It's easy to scan all your important documents to digital copies—see the three options listed below. But first, it's helpful to understand why digitizing documents is so beneficial.
Why Digitize Your Documents?
Simply knowing you've got safe, secure digital copies of all your important documents can afford you invaluable peace of mind. There are many advantages to scanning—and therefore digitizing or making electronic copies of—your crucial paper documents and uploading them to FidSafe®:
- FidSafe provides a secure place to store electronic copies of your important documents so you're prepared in case anything happens to the paper originals, such as damage from fire or water, or discoloration over time.
- Gathering and uploading these essential documents to your FidSafe can ensure that you and your family are well-prepared for life's critical moments.
For example, if you need to reference information on your passport, simply access your FidSafe from any device connected to the Internet.
- FidSafe makes it simple to share digital copies with your family members, attorney, accountant or others.
- If you enroll in Sharing After Death, your designee will receive access to all of your documents and notes stored in FidSafe.
As always, we recommend that you consult your legal and tax advisors regarding which documents you should also keep in their original paper format.
FidSafe Tip: Note the location of any paper originals you keep by using the "Where I Keep My Stuff" form in the FidSafe Fundamentals Kit.
You can easily share this form with loved ones and/or print it and keep the paper copy with your originals.
How to Digitize Your Documents
Before you can store and share your documents using FidSafe, you'll need to digitize them. Digitizing documents simply entails scanning them and then uploading the digital files to your FidSafe. There are many options when it comes to scanning documents; below are three of the most frequently used ways to scan—and therefore, digitize—your documents.
Three Scanning Options
- Use a traditional scanner: For multipage documents, consider a traditional "flatbed" scanner capable of bundling multiple pages into a single file. For example, this method would allow you to put a year's worth of monthly bank statements into a single file.
- Use a scanning service: If you don't want to scan your own documents, or if you're unsure about the quality of your own scans, it's easy enough to use a professional service to digitize them. A reputable office supply company will scan your documents and give you the digital files ready to upload to FidSafe—usually in just a few minutes.
- Use your mobile device: There are a number of very good apps currently available—many of them free—that use the camera on your phone or tablet to scan documents. While several of these apps can organize multipage documents into a single file, this method is especially handy for single-page documents such as your driver's or marriage license. Of course, you could simply take a photo of your documents, but you’d need to ensure that every photo was legible. (See "Scanning Basics" below.) Note that the FidSafe app for iPhone® is available to access your documents on the go, although you will need a separate app to scan documents.
Knowing the scan quality you need for certain documents may help you decide how best to scan them. As a general rule of thumb, if you follow the points below, your scans should be sufficient for most, if not all, reference needs:
- Scan each document at 100% of its actual size.
- Scan each document at 300 dots per inch (DPI); use higher resolution if scanning documents that will need to be enlarged.
- Scan black-and-white documents in grayscale. Be sure to scan documents that feature color elements, such as a government seal, in full color.
- After each scan, make sure all text is legible and nothing is blurry or cut off.
- Consider saving your documents in a PDF before uploading to FidSafe. The PDF format is a universally accepted document format that maintains high viewing quality at relatively small file sizes.
FidSafe Tip: When uploading your scanned files to FidSafe name them in a way that's self-explanatory; the goal is to make it easy for you, and anyone with whom you choose to share, to find the needed file(s) later on.