Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

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Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby justus » Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:56 am

I've been meaning to start going paperless (or at least have less paper) because I'm terribly unorganized.

I have a scanner with a ADF but the software that came with the scanner seems to just do PDFs that are not searchable.

What additional software do I need to create PDFs that are indexed and searchable?

Any tips on how to sort these PDFs once they're created?

For anyone that's upgraded from a single sided to a double sided (duplex) scanner, is it worth the upgrade? If I were to look at some new models, what other features are important?
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby user5027 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:01 am

There are versions of Adobe Acrobat (not Reader) that will run an OCR process and create a searchable pdf.

I would sort by placing statements from each company in a separate folder and then by date in the file name. I like "2012 12 29 Statement" so they are in chronological order, otherwise you get all January. February, etc..

Depends on how many double sided documents you will scan. I have a lot.

Make sure you have data backups. Consider a cloud/off-site regimen. God forbid the house burns down and destroys both the pc and the backup.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby bUU » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:48 am

I'm considering a scanner to help me get rid of two 4-drawer filing cabinets' worth of old records... I really like that they have self-feeding duplex scanners now... that might really make it a worthwhile effort.

I'm not sure why I would care about OCR though. While searchable is better than non-searchable, of course, I really cannot imagine that for financial records and such that it'll make much of a difference. What do you plan on searching for?
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby Aptenodytes » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:04 am

Duplex is a huge benefit. Search/OCR capability is too. Yesterday I had to locate proof of payment of a medical bill. Located in ten seconds with a simple search.

I second recommendation to have solid backup strategy.

Some people care about naming documents. I don't. I sort them into a small number of folders which doesn't take long. I stick with scanner default names which are date based.. I can restrict a search to a specific folder if I want or search the whole schmere.

For me the storage and search interface choice is just as important as the scanning hardware. I opted for Evernote and am very happy with it.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby justus » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:08 pm

It seems like there are several people that use Adobe Acrobat - they sell a Standard and a Pro; is there real advantage to the Pro for my use (scanning searchable PDFs)?
I think I will try to sort by date and company, but invariable will have some docs that are filed under miscellaneous. I'd like to be able to do a keyword search if necessary.

Apenodytes: what scanner and software do you use?
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby crumbgrabber » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:27 pm

We went paperless a few months ago. I purchased an app for my Mac from the App Store called "PDFScanner" --it's an improvement over the Mac's built in scanner app, as it can perform OCR and can do a form of automatic duplexing, where you run your stack of papers through the scanner twice, once right side up and once upside down, and the program sorts it out. It worked pretty well.

Our paperless needs are pretty minor, probably a few bills per week (maybe 3 pages total per week, since we receive most statements in PDF format), so I wasn't ready to invest much in scanners beyond our Brother's multifunction setup. It was a bit of work to get all of our older documents scanned, but I did a few piles a day for about a month or so. I am happy with this hardware for the future and won't get anything else (it's not duplex).

I highly recommend the eBook "Paperless" if you have an iPad--the author has a lot of very useful suggestions if you're thinking of going paperless. Here are the most important things I can think of:

1) OCR (essential for searching)
2) Get your filing system figured out--recommendation is for filenames to look like YYYY-MM-DD_basic_description and of course to have nested folders containing all of these. This is platform and software package independent, which is very important if you plan on only keeping digital records.
3) Keep physical copies of tax and government related documents--almost everything else can be scanned and shredded.
4) A great backup system/methodology. Preferably multiple hard drives and something offsite also.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby Aptenodytes » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:08 pm

justus wrote:It seems like there are several people that use Adobe Acrobat - they sell a Standard and a Pro; is there real advantage to the Pro for my use (scanning searchable PDFs)?
I think I will try to sort by date and company, but invariable will have some docs that are filed under miscellaneous. I'd like to be able to do a keyword search if necessary.

Apenodytes: what scanner and software do you use?

All adobe flavors can search for text in a pdf.. Only the pro can create embedded searchable text from an image (OCR). However, Evernote will make your pdfs searchable after you upload them. If you Google evernote+scanner will you find all kinds of information and fanaticism.

I have Adobe pro that came with my fujitsu scansnap scanner and also have it available at no cost through a work site license.. You definitely want some way to ocr your documents. I even locate handwritten documents that were ocred.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby justus » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:29 am

Thanks. I've been using the demo of Acrobat Pro successfully for the last half-day and it looks like it'll meet my needs. $200 well spent.

eta : wow, pro is actually nearly $500. still probably worth it.
Last edited by justus on Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby justus » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:32 am

crumbgrabber wrote:
I highly recommend the eBook "Paperless" if you have an iPad--the author has a lot of very useful suggestions if you're thinking of going paperless.


Who is the author of that ebook "paperless"?
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby madbrain » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:25 am

I have been using a Brother all-in-one machine for 5 years.

It is mode MFC-9840CDW . It has a duplex scanner with ADF.
This was about a $700 machine back then.
It came with Nuance Paperport 11SE software for Windows which creates multi-page PDF.

The OCR software doesn't come with the scanner. However, if you buy a copy of Omnipage, it integrates with Paperport and the software will automatically do the OCR after the scanning.

Omnipage is not very expensive. Regular price is typically about $150. But you can often find it for much less than that, especially if you don't buy the latest.
I just bought the latest Omnipage 18 (standard edition) on ebay for $30. Yes, this was a legit retail box.

Fry's regularly runs similar deals on Omnipage at around $130 with $100 rebate on it, if you are into filling out rebates. I just thought the ebay option was better.

I have also updated to the latest Paperport for 14 about a year ago for about the same amount.

I have used the scanner in this machine quite a lot. I have 2761 PDFs scanned with it, which totals about 4GB of data.

The Brother MFC-9840CDW is no longer made but may still be available in some stores or online. The current model is the MFC-9970CDW . It costs about the same $700 MSRP. It can sometimes be found for under $600 delivered. Amazon had a promotion at $530 during the holidays. But it's now back up . The amazon dynamic pricing is really impenetrable. I was thinking about upgrading my unit . But selling this beast is difficult. It put my MFC-9840CDW with 2nd tray on craigslist for a week for $400 and didn't got one call on it. The machine still works great and still has toner left, so I have postponed my upgrade. I will wait until it either dies, or Brother has another promotion that makes the new model irresistible. I believe the 9840 could still last me many more years, and it's already 5 years and 1 month.

The main downside with these machines is that they are big and heavy. They take a lot of desk space and weigh about 80 lbs. It needs 2 people to unpack and install.

I have had a few problems with toner leaks also but the problems are more with the cartridges than the machine. And yes, they were all genuine Brother toner.

The scanner portion is top notch, as is the fax and B&W copier. When it comes to color printing and copying, you have to keep in mind that this is not a photo printer like many inkjets printers are. Those inkjets will seldom last 5 years, though.

Still, IMO, this is an investment well worth making. I scan anything of importance . Any receipt with a warranty gets a scan, and goes to the shredder.
My shredder didn't last as long as the Brother scanner, I am already on my second one . The shredder can't quite shred stacks of papers as big as the Brother can scan.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby hillman » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:32 am

[quote="user5027"}\]

I would sort by placing statements from each company in a separate folder and then by date in the file name. I like "2012 12 29 Statement" so they are in chronological order, otherwise you get all January. February, etc..
[/quote]


Wanted to agree with and add to this, the file name I use is typically "INSTITUTION YEAR MONTH DATE." Then, each institution has its own folder. By going ahead and including the institution, if things were ever moved out of the folder by accident, you could sort and find it easier.


ETA: Sorry for breaking the quote. Every durn time.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby crumbgrabber » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:27 am

justus wrote:
crumbgrabber wrote:
I highly recommend the eBook "Paperless" if you have an iPad--the author has a lot of very useful suggestions if you're thinking of going paperless.


Who is the author of that ebook "paperless"?


David Sparks.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby stan1 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:51 am

justus wrote:Thanks. I've been using the demo of Acrobat Pro successfully for the last half-day and it looks like it'll meet my needs. $200 well spent.

eta : wow, pro is actually nearly $500. still probably worth it.


Most scanners come bundled with software so you may not need to buy more software. Check out the reviews of the hardware and the software as an integrated package before you buy a scanner.

I have a Fujitsu Scansnap 1300 for my Mac (now 1300i), and have found the scanning software fully meets my needs.
Caveat: I do several hundred pages per year, not tens of thousands so I don't need an office style sheet feeder.
I am happy with the multi-sheet feeder and duplex capability of the 1300, and the software can be configured to open/save the scanned documents in multiple ways.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby user5027 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:35 pm

justus wrote:Thanks. I've been using the demo of Acrobat Pro successfully for the last half-day and it looks like it'll meet my needs. $200 well spent.

eta : wow, pro is actually nearly $500. still probably worth it.


I bought Fujitsu scanners in 2004 and 2008. Both were around $400 and both included Acrobat Pro.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby Leesbro63 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:39 pm

crumbgrabber wrote: Keep physical copies of tax and government related documents--almost everything else can be scanned and shredded.


Why? If you have a good backup system, digital copies are no riskier...maybe even less...than paper copies.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby IGoCougsI » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:03 pm

I am rarely connected by computer to my scanner. My current scanner doesn't have any internal memory or any ability to send scanned files to a cloud storage service. Any recommendations on a home office scanner that can scan a doc straight to the cloud without the need for a computer hooked up to facilitate? I plan to scan maybe 200 docs a year.

Looking at the Fujitsu scansnap s1300i. Thoughts?
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby stan1 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:14 pm

I have a Scansnap s1300 that is now about 4 years old. I love it, it is a great duplex scanner. Very solid and reliable. Worth the cost premium over a low cost bed scanner because the duplex ADF makes scanning very quick and easy so you won't procrastinate. I scan to a Dropbox folder on my computer so can't comment on scanning directly to cloud.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby stan1 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:31 pm

IGoCougsI wrote: Any recommendations on a home office scanner that can scan a doc straight to the cloud without the need for a computer hooked up to facilitate? I plan to scan maybe 200 docs a year.

Looking at the Fujitsu scansnap s1300i. Thoughts?


Unless I'm missing something, I don't think the Scansnap s1300i can do that. It needs a USB connection to a computer. Looks like the N1800 will connect direclty to Google Docs (although it is $1379 (!!!) at Amazon with a lot of bad reviews).
Last edited by stan1 on Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby frugaltype » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:49 pm

Aptenodytes wrote:Some people care about naming documents. I don't. I sort them into a small number of folders which doesn't take long. I stick with scanner default names which are date based.


I name and organize by folders, so I can search on names and don't need OCR. I have a large number of folders but they are very hierarchical - metathing, less meta, year, etc. I tend to scan in as jpgs. I think Adobe stuff is horrible to use.

Scanner default names are the scan date, not necessarily the document created or received date.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby Aptenodytes » Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:17 pm

IGoCougsI wrote:I am rarely connected by computer to my scanner. My current scanner doesn't have any internal memory or any ability to send scanned files to a cloud storage service. Any recommendations on a home office scanner that can scan a doc straight to the cloud without the need for a computer hooked up to facilitate? I plan to scan maybe 200 docs a year.

Looking at the Fujitsu scansnap s1300i. Thoughts?

You've got to put your scanner somewhere -- why not within cable-distance of your computer? You can get really long USB cables.

You could batch your scans and temporarily move your computer or scanner.

You could use different technology. If the scans aren't that many pages you might want to just use your smart phone.

You could think about doing what I do and hook up an obsolete laptop to the scanner and have it dedicated to scanning. If you don't have an obsolete laptop laying around the house you can buy them on ebay for $100 and under. That's cheaper than springing for the cloudy scanner.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby obgraham » Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:57 pm

I name and organize by folders, so I can search on names and don't need OCR. I have a large number of folders but they are very hierarchical - metathing, less meta, year, etc. I tend to scan in as jpgs. I think Adobe stuff is horrible to use.

Scanner default names are the scan date, not necessarily the document created or received date.
Everyone finds the system best for himself. For me, I like each year's financial stuff in one place. So my folder is "Financial2013". In there I name each scanned document by what it is and the month - like "Verizon03" - that way they all gather together in the folder. I save everything as a PDF because I can either download them that way, or print to my PDF printer, then "save as..." And I think that format will be readable as long as I am still breathing.

To get rid of all the other papers in filing cabinets, I just made a directory called "Filing Cabinet". In there is a subdirectory named whatever the old manila folder was named. So it is a virtual copy of my old tin cabinets. I can find any document in less than 30 seconds. And, trust me, there are multiple backups!

The only originals I keep are vital documents (Birth cert, marriage, etc) and official recorded realestate papers. Everything else is a PDF. If the IRS says they need an original, my answer will be "sorry, doesn't exist, deal with it."
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby vtjon » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:50 pm

obgraham wrote:
Everything else is a PDF. If the IRS says they need an original, my answer will be "sorry, doesn't exist, deal with it."


The IRS has ruled that PDF (or electronic) copies are acceptable.
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/rp-97-22.pdf
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby Helloeeze » Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:27 pm

Fujitsu Scansnap is excellent, recommended by my colleagues and tried and tested by them. It is around $450 but it's multi-feed, both sides.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby frugaltype » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:35 pm

Aptenodytes wrote:You've got to put your scanner somewhere -- why not within cable-distance of your computer? You can get really long USB cables.


I believe the usable limit is 10-16 feet, depending on the types of devices.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby madbrain » Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:16 am

frugaltype wrote:
Aptenodytes wrote:You've got to put your scanner somewhere -- why not within cable-distance of your computer? You can get really long USB cables.


I believe the usable limit is 10-16 feet, depending on the types of devices.


You can use USB repeaters to extend the cable length.

Or buy a networked model which could use either a much longer Ethernet cable, or work over wifi (no cable at all).
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby bUU » Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:32 am

IGoCougsI wrote:I am rarely connected by computer to my scanner. My current scanner doesn't have any internal memory or any ability to send scanned files to a cloud storage service. Any recommendations on a home office scanner that can scan a doc straight to the cloud without the need for a computer hooked up to facilitate? I plan to scan maybe 200 docs a year.

Since switching to electronic billing already got rid of 90%-95% of the paper coming in, I went with the Doxie Go for the 200 pages a year I still need to scan. Very inexpensive ($188). Reliable. Relatively quick (about 8 second to do a page). Rechargeable and ridiculously portable (about 1.5" x 1.5" x 9"). I carry it to work on payday, because "Why not?" The accountant hands me my paystub, I slip it in the slot, and then it goes right into the shredder. Later, with its sync software, I convert the scan to searchable PDF.

It is manual feed and you wouldn't want to use it for massive amounts - that's not what it is for. It's for the one piece of paper you still get every now and then after making everything else electronic.

It has a wifi accessory that supports scanning to the cloud.
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Re: Scanners/duplex scanners, OCR software?

Postby Allan » Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:47 am

I have a small business but we still receive 5000-7000 documents a year. Most of those are now coming in as digital files, primarily PDF's, but we still receive 1000-2000 paper documents. We scan each of those to Dropbox or Evernote, using a ScanSnap scanner. It is extremely fast and reliable.

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