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Thread: How to Upload Documents (and keep your details safe!)

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  1. #1
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    Default Re: Need a guide to Uploading documents to LB & off site storage and linking.

    How to upload documents to your thread

    STEP 1: Digitizing: getting your documents in digital format

    The first step is to get the paperwork in digital format. There are two ways to do this:

    1. Scan it - if you have access to a flatbed scanner, you will get better results using this method. Scanners are optimised for documents and you can fine tune settings to obtain the best quality, they come with their own editing software.
    2. Take a picture - if you haven't got access to a scanner, you can use a digital camera or mobile phone to take a picture. Make sure the document is lying flat on an even surface. A plain background works best. Zoom in until the document fills the screen and try to hold the camera or phone parallel to the subject. Ambient light works better than Flash.
    It is important to remove all personal details that could be used to identify you, this can be done either before you scan the document or take a picture of it, or afterwards, it all depends on the method you are using to digitize the image.
    If you have access to a photocopier, either at work, or you have a multi-function printer/scanner/copier at home, the easiest thing to do is to photocopy the document and cover up the areas you don't want to show with bits of paper, which you can tape to the document. You can also use opaque tape (such as masking tape).
    Make sure the paper or tape you are using is thick enough and doesn't let you see through it. Black marker pens are often semi-transparent and let you see through. If you haven't got a copier, you may not want to apply tape or deface you original documents with markers.
    If you are using a scanner, scan as a JPEG and use the image processing software that came with the scanner to paint out your details in white. If you scan as a PDF, you may not be able to edit out your details unless you have a program that lets you edit PDFs.
    If you have a document that's several pages long (such as a set of terms), your personal details may only appear on the first page. In this case, you could scan the rest of the document as a PDF, as long as it does not contain anything that can identify you.
    If you are taking a photo, cover up your details by placing bits of paper on top of the document as it lies flat. Make sure all details are covered but also check that you are not covering up anything important, such as the date. Do not leave out any small print on the edges of the document, these details can often be useful.
    Details you should remove include:
    • Your name and address
    • Email address and/or phone numbers(s)
    • Account number
    • Reference number
    • Claim number and password on particulars of claim
    • Employers, bank and credit card details on application forms
    • Previous addresses and any other personal information supplied on application forms
    • Vehicle registration number, where applicable
    • Your signature on any form or agreement
    • Barcodes
    Details you should leave visible include:
    • Date (particularly important for default notices and particulars of claim)
    • Name of creditor or DCA
    • Claimant's name on particulars of claim
    • Small print on the edges of agreements and terms, unless they contain a barcode

    NOTE: This is only the beginning, next post will be step 2: editing documents

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Need a guide to Uploading documents to LB & off site storage and linking.

    How to upload documents to your thread

    STEP 2: Editing documents to remove unwanted details

    There are many ways to edit documents, depending on the software you have on your computer:
    • If you have a scanner or a digital camera, it will have come with some image editing software such as Photoshop Elements.
    • MS Paint is a basic image editor that comes with Windows.
    • Online image editors you can use on most browsers.
    • Photoshop, Paintshop Pro or Gimp. With multi-page documents such as agreements, your details are likely to be present just on the first page, in which case the first page can be scanned as an image and the rest as a PDF.

    Most image editors share the same basic tools and you don't need to get fancy to edit documents. A paintbrush or eraser is all you really need to remove details. A selection tool and paint bucket also come in handy.

    Scanning to PDF, especially multi-page documents, generally produces better quality, smaller files, however, unless you have a suitable PDF editor, you may find it hard to edit PDFs. Beware of editors that place white boxes on top to cover up text, the writing will still be visible below the white box and will often flash on the screen long enough for people to see it, furthermore, people who have certain software such as Illustrator will be able to view the text in full.

    If you scan to PDF, you can use this free PDF editor that converts PDFs to editable text documents (Word and plain text formats) as well as to JPEGs which can be edited using an image editor: http://www.pdfmate.com/pdf-converter-free.html

    Editing documents using MS Paint - Paint can edit bmp, jpg, gif, png, tiff and ico files.
    Using pixlr online photo editor - can edit jpg, gif, bmp, png, psd files

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Need a guide to Uploading documents to LB & off site storage and linking.

    How to upload documents to your thread

    STEP 3: Adding documents to your post

    Documents can be added in either of two ways:


    1. Using the attachment facility to upload files to the Legal Beagles server. There are some limitations associated with the attachments facility, one is the maximum allowed file sizes, limiting the resolution of the files you can upload, the other is a maximum of 5 attachments per post.
    2. Using an external image hosting service and linking to your files from your post. There are several websites where you can upload your images for free. Bear in mind those external sites are not linked to Legal Beagles in any way, anyone can upload and view files hosted on those sites, so it's important to make sure you remove all personal information. If you experience problems using the LB attachment facility, this method should solve the problem.

  4. #4
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    Lightbulb Re: Need a guide to Uploading documents to LB & off site storage and linking.

    Using the attachment facility to upload documents

    You can attach documents to your posts via the attachment facility. When you do this, the documents get uploaded to the Legal Beagles server.
    You need to be in Advanced mode to upload documents. To enter Advanced mode, click the button.

    Once you are in Advanced more, scroll down past the Post Icons to the Additional Options box. Under the heading Attachments, click the button.

    A new window will open as below. If you scroll down, you will see details for more file types.

    You can use the paper clip to insert an attachment at the cursor position.
    Note that the maximum allowed file size is 4Mb and there's a maximum of 5 attachments per post. The maximum dimensions for an image file in JPG format are 1000 x 1000 pixels. This should be enough for letters, but may not be adequate for documents with lots of small print, such as terms. You may need to use an external file hosting service if higher resolution files are required.

    Click , a new window will open showing your computer files. Locate the file you wish to attach, select it and click
    You will see your selected file next to the button: . If this is the file you wish to attach, click the button.

    Once the file is uploaded, it will be shown under Current Attachments:


    If you wish to attach more than one file, repeat the process above until you have attached all the files, then close the window.
    If you attempt to upload files larger than the allowed sizes, you will get an error message like the one below. You will need to reduce the size of the file as indicated.

    Once you have uploaded the files, they will be automatically attached to the bottom of your post. For image files such as JPEGs and PNGs, there will be a thumbnail preview. For documents such as PDFs, you will just see the filename and size. Clicking on the thumbnail will show a larger version, clicking on the name of a document will download the file to your computer.
    If you need to remove or replace an attachment, scroll down to and the window will open again. Click then to upload a new file if required. Click at any time to see the results.

    Limitations

    There are some limitations associated with the attachments facility:
    1. Images and documents cannot exceed the maximum allowed file sizes and dimensions.
    2. There is a maximum limit of 5 attachments per post.
    In addition to the attachments, you need to add some text to your post, it's not possible to have a post with just attachments and no text.
    If you want to display your attachments inline, place your cursor where you'd like the attachment to appear and click on the paper clip icon. A thumbnail of the image will appear at the cursor position. This works best with small images. The paper clip is only available in Advanced mode.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Need a guide to Uploading documents to LB & off site storage and linking.

    Using an external website to host your images and documents

    There are a number of free image hosting services where images and documents can be uploaded. Some require you to create an account, others do not. There are some advantages to using an external host:
    • It gets around the limitations associated with the forum software behind Legal Beagles, especially the file size issue. The 4Mb limit is adequate for most files and the maximum 1000 px dimensions work fine for images such as letters, however, there are times when you'll need to upload larger files.
    • Using an external hosting platform also helps reduce the server load: images and documents take up much more server space than posts and loading large files can slow down the site.
    • Some sites (such as Photobucket) offer mobile versions where you can upload images directly from your phone, handy if you are also using your phone to take pictures.

    While it is important to ensure no personal details are visible on any document or image you upload to a public website, it is even more important if you are using an external file hosting service.

    Listed below are some free image hosting sites, there are many more. Some allow only image files (usually JPEGs and PNGs), others also allow documents to be uploaded (such as JPEGs) None of these sites have any connection to Legal Beagles, which means LB cannot be held responsible for the content of those sites. External sites may go down, change their policies, stop operating or accepting new registrations at any time.

    Site
    Registration Image file formats Image dimensions Documents
    photobucket Required gif, jpg, jpeg, png, bmp No maximum n/a
    tinypic Optional but recommended to preserve images, otherwise removed if not viewed in 90 days. jpg, png, gif, bmp Max 1600 px n/a
    postimage Optional jpg, png, gif, bmp, psd, tiff TBA PDF

    Work in progress...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Need a guide to Uploading documents to LB & off site storage and linking.

    Editing documents using MS Paint

    Paint is an image editor that comes with Windows, so most people are likely to have it on their computers. (Mac users will probably have Photoshop and Linux users, GIMP).

    Below is the Paint toolbar:



    Click to open your image file.

    Click and draw a rectangle around any text you wish to remove:



    Make sure is set to white. With the area still selected, click The text will disappear.



    Click and choose Save As. Give the edited image a new name. The image is ready to upload. :typing:



    If you need to resize the image, click A new window will open. Enter the pixel dimensions in one of the boxes (for example, 1000 to use the LB attachment facility). Make sure Maintain aspect ratio is ticked to avoid distortion. Click OK and re-save the image.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Need a guide to Uploading documents to LB & off site storage and linking.

    Editing documents online using pixlr

    Pixlr is an online image editor that supports most browsers and can be used on a Mac as well as a PC.

    Point your browser to pixlr.com and click on

    You will see the box shown below. Click Open image from computer. You can also edit files you have stored online by choosing Open image from URL.



    The toolbox appears on the left hand side. There are many tools you can use to edit images. To remove bits of text, the easiest way is to use the eraser tool highlighted on the left.

    Click the eraser and you will see the following at the top of the screen:

    You can adjust the size by clicking on the little arrow below the number. Make sure the Opacity is set at 100. The solid, square brushes will work best in most cases.



    You will see an outline of the brush on your document. Adjust the size if necessary by repeating the steps above.



    Rub along the text you wish to remove, it will turn white. If you make a mistake, press CTRL+Z to undo.
    Click File -> Save or CTRL+S to save the file. The default settings (JPEG, quality: 80) will work well in most cases.

    If you need to resize the image, click Image -> Image size. Make sure the Constrain proportions box is checked and enter the desired pixel values.

    Pixlr is a fully featured image editor. Under Adjustments, you will find useful tools such as Brightness and contrast and Levels. These may be useful to make text more legible and improve the quality of poor scans and photos, correct exposure, etc. Feel free to have a play and see the results on screen.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Need a guide to Uploading documents to LB & off site storage and linking.

    Using an photobucket to host your documents

    You need to create an account to use photobucket. You'll need to provide a valid email address, choose a username and enter a date of birth. You can store up to 2Gb for free, which should be enough for the purpose of uploading documents. Additional space is available for a monthly fee. Free accounts are supported by adverts. Click "I'm OK with 2Gb" to proceed with the free account.

    You can create albums if you wish to organise your images. Make sure the privacy setting is set to Private but do not set a password, otherwise we won't be able to see your images on the forum. To avoid being identified, don't use your real name on photobucket, because it will show up on the URL (link) to the image.

    More to come...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Need a guide to Uploading documents to LB & off site storage and linking.

    Using PDFMate to convert PDF files to other formats.
    PDFMate offers a free version of its PDF converter that can be downloaded here: http://www.pdfmate.com/pdf-converter-free.html
    PDFMate can be used to convert PDFs to editable files: Word (.docx) and plain text (.txt) documents. It offers basic OCR (optical character recognition) to turn text in images into editable text, this feature is limited to 3 pages on the free version. Text- based PDFs can also be converted to Word or plain text files. Converting to Word will preserve appearance at the expense of editability, using lots of text boxes. This may make it difficult to work with the text. If you want to extract just the text and discard the formatting, convert to plain text (.txt) instead.
    You can use PDFMate to extract the text from scanned letters, you can then past the body of the letter as text on your post. This works well for most letters where the main thing is to know what they authors are saying, and the format of the letter is largely irrelevant.
    For other documents such as credit agreements, it's better to convert them to an image to edit out personal details using MS Paint, Photoshop, pixlr or the image editor of your choice, leaving everything else intact.
    If you are using the free version, you will often get a 'nag' box asking you to upgrade. Ignore and close it. :grin:

    More to come...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to Upload Documents (and keep your details safe!)

    Just bumping to the top
    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

    ****If you upload documents to your thread, please ensure you have redacted any personal data FIRST***

    Any advice I provide is given without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

    Find Solicitors and Legal Services Providers offering fixed fees on our sister site - LBcompare.co.uk

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How to Upload Documents (and keep your details safe!)

    Easy to follow YouTube tutorial



    Alternatively, you can email pics/docs to me (make sure you put a link to your thread or your username) and I can redact and post up for you xx
    Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of.

    It doesn't matter where your journey begins, so long as you begin it...

    recte agens confido

    ~~~~~

    Any advice I provide is given without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

    I can be emailed if you need my help loading pictures/documents to your thread. My email address is kati@legalbeagles.info
    But please include a link to your thread so I know who you are.

    Specialist advice can be sought via our sister site http://lbcompare.co.uk

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