It’s About Workflow

When we moved my dad out of his apartment and into a senior living center, a place where he could have medical care if needed, we cleaned out his apartment and my sister and I took some of his things to our homes. I ended up with several trays of slides from years of family trips and vacations and other events. Remember, until the last 10 years, average people only took photographs of special occasions.

I recently began the process of scanning and archiving the slides digitally, which means storing the images in my OneDrive and/or Google Photos accounts.

To accomplish this, I set up a type of workflow. It was not too sophisticated, but it was a workflow. Below is a photo showing my desk – more mess than workflow, but it was a workflow all the same.

My Desk During my Slide Scanning Workflow (note half cup of coffee at bottom – very essential part of the project).

Basically, I would scan a tray of slides (my scanner can scan 4 slides at once). Then, after scanning completed, images were saved and the file explorer opened on my computer. My process was to then move them to the appropriate folder for archiving. I like scanning to a staging folder (in this case my documents folder) and then inspecting each image and moving it to the final destination. That’s just the way I like doing it – maybe there are better ways, but this was how I worked.

One thing that bugged me was that I would take an extra step each time I moved my photos from the documents folder into the final archiving folder because I would always get duplicate file names and have to do a couple extra clicks to keep all images and not overwrite any.

So, my dilemma was that I hated the extra step (a couple extra clicks of my mouse) each time I moved my images.

I’m a programmer in my day job, so 2 things (at least) are true because of that. First, I knew there should be a way to make this process a little less “clicky”. Second, I knew that I should be able to do something about it.

To make a long story short, I found settings in my Canon scanning software that allowed me to specify any other program I wanted to open (instead of windows explorer) when a scan completes. This gave me the idea that I could write a tiny program, that basically simulated windows explorer by displaying the images in a specific folder, and allowed me to move the files, updating the names as needed, to the new directory in a totally automated fashion.

So, I built a small application in C#, dropped it into a folder on my desktop, configured the scanning software to open this new application rather than windows explorer, and voila! It worked.

To coin a phrase, “I love it when a plan comes together”. The rest is history. Now the next time I need to scan 4 or 5 trays of slides, I should have a much faster path to get it done. Too bad I didn’t do this last week!

I hope you find ways to speed up your projects and save valuable time so you can get outdoors and take more photos! And Friday is Valentine’s day (at least where I live) so you might want to include your significant other in any photo excursions you have planned!

Have a great week everyone!