner's dialog box option.
6. Set the optimum resolution if scanning outside of DoxCycle
Today’s scanners are very powerful and can capture minute details. To do this, they come with options to output to a very high resolution (dots per inch, or dpi). This is great if you're looking to scan a high-quality photo, but may hinder results if you're scanning documents for OCR. Scanning a good quality paper document at a too high resolution will pick up extra cruft that can make OCR inaccurate. Likewise, scanning at a too low resolution can blur details required for accurate reading.
When you scan a document from within DoxCycle, it automatically sets the resolution to 300 dpi. But, if you scan any documents outside of DoxCycle and then import them, it is wise to check and set your scanner settings. We recommend a range between 300 to 400 dpi.
7. Don't worry about upside-down documents
You thought we were going to tell you to always make sure your documents are facing the same way up, didn't you? In fact, this is one thing you don't have to worry about. If you happen to scan a document so that it is the wrong way up, DoxCycle will generally figure it out and turn it up the right way.
And, for the odd time where you need to adjust the orientation for some other reason, just click the rotate button on the very right in the Page Assistant (the green bar at the top of the page).
Those are our tips for today. We hope they are a help to you. Do you have any other tips that we’ve missed? Or, comments and suggestions for how DoxCycle could do these things better? We invite you to post on our forum or contact support with your feedback and ideas.