What is Pixily?: Pixily is a service that scans your documents with a high degree of privacy and archives them securely online, or makes them available for download as PDFs. By documents, we could be talking about almost anything. I tried the free trial, and put them through their paces, sending the prepaid envelope with approximately 50 impressions to scan to four separate PDFs.
Robust Testing: For the first run, I gave them what I consider to be an exceedingly challenging packet of material. It was piles of letters and hand-scrawled notes, separated by paperclips where the PDFs should be separate files. The paper ranged from notebook paper with spiral edges, plain notebook paper, typing paper, cards, flyers, stationary paper, newsprint, envelopes, parts of envelopes, and copy paper, to notes scrawled on various scraps of myriad sizes. All items were circa 1981-1995 (yes, up to 28 years old in some cases, and no newer than 14 years old). Memory is precious – I gave Pixily things I didn’t want to forget.
- The PDFs were flawlessly separated. Nothing ended up in one that belonged in another.
- All pages were in the correct order.
- All the truly blank sides were skipped, including blank sides of lined notebook paper.
- Yet nothing with the smallest iota of print was skipped – including the back side of a “blank” envelope that featured a small code stamp. Simultaneously, the blank side of only half an envelope that contained no such stamp was appropriate not scanned. Consequently, bits of things I didn’t notice when I sent the packet were picked up and I’m glad they were not lost.
- Nothing more was cut off than about 2 millimeters at the top of some 20-year old stationary paper, so that the top of a hand-written page number was all that was lost.
- All pages were fully scanned, except for the bottom left corner of one piece of notebook paper that was solidly folded over. They tell you to unfold those, and it was my fault that I did not in that one case. Two words were obscured as a result of my mistake. Ideally, I’d prefer it if they’d caught and straightened it, but in a rather challenging stack of 15-year old spiral notebook paper, I’m not surprised. Not bad.
- All PDFs were flawlessly aligned. Even in PDFs with pages of multiple widths, all pages of any one width flowed spot on from one page to another.
- All text (even faint pencil) was eminently readable, PDF resolution was superb, and things that I didn’t think would be searchable were not only quite searchable in the downloadable PDFs (including newsprint that had gone beyond yellow to brown, and handwritten letters with elaborate penmanship), but the PDF size was surprisingly small and quick to download. Small means 9mb for a 20-page document that included a photo postcard with stamp, and graphically rich stationary, 10mb for a 22-page document that was heavy on handwriting)
- A note on the interface: it seems to go into perpetual ‘hourglass’ mode if you check a document and click “Download PDF” at the top, but choosing “Download PDF” in the More dropdown, next to any one document, produced an instant dialogue to save, and downloads were lightening fast, where not instant, even on 15-20 page PDFs with diverse content.
- I got my packet back in the mail in the same exact order as the PDF pages, with one exception – only the postcard on top had the front (photo side) scanned first (correctly) but the back (text portion) face up (just like I sent it). So they did better than perfect. I was able to rapidly verify every single page in each PDF before shredding the packet I received. The option exists to have them shred, but these documents were too valuable for me not to verify.
Pixily scores a whopping 99.9 percent for doing better than exactly what they say they will do, within an astounding point one percent (.1%) margin of error (never cutting off all of a single word – and never really a word – just part of a page number – except in the case of a heavily creased and very small and hard to spot fold hidden deep in a stack of frilly spiral notebook pages (they tell you to take out such creases, so even though it’s a miss, they could have justifiably treated it as intentional – still, in an entire bankers box of business files, the possibility of a folded over corner here and there is high – so be aware and inspect before you send. In their maximum 50 impressions per envelope approach, it’s easier for you to spot when loading).
Conclusion: Simply amazing. In short, if Pixily maintains the quality control they have now, it seems you can trust them with just about anything. Rock on, Pixily. You’re the epitome of the kind of business I want to be in.