Monday, February 7, 2011

The NeatDesk

There were some really exciting raffle prizes at the Gala Industry Exchange portion of the 2011 Los Angeles Organizing Awards. I was lucky enough (and bought enough raffle tickets) to walk away with a NeatDesk scanner from The Neat Company. I finally got it set up this weekend, as my computer had been in to MacEnthusiasts (which has the nicest people you will ever find at a Mac repair place in Los Angeles) for a checkup.

The NeatDesk is a small scanning unit that you use with the NeatWorks software. The scanner can take up to 15 normal sheets of paper, 15 receipts, and 15 business cards at once, or you can take out the receipt/business cards tray and it can take up to 50 sheets of paper. My initial thoughts after completing the straightforward set up and trying it out, are wow-it works so fast, and wow-it auto-populates well.

The system works to archive your paper, as well as make the information on your paper searchable and easily retrievable through its simple file structure. I love when you start using a new system and everything is clean and you can set it up from the ground floor exactly how you want it. The scanner takes the sheets and spits them out quite rapidly, then the software catches up and reads the scan, deciding what kind of item it is and pulling as much information as possible to populate the various data boxes that are associated with each item. For instance, it will try to find the work phone number on a business card and put it into the work phone number slot, and then you can update your Mac Address Book with the new information, tying Address Book entries to business cards you've scanned.

The scanner will make that function on my 7 year-old all-in-one printer obsolete.
As I try to minimize the amount of paper I have to keep around, I do a fair amount of scanning. I can see that the NeatDesk is already replacing my flatbed scanner. What is yet to be determined is if I'll end up using it to archive stuff I already have a system for, for instance, converting my business card binder from the physical to the electronic. I can usually find a card I want pretty easily, but the NeatDesk would make such light work of the conversion process that it might be worth doing.

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email

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