Manage Your Payslips with Papermerge

Document metadata displayed in separate column

Keeping a record of your payslips is a very good habit, especially if you leave in a bureaucratic country (e.g. Germany). You never know when you will be asked for copy of your document showing your salary/income from 5, 10 or maybe even 30 years ago! In short term, keeping a record of your payslips will be useful for your annual tax declaration.

In this blog post I will show you how you can manage your payslips with Papermerge. Before I start, I want to make it clear, that your payslips may come from a variety sources. They may be initially physical paper based, which by scanning you will end up with a PDF, TIFF or JPEG formats. Also, your payslips may be from the very beginning in PDF format. In this context and for the purpose of this post the origin of your document does not matter. What matters in context of this article is that you have a (say PDF) file with one or multiple of your payslips there.

Order Document’s Pages In Papermerge

Now you have your payslips in Papermerge. To stay organized let’s place new document into separate folder titled My Payslips.

Upload all payslips into a folder

Say you have 26 physical pages of payslips from 2 years of employments, for example from January 2011 to December 2012. Ordering those payslips physically (so that they will be fed to scanner and the results will be one single PDF or ordered pages) even for just 26 pages is pain task. Way more efficient is just to feed shuffled payslips to the scanner, and then, upload the resulting PDF file to the Papermerge. In Papermerge you can reorder, cut and paste pages as you go. Actually in this case you don’t even need to reorder pages. What you can do, is simply cut pages one at the time and then paste them as separate document. Paste extracted pages into same folder where original document is i.e My Payslips folder.

Every time you perform a change on the document, like cut/paste a page (basically extracting a page as separate document), the current document’s version is incremented. This way Papermerge is a non-destructive DMS, which means you always have available all document versions.

Papermerge is a non-destructive document management system

Now that you extracted all payslip pages as separate documents, you will face following problem: all documents have same name and kinda look the same. At this point there is no way to tell which document contains what content. One way to fix this is obviously by renaming the documents. However, there is another much better approach – by using metadata.

Metadata to the Rescue!

All payslips are placed into the same folder. Folders are very good for sort of “grouping” similar documents. Now select My Payslips folder, and add one metadata field. Name that metadata field “Payment Date” and set type “date” and format “”.

Now, if you switch to list view inside My Payslips folder, you will see a new column (called metacolumn) corresponding to new metadata field you’ve just created. At this moment “Payment Date” of the metacolumn are all empty – an issue which we will fix right now.

Open each document in My Payslips folder and fill in “Payment Date” metacolumn with corresponding date – the they when that Payslip was issued. This way, metacolumn will be filled with information describing associated document.

When copying text from the document to the metadata field you need to use “CTRL+C” for Cut (Cmd + C on Mac) and “Ctrl + V” for paste (basically keyboard shortcuts for text cut and paste). The reason for that is that “cut” and “paste” from context menu mean “cut page” and “paste page” respectively 🙂

And now, with metacolumn filled with payslips issue date – you can not just clearly see what document corresponds to what payslip, but you can sort those documents ascending or descending based on “Payment Date” column!

Even More Metadata

You can go even further – say if you have payslips from multiple employers (multiple companies you worked for) then it is very good idea to place all of them in same folder – My Payslips and create an extra metadata field on the folder – “Employer” of type “Freetext”. In that case you will be able to sort payslips by “Payment Date” and by “Employer”.


For those of you who prefer video content instead of text, here is screencast about how to manage your payslips with Papermerge: