There are plenty of products available to assist with scanning documents directly to sharepoint; from installable modules for your multi-function devices (MFD)/scanners to software solutions. But here’s a quick workaround I discovered using Symbolic links and shared folders:
SharePoint doesn’t store documents in a standard file system. The documents are actually stored within the SharePoint database. When you navigate to a document list and click ‘Open with Windows Explorer’ a number of technologies included WEBDAV are used to give you access to the files as if they were stored in a standard file system.
So the bottom line is although your computer is able to interpret this file storage location your scanner/MFD in most cases can’t.
If your scanner/MFD is able to scan to a networked location there is a workaround:
1. For this solution to work, scans are going to go via a share on one of your Servers. This can be your SharePoint server or another of your choice. On this server navigate to the SharePoint list you want to scan to and choose the ‘Open with Windows Explorer’ option. You may need to install the ‘Windows Desktop Experience’ if prompted.
2. From the explorer window that appears make a note of the address (probably in the format of http://yourserver/yourlist or yourserveryourlist depending upon your site structure)
3. Open a command prompt and type the following
mklink /d [link name] [target]
For example if you wanted to create your link to http://myserver/mylist in a test folder on your c: called ‘mytestlink’ the syntax would be as follows
mklink /d c:testmytestlink myservermylist
4. Once the symbolic link has been created – test that it works and then set it up as a shared folder on the network
5. Modify your scanner to scan to the new shared folder and test the scans appear as expected.
6. On the server where you created the link ensure that the WebClient service is enabled and set to start automatically – otherwise you may find that after a server restart your links don’t work until you browse to the SharePoint list again.