Different ways of scanning a document into SharePoint

SharePoint offers excellent ways to manage scanned documents, i.e. in PDF or XPS formats. Most scanners nowadays include software that automatically scans multiple page-documents and creates searchable PDF docs using OCR (text recognition).

When you’re scanning documents often, you’d want to minimize time and (manual) actions to get the documents into SharePoint. Luckily, SharePoint offers an array of possibilities to achive this. Furthermore, SharePoint is becoming more and more widespread in organizations, so many scanner manufacturers already support SharePoint connectivity out-of-the-box with their scanners and scanner-software. These are the most common methods:

SharePoint-ready scanners

The easiest way of scanning a document into SharePoint is achieved if the scanner-software manufacturer already prepared the scanner to work with SharePoint. This is already the case with many suppliers, such as Epson and Canon. Usually, this involves specifying the SharePoint address and port number and the user credentials to connect to this SharePoint site. These SharePoint-ready scanners usually work using the SharePoint Web Services and support WSS 3.0 / MOSS 2007, SharePoint 2010 and higher.

WebDAV

Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) is an extension to the HTTP protocol, which makes it possible to manage files on a SharePoint document library from Windows Explorer. Some printer manufacturers support WebDAV out-of-the-box. When this is not the case, you could map a network drive letter to a WebDAV location, and treat the WebDAV location as a network share. There are different ways of doing this, depending on the Operation System. Use Google or Bing to find the one that works for you.

Email enabled libraries

If your scanner (software) does not support SharePoint or WebDAV directly, you could also specify an incoming email address for a library and send scanned documents to this address. Most scanners support scan-to-mail functionality. Be aware though, that this will impact your email infrastructure and keep email size limits in mind.

Alternate solutions

There are many more possible solutions, that may require (custom) development to some extend, depending on the flexibility of your scanner software. Examples include  using RESTful services within SharePoint 2010, PowerShell, the SharePoint Client Object Model, SharePoint Workspace, using File Classification Infrastructure (FCI) and more. Which one works best in your solution, depends primarily on the scanner and scanning software used, as well as the network infrastructure your users will be working in.