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Scanning Documents for Appraisal

Scanning Documents for Appraisal

We appreciate that you will not have all your appraisal material available electronically. Some of it will exist as paper copies.  If you have access to a scanner, whether it is from home or work, you can use this to scan your documents and then upload to SOAR.

Do I have to scan all my documents for my appraisal?

If you have several folders' worth of training certificates, obviously it's quite an arduous task to sit and scan umpteen documents.  We recommend that you speak with the appraiser first, and if agreed, simply bring these files with you on the day of the interview.  HOWEVER:

  • We do ask that you document what you will bring to the interview in the appropriate comments box on Form 3 accordingly; and
  • There will be documents that your appraiser will want to see in advance of the meeting, such as reflections, reports etc.  We expect you to make the effort to ensure your appraiser has access to these ahead of time for their review, either electronically or otherwise.

If you have access to a scanner from home, you will want to look out for the following settings on your scanner.

Scanner settings

Each individual scanner will have different settings, and more critically, different software (no two scanners are set up the same).  The tips offered below are very generic guidance and designed to help you understand how to scan documents that would not take forever to scan, and more importantly, forever to upload.

Scan resolution / File sizes

Quite simply, the higher the scan resolution, the more detailed your image will be; the more detailed your scan is, the bigger the file size.  Very often your scanner software will have different "profiles" with defaulted resolution ready for you.  If you select a "Photo" profile, the scanner will try and scan the file at its maximum resolution to get the best possible quality.  Remember, you are not scanning photos, just plain text documents.

If your scanner software offers preset profiles, look for "Letters" or "Documents".  This should change your scan resolution from something like 600ppi to 97ppi.  Yes, the scan will be a bit smaller when you print it, but remember, we are not scanning for print, the appraiser will not be printing these off, just viewing on-screen.

If your scanner software does not have preset profiles, make sure the resolution is set to about 100ppi or dpi.

Also, make sure you are not scanning in colour (unless you want to).  Set it to scan in black and white (BW) or grayscale. Sometimes for BW scans, grayscale offers a clearer scan, especially with pencilled writings.

What is ppi or dpi?

PPI means pixel per inch, and DPI stands for dots per inch.  This may mean nothing to you, but essentially the higher the PPI/DPI, the more detailed your scan will be.

File formats

Additionally, you might be asked how you want your scanned documents to be saved.  If given the option, PDF is always a safe bet to ensure accessibility between different machines.  Photographs are normally scanned as jpg files.  Sometimes you can also scan documents as a tiff file - but this is usually only for multi-page scans.  Either way, PDF is your best bet for scanned file format.

I've lost my scanned files!

Sometimes you might also be given the option to save the scanned document as an email attachment or direct to your desktop / My Documents etc.  If you don't know where your scanned document went, have a look in these places!

Multi-page documents

If you have a lot of certificates, you might want to scan them as one multi-page file, rather than a number of individual files (saves you from having to upload multiple files!).  Look for the option to scan multiple pages as one document. Depending on the software, this function may be referred to differently.

If you are scanning using a work "multifunction" scanner (i.e. the machine photocopies, faxes, prints, and scans), usually you are asked to keep scanning and hit the # key on the numberpad to signify the last page.  Again, check instructions or ask a colleague, as different machines will have different settings.

What if I don't have access to a scanner?

This is not really recommended, but if you have a smartphone or a digital camera, you can take pictures of the documents and upload them instead, but be careful of your capture resolution!  Whilst you will want great quality for your regular photos, you don't really want or need a high-resolution picture of a training certificate!  The same information on resolution applies here. The higher the resolution, the better quality picture you will take (light/bright settings will help also).

If you do use your camera or phone, just make sure you change your settings back to high-res after you are done. It's one thing taking low-res pictures of training attendance certificates, but you don't want to ruin your holiday snaps!

Further reading

There aren't many "scanner tips" websites available, purely because each scanner will have different functions and different software to work with.  We'd recommend that if you are stuck, first port of call is your scanner's instruction manual.  For more general guidance and tips on scanning, we have stumbled upon this website which has some very useful information: (link opens in new window)

But instruction manual first! Or the scanner's maker's website, where you can search for your scanner's model for relevant information.

This page was last updated on: 06/05/2021