ScanSnap Receipt – Initial Overview

ScanSnap ReceiptI mentioned in my recent ScanSnap iX100 Review that while the scanner is good, what made me fall out of my chair was the under-the-radar inclusion of a new software feature called ScanSnap Receipt.

This is something that ScanSnap users have requested for a long time – the ability to scan a receipt and have the ability to categorize and export the data for taxes, expense tracking, and the like.

The new ScanSnap Receipt application ships with the ScanSnap iX100, and it has started appearing via Online Update for ScanSnap iX500 customers as well. If you have an older ScanSnap and it has shown up for you, please leave a comment and let us know.[1]

One unfortunate note: I have heard reports that it is only appearing for customers with ScanSnap devices purchased in the United States. If you have an iX100 or iX500 and you are outside the US, leave a comment and let us know if it is/isn’t appearing for you.

Getting Receipts Into ScanSnap Receipt

ScanSnap Receipt is a separate application and is not built-in to ScanSnap Organizer, their document management application. The con of this is that if you use ScanSnap Organizer to manage your documents, everything is not tied in. The pro of this is that if you do not use ScanSnap Organizer, you still have the benefit of receipt management and extraction.

There are essentially three ways to get your receipts in to ScanSnap Receipt:

  • Scan a receipt and select ScanSnap Receipt in the Quick Menu.
  • Set up a ScanSnap Manager Profile for ScanSnap Receipt and use that to scan.
  • Drag or import PDFs or JPGs in to the ScanSnap Receipt application itself.

Let’s take a look.

Quick Menu

When you scan a receipt and have the Quick Menu enabled, it does a pretty good job of automatically detecting that it is a receipt and you should see ScanSnap Receipt in the Recommended section.

ScanSnap Receipt Quick Menu

If for whatever reason it doesn’t auto-detect that it is a receipt, not a problem. Just find ScanSnap Receipt in the list.

A nice touch – if you use Quick Menu and you have the ScanSnap Receipt application running, it will keep scanning subsequent receipts to ScanSnap Receipt. You don’t have to keep selecting it.

ScanSnap Manager Profile

If you are not the Quick Menu type, you can set up a ScanSnap Manager Profile for your receipts. Just select ScanSnap Receipt on the Application tab.

ScanSnap Receipt ScanSnap Manager Profile

Drag Into ScanSnap Receipt

You can drag a PDF or JPG image into the ScanSnap Receipt window, or use File > Import. It will then process the receipt and OCR if necessary.

To my utter shock and awe, this works for documents that were not scanned by the ScanSnap. I tested it out scanning with a few mobile scanning apps, both OCRed and not, and it happily imported them all. I was sure it would be locked down the way ScanSnap Organizer is.[2]

ScanSnap Receipt Inbox

ScanSnap Receipt Inbox

For organization, ScanSnap Receipt uses inboxes, and has one called My Inbox by default. Anything you scan or import will go there.

You can create other inboxes for high level organization if you’d like.

Editing Receipts

It would be nice if you could scan a receipt and have all the text detected perfectly and placed in the correct fields perfectly.

Unfortunately with pretty much any OCR solution, that will usually not be the case. There’s often something you need to tweak.

In my experience so far, I have found that it is great at detecting dates, amounts, taxes, payment method, and card numbers.

The Vendor name wasn’t super successful, though that is often a result of wacky logos etc. It’s pretty hard for any program to know exactly which piece of text is the vendor.

Fortunately, it is fast and easy to fix this stuff up.

Editing Text

If you just need to make a quick edit, you can type it directly in the spreadsheet-like view of all of the receipts. If you want to zoom in on an individual receipt, you can double-click it or select it and hit the Edit button.

ScanSnap Receipt Editing A Receipt

In this example, it has detected the date, amount, tax, and card of my unhealthy but delicious airport burrito, but it didn’t get the vendor right.

Of course, I could just type in the correct name, but ScanSnap Receipt has a cool select-and-OCR feature.

Just select a bit of text in the receipt and it will pop up a window asking which field you’d like it placed in.

ScanSnap Receipt Select and OCR Text

I highlighted El Bravo and chose Vendor, and it put the correct text in the Vendor field. Handy.

Checked vs. Unchecked

ScanSnap has a way for you to keep track of which receipts you’ve gone through and edited. There’s a field called Unchecked that has two states: Unchecked and Checked.

By default any receipt that is scanned/imported has a state of Unchecked. Once you’ve edited a receipt, it changes the state to Checked. You can, of course, change that back and forth manually.

This is good to know if you are editing a receipt and all of a sudden it “disappears”. Chances are you have a filter set to only show Unchecked receipts.

Currency and Tax

The ScanSnap Receipt help is explicit about the currency it supports:

The supported monetary unit is U.S. dollar only.

Unfortunately I don’t have any receipts that were non-US or Canadian (Canada uses the same symbol) so I am not exactly sure what happens when you process receipts in other currencies.

You may notice that the screenshot above only has one Tax field. Unfortunately, this means that for many Canadian provinces it is not going to detect the tax correctly since we have two. You can, of course, just edit it to enter the correct amount.

Hopefully ScanSnap Receipt will eventually become a more internationalized application, given the global nature of business these days.

Categorizing Receipts

The software comes with a set of Categories and Subcategories that you can modify. There is only one level of subcategories, so your hierarchy is only one level deep.

Combining and Splitting Receipts

I have found the ScanSnap Receipt software pretty smart about automatically splitting receipts. If I scan two receipts with in one shot, it automatically splits them out to two separate receipts in the software. However, if you need to combine receipts or split manually, you can do this.

Combining Receipts

To combine receipts, you can highlight the rows that you want to bring together, right-click, and hit Combine.

ScanSnap Receipt Combine Receipts

When you do, it will bring the receipts together and sum up the amount and the tax.

ScanSnap Receipt Combined

Splitting Receipts

You can also split up a receipt. This is handy if you have different categories, or perhaps part of a receipt is for Business and part is Personal.

For example, let’s take this receipt from Aunt Chilada’s. Perhaps my delicious carnitas tacos was a business expense, but I wanted the “Hand-Tossed Marg.” (whatever that is) to be a personal expense.

I right-click the receipt and choose Split, and I can make those changes.

ScanSnap Receipt Split

Once you do that, the receipt goes back into the Unchecked state and you can go in and review the changes.

Searching and Filtering Receipts

A nice thing about having all these fields to work off of is you can do some slicing and dicing to see (and export) just the receipts you want.

The key is the handy + button that lets you filter by your fields.

ScanSnap Receipt Add Filter

Once you press that, you can add up to three levels of filters. So let’s say we wanted to find the tax deductible travel receipts.

ScanSnap Receipt Filter

Boom. Of course, you can just search by keyword as well and it will search the OCR’ed text of the receipt.

Exporting Receipts

The point of using a receipt program isn’t to do all this work organizing receipts – you presumably want to do something with the information.

You can export the receipts as individual PDFs, as one big PDF, as JPGs, or as a CSV file.

ScanSnap Receipt Export Options

In ScanSnap Receipt for Windows, you can transfer receipts to Quickbooks Pro 2012 or later. You need to connect it to the company file, map the data for transferring, and then you can move data over.

You can export an individual receipt or the selected receipts, which is where filtering can come in handy. You can slice and dice the data exactly how you want it, and then export.

You may find it helpful to check out the CSV that ScanSnap Receipts puts out. I’ve generated a Mac and Windows one just in case there are any wacky differences.

Other than CSV/image export, there aren’t any reports that you can run from your receipt data.

Storage and Backup

Here’s where things get slightly weird. As far as I can tell, all the receipt images and data is stored in a proprietary database.

On the Mac, this is stored in ~/Library/Application Data/PFU/ScanSnap Receipt.

On Windows, it is in your User folder under AppData\Local\PFU\ScanSnap Receipt.

The ScanSnap Receipt application provides a backup facility that can be found under Tools > Backup. If you are going to be using ScanSnap Receipt, I HIGHLY recommend you:

  1. Make sure that your regular backup routine is picking up that storage folder.
  2. On some sort of regular basis use Tools > Backup to back up your database and keep that file safe.

Proprietary databases make me nervous, so protect yourself.

Workflow And Closing Thoughts

It isn’t 100% clear to me what Fujitsu’s intentions are around ScanSnap Receipt. Should people be storing their regular documents in ScanSnap Organizer and their receipts in ScanSnap Receipt? Is ScanSnap Receipt intended to be more “transactional”, where you dump your receipts into it when you want to get them ready for taxes/exporting?

This is early days (the software has one been out for two days in North America) and as with most things to do with going paperless, I suspect we will all find the way that works best for us.

ScanSnap Receipt isn’t the most beautiful application in the world (Mac design people may not approve), but to me it hits the key areas: it can take a receipt, extract the information out if it, let you clean it up, and then export the data.

I’d like to hear from you, especially if you have been waiting for years for a ScanSnap receipt tool. Does ScanSnap Receipt meet your needs? What features would you like to see?


  1. To access Online Update, right-click on the ScanSnap icon in your Dock or Taskbar, choose Help, and then Online Update.  ↩

  2. Having said that, I’ve probably ruined it by saying that. Sorry if this gets killed in a future update!  ↩

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Get Your SimpleREV Tickets While They Last

SimpleREVBack in March I posted about a new conference that had just been announced called SimpleREV.

For some weird reason, in the six months since then I have neglected to mention that not only am I now attending, but I’m leading a workshop called Go Paperless: Simplify Your Life, Reduce Clutter, And Find Anything Instantly.

It’ll be the most interactive workshop I’ve done, and should be a lot of fun (for me anyways – if it’s not for you there’s always the hallway conversations).

There’s also a great list of speakers/workshop leaders like Mike Vardy, Joshua Becker, Sheryl & Dave from Simple Life Reboot, Patrick Rhone, and a lot more.

It looks like there are only 11 tickets left, so if you are going to be in the Minneapolis area on October 3–4, it’d be cool to see you.

Click here for more information on SimpleREV tickets.

Hope to see you there!

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Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 Review – Wireless Battery Powered Scanner

ScanSnap iX100As Mugatu so famously said in Zoolander, “Wireless scanners are so hot right now.” Today Fujitsu America is releasing their second Wi-Fi scanning model – the ScanSnap iX100.

Fujitsu has sold a mobile ScanSnap (the S1100) since 2011, but it had one limitation – it needed to be connected to a computer via USB. Over time more and more scanners were cutting the cord, and the S1100 was starting to show its age. The [ScanSnap iX500][ix500] was the first wireless ScanSnap, but it is a little big to throw in your bag.

Fujitsu sent me a review iX100 to check out, so let’s take a look.

ScanSnap iX100

Size and Hardware

The ScanSnap iX100 is 10.74 x 1.87 x 1.41 inches (273 x 47.5 x 36 mm) and weighs 14.10 ounces (400 grams). It is extremely portable. In fact, when I sat down to write this review I initially couldn’t find it because it was tucked away in my bag and I initially missed it.

Like the S1100, the iX100 can scan “flat” where your paper goes through the back of the scanner, but it has an exit guide that you can flip up to have it return the paper to you. This is really handy for scanning dual-sided documents as the iX100 only scans single-sided. The video later on in this review shows how this works.

ScanSnap iX100

Being a mobile scanner, it obviously does not have a document feeder, so to improvise Fujitsu implemented what they call “continuous document feeding”.

You put the first page in the scanner and hit the scan button. Then you can keep feeding paper in and it will grab it and keep scanning. It will keep waiting for pages until you hit the Scan button again to signal that you’re done. Again, a nice touch to make scanning faster and easier without a document feeder.

Speaking of faster and easier, the ScanSnap iX100 scans at 5.2 seconds per page. This is two seconds faster than the S1100, and almost as fast as the ScanSnap S1300i which is pretty remarkable when you consider the size.

Like the S1100, the iX100 has a USB port on the side. If you’d like, you can use the iX100 as a USB-connected scanner, and this port is also used for charging the device – this is the first ScanSnap with a Lithium battery.

ScanSnap iX100

Wireless Scanning

While you can use the ScanSnap iX100 as a USB scanner, I expect that most people (myself included) will use it wirelessly.

With no wires connected whatsoever, you can scan to a computer or mobile device. How you do this depends on whether you are connected to a known Wi-Fi network or not.

ScanSnap Wireless Setup

Scan To Existing Wi-Fi Network

If your computer or mobile device is connected to a wi-fi network, you can set up the iX100 to connect to it. There’s a Wi-Fi switch on the back that controls whether it will attempt to connect or not.

ScanSnap iX100 Wi-Fi

A nice touch – the scanner will remember up to five Wi-Fi networks and switch seamlessly between them. I set it up for my network at home, then set it up at a friend’s house, and it switched back when I arrived back home without me needing to reconfigure anything.

Once the scanner is connected to a Wi-Fi network, it can scan to a mobile device running the ScanSnap Connect app (currently available for iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire), or it can scan to a Mac or Windows computer.

This is nice and everything, but what if there is no Wi-Fi network that you can connect to?

Scan Using Direct Connection

If there is no Wi-Fi network that the iX100 knows about, it will attempt to create its own.

This video shows how this works:

Video summary: the iX100 can create its own Wi-Fi network that you can connect to using your iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire device running the ScanSnap Connect app. You can also connect to it with a Mac or Windows computer if the computer has the ScanSnap software loaded on it.

Battery Life

The ScanSnap iX100 has a Lithium battery, and they rate it as being able to do 260 scans per charge.

That is one of those “ideal conditions” numbers, and from talking to the folks at Fujitsu about this, they say with switching between wireless networks and that sort of thing, around 140 pages is more likely in the real world.

I haven’t hit any battery issues yet. If you ever need to charge it, you can plug the included USB cable to any computer USB port or other USB charger.

ScanSnap Receipt

I will talk about software in a bit, but I want to focus in on one particular new feature that almost made me fall out of my chair: the ScanSnap iX100 comes with receipt management software.

ScanSnap iX100 Receipt

Frankly, this has been a hole in the ScanSnap offering for quite some time and it is great to see it being plugged.

Unfortunately, I have been getting reports that ScanSnap Receipt is only showing up for customers in the United States. I’m looking into more details on that.

I will have a separate blog post on ScanSnap Receipt specifically butYou can now have the ScanSnap scan receipts and it will attempt to read the information from them. You can then categorize the receipt information and export. Super handy for taxes.

Update 09/23/2014:I have now written a separate blog post. Click here to read about my ScanSnap Receipt overview.

Dual Scanning

If you have small items to scan the iX100 has a feature called dual scanning that I hope makes it to other models in the future.

If you put two small documents in, the scanner will recognize them as separate documents and either export two PDFs or a single PDF with two pages, depending how you have it set up. Handy for receipts and business cards.

ScanSnap iX100 Dual Scanning

Automatic Image Stitching

Another new-to-ScanSnap feature is the ability to take a wide document, fold it in half, and have the ScanSnap automatically stitch it together as if you scanned one large document.

Essentially, it is doing this without the need to use a Carrier Sheet.

I have to admit, I couldn’t get this feature to work. Maybe I had something set wrong or maybe I wasn’t using the right type of wide document, but here is what the Help says should work:

  • A3, B4, or Double Letter size documents with a double-page spread
    -Documents folded in half that have characters, a figure, or table on the fold line

Scan Quality

The scan quality of the iX100 is the best of any portable scanner I have reviewed. It is remarkable for a scanner this size.

That being said, scan quality is subjective. What I have done is zipped together a group of documents of a variety of types and resolutions. Take a look if you want to see some samples.

Click here to download the iX100 scan samples.

Software

As with all ScanSnaps, by default the iX100 has the more-and-more-useful Quick Menu enabled which makes scanning very easy.

ScanSnap iX100 Quick Menu

It will detect the type of document that you are scanning and recommend some options. You can also add your own applications to it, and hide the ones you don’t use.

ScanSnap Organizer For Mac

As I mentioned earlier, ScanSnap Receipt almost made me fall of my chair. The release of ScanSnap Organizer for Mac finished the job. The lack of a document organizer for Mac OS X has been another sticking point for a long time, so it is great to see them addressing that.

Bundled Software

Here is the software that comes with the iX100:

  • ScanSnap Organizer (Windows, Mac)
  • CardMinder (Windows, Mac)
  • ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap (Windows, Mac)

It also comes with the ability to scan to the cloud with Evernote, Dropbox, SugarSync, Google Drive, and Salesforce. You can also scan to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.

Is The S1100 Gone?

I assumed that the iX100 replaced the S1100, but that is not entirely true. Fujitsu will replace the S1100 with the S1100i, which will be released at some point in the future. It is like the iX100 but while the iX100 scans at 5.2 seconds per page, the S1100i scans at 7.5 seconds. Also, the S1100i does not have the ability to scan wirelessly and does not have a battery.

The S1100i does come with the same software as the iX100, and they have added the dual scanning and image stitching capabilities. I’ll update when it is available.

Pricing And Availability

For some reason it often takes a while for ScanSnaps to show up on Amazon, and at the time of writing the iX100 does not seem to be there. I will update this post when it is available. The retail price is $229 USD.

The ScanSnap iX100 is a great update to the S1100, and has some killer software improvements that I hope will make it to other ScanSnaps in the future. I’ve found it really helpful to have a small wireless ScanSnap to carry around in my bag, and if you are someone who has a need for a mobile wireless scanner, it is hard to go wrong with this one.

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OmniFocus Premium Posts 2

OmniFocus Premium PostsI know there are a lot of OmniFocus users here at DocumentSnap (including myself), so I want to give a quick heads up that the folks at Asian Efficiency have just released the second edition of their OmniFocus Premium Posts.

I bought the first edition ages ago, and it totally changed how I was using the software. More importantly, their “Asian Efficiency Workflow” for OmniFocus really helped me make sure that I was spending time getting the important things done each day instead of just messing around checking off tasks.

This time instead of a PDF guide, they have 30+ videos and screencasts.

As I said, I loved the first edition and am enjoying working my way through this updated version.

Click here to learn more about OmniFocus Premium Posts.

If you purchase via that link, you’ll be buying me lunch so thank you. If you don’t want to do that for whatever reason, just head over to their site and buy it that way.

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How To Backup Your Computer By Katie Floyd

BackupNo matter how much I annoy you guys, I am not going to shut up about the importance of backing up your documents when going paperless. It really is critical.

Katie Floyd obviously agrees because she wrote a great blog post called Creating A Comprehensive Backup Strategy.

In it she goes through everything you need to know about backing up your computer, and I 100% agree with her advice.

Today it’s easier than ever to backup your data, but I’m shocked by the number of people I meet who are not backing up, or who backup only occasionally and are thus at risk for data loss. Granted, if you’re reading this post you’re probably not that person. But I’m willing to bet you know that person. Let’s take a few minutes to review what makes a good backup strategy and share the love with someone who needs a little help.

The examples she gives are for the Mac, but the concepts are valid for any platform and many of the tools she refers to are cross-platform.

A few years ago I made a video about how to backup your computer that talks about this as well, and goes through how I back things up. An oldie but it still holds up.

Do you have your backup system going yet? If not, now is a pretty fantastic time to get started.

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Use Breevy On Windows To Supercharge Paperless File Naming

BreevyHaving to go through and name each document is one of the less fun aspects of going paperless.

There are tools that can help make this easier, and Breevy, a Windows text expansion application, is one of them.

If you aren’t familiar with text expansion tools, they’re awesome for anywhere on your computer that you need to enter the same bit of text more than once. When it comes to going paperless, they are killer for naming your documents.

If you want to see more about text expansion tools in general, this video on naming paperless documents with TextExpander will show what I mean. The video was made on a Mac, but you will get the idea.[1]

With Breevy, you can create a snippet so that, for example, when naming a Comcast bill you can type ;cm (or whatever you define) and it will automatically be replaced with -Comcast. This comes in really handy for longer file names that you work with on a regular basis.

Breevy Comcast

All this is text expansion 101, but awesome DocumentSnap reader Bob Armstrong from W.W. Smith Insurance wrote in with some of his Breevy snippets that take things to the next level.

What follows are some of Bob’s Breevy tips and some of mine, so you can assume the good ones are his and the bad ones came from me. Even though the screenshots are from Breevy on Windows, the concepts apply to TextExpander on the Mac too.

Insert The Date

You can have a snippet insert today’s date in the filename.

Breevy Insert Date

If you know the format you can just type it in, but more likely what you will do is hit the blue triangle to the right of the Replacement Text box and select the date component you want. As you can see, you have a lot of options.

Breevy Date Select

Date Math

If your document or other file is from the past, you can use date math. For example, this snippet will subtract a month from the current date and use that.

Breevy Date Math

If you’d like, you can even have it subtract a month and prompt you for the day. Handy for end-of-month files.

Breevy Prompt For Date

Use Backspaces and Special Keys

Chances are, your scanner already kicks out a file name with a date, but it probably includes stuff that you don’t need like the time.

Let’s say that my scanner creates a file called 2014_09_08_16_43_13.pdf. Really all I want is the 2014_09_08 part.

Breevy Date Backspace

This snippet does the following:

  • Simulates the End button to go to the end of the file name when in edit mode (F2 in Windows Explorer).
  • Simulates hitting the left arrow 4 times to move the cursor before the extension (in this case .pdf).
  • Simulates hitting Backspace 9 times to get rid of _16_43_13.

So after hitting F2 and typing in the Breevy abbreviation (in this example, ;dt), I’m left with 2014_09_08. Sounds complicated but once you set it up it is fast and easy.

Combine Snippets

Once you have your date snippet set up, you can use it from other snippets. Let’s combine that snippet we just created to do the date backspacing with the Comcast snippet we created earlier.

Click on the little triangle to the right of the Replacement Text box and choose Insert / embed another abbreviation. You can then choose the snippet you created earlier.

Breevy Combine Snippets

Building on the example earlier, typing ;cm in the filename will change 2014_09_08_16_43_13.pdf into 2014_09_08-Comcast.pdf.

Experiment and Try Stuff Out

This is level 2 stuff, but once you master using a text expansion tool to replace text (which is a massive time saver on its own), try playing around with some of the advanced functionality in your tool. You’ll supercharge things even more.

Do you have any examples of snippets you use in Breevy or TextExpander to name files? Share them below in the comments.


  1. In fact, Breevy can read TextExpander libraries, so you can share the same shortcuts on Windows and Mac. Great for cross-platform folks.  ↩

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How To Fix PDF Search In Windows 7 and Windows 8 64-Bit

One of the best things about modern operating systems like Mac OS X and Windows 7 and 8 is that search, particularly PDF search, is built right in. You don’t need to have a third party tool to search the contents of a searchable PDF – the OS will do it for you.

That is, unless you are running the 64-bit version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.

It is fairly common for DocumentSnap readers to write in with questions/problems, but it is pretty handy when a reader writes in with both the problem and the solution, which is exactly what superstar DocumentSnap reader Matt did recently.

Matt had a problem: He was scanning all these OCR’ed PDFs, but Windows Search was not finding them when he typed a keyword in the document. It would only find it if he typed in the name of a file, which pretty much defeats the purpose of Optical Character Recognition. Not having a Windows machine at the time I was flying blind, but we went back and forth and eventually he figured out what the issue was: an iFilter (but I am getting ahead of myself here).

What Is 64 Bit Windows And Do I Have It?

There are basically two types of Windows: 32-bit and 64-bit. I’ll let Microsoft describe the difference:

The terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the way a computer’s processor (also called a CPU), handles information. The 64-bit version of Windows handles large amounts of random access memory (RAM) more effectively than a 32-bit system.

It used to be that only high-end computers were 64-bit, but that has changed. This cheap Acer laptop I am writing this on is 64-bit, for example. How can you tell which kind of Windows you have?

On Windows 7:

  • Click the Start button.
  • Right-click on Computer, choose Properties.
  • You will see an entry for System Type which will give you the information that you need.

windows 7 properties

On Windows 8:

  • Open the Control Panel.
  • Click/Tap System/Security
  • Click/Tab System
  • There’ll be an entry for System type that will say 64 or 32 bits

If you are having problems with PDF search and your System type says 32-bit, you can probably stop reading. This post likely won’t help you.

What Is The Problem?

Windows 7 and 8’s search capabilities are pretty good, but for some reason the 64-bit has a problem indexing PDF files. Windows Search uses something called an iFilter to help it index files, and the PDF iFilter for 64-bit Windows is missing. (This probably applies to 64-bit Vista and 64-bit XP too).

Here is how to tell if you have the problem:

  • Click on the Start Menu and choose Control Panel
  • Change View By to Small Icons and click on Indexing Options
  • Click on the Advanced button
  • Click on the File Types tab
  • Scroll way down to pdf and you will probably see Registered IFilter Is Not Found

Registered IFilter Is Not Found

If you see that message, you have the iFilter problem.

As an additional test, download or scan a searchable PDF. You can see here that I am searching for the word “Westminster” in Acrobat Reader and it is finding it. When I search using the search box under the Start menu, it doesn’t find it.

Westminster

Replace The Missing IFilter

To fix the problem, you need to download the missing iFilter.

Download Adobe PDF iFilter 9 for 64-bit platforms here

Once you download it, unzip it and run the installer.

When the installer completes, go back and look at the file types list from above. It should now say “PDF Filter” instead of the “Registered IFilter Is Not Found” message. Yeah!

Test The New iFilter

Download or scan a new searchable PDF and find a word that is in the text and search on it in Acrobat Reader. For example, here I searched for the word “idyll”.

Idyll

Now I will search for it in Windows Search, and it looks like it found it. Double Yeah!

Idyll

Now lets search for Westminster again:

Westminster

Looks like it still didn’t find it. No!

It turns out that fixing the iFilter will only fix new documents, not the one that Windows Search has already indexed.

Do A Re-Index

In order to fix this problem, we’ll need to tell Windows 7 or Windows 8 to do a re-index. If you have a large hard drive, this could take a long time, so do it before you are going to bed or something.

  • Click on the Start Menu and choose Control Panel
  • Change View By to Small Icons and click on Indexing Options
  • Click the Advanced button
  • On the Indexing Settings tab, hit Rebuild

Once this is done, let’s try searching for Westminster again. Hopefully third time’s the charm?

Westminster

It’s there!

I’m On Windows 8 And This Still Doesn’t Work

Believe it or not, in some cases there is a bug with Adobe Acrobat that breaks search in Windows 8. These guys.

The fix involves changing the Registry, so only do this if you know what you are doing. I don’t have Windows 8 so I have not tried this myself, but here are the Windows 8 Adobe Acrobat fix instructions.

This Should Get You Going

Thanks again to Matt for doing the detective work on this one. Hopefully it will help one of you if you find that your 64-bit Windows isn’t finding your documents.

This article was originally written in December 2010, but was updated in September 2014 for Windows 8.

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Best Practices For Paperless Productivity Webinar

Nitro PDFOne of the best programs for working with PDFs on Windows is Nitro Pro, and they have a pretty great cloud service as well.

I’m happy to announce that on Wednesday, September 17 I will be doing a free webinar with Nitro called Best Practices for Paperless Productivity.

The webinar is not about Nitro specifically, but will focus on how going paperless can help boost your productivity. For more information and to register, click the link below.

Click here to register for the webinar.

Thanks to Nitro for helping me put this on. I hope to see you there.

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Take Control of FileVault – Learn About Mac Encryption

Take Control of FileVaultThe news is filled right now with hand-wringing about the security of online information (I’m hurt that I’m not famous enough for my nude selfies to make it to Reddit).

The seemingly obvious defense is to keep your sensitive information stored locally, but what happens if your computer is stolen?

A solution to this is to encrypt the information on your hard drive. You can do this by encrypting specific files, but the easiest way is to just encrypt your entire drive.[1]

There are many ways to accomplish this, but the easiest way on Mac OS X Lion and later is called FileVault[2], which is built in to OS X.

(On Windows, the rough equivalent is BitLocker.)

I’ve been a FileVault user for years, and if you have enabled it you will know there is seemingly not much to it. If you want your drive encrypted, turn it on. If you don’t, turn it off.

You can get by perfectly well with this level of knowledge, but encryption can be like an onion: the more you start looking into it, the more layers there are to peel away.

I’ve been meaning to do a more in-depth feature on FileVault and encryption for a while, but fortunately Joe Kissell has made an ebook that means I don’t need to: he has written Take Control of FileVault, and it’s extremely comprehensitve.

If you are a long-time reader of DocumentSnap you might recognize Joe’s name as he is the author of the excellent Take Control of Your Paperless Office.

In typical Take Controllian fashion, the guide goes through pretty much everything you might want to know (and more) about encryption with FileVault. Here’s a few things that it covers that I found helpful:

  • Protection for external drives.
  • Encrypting backups (sure your computer might be encrypted, but what about that drive sitting beside it?)
  • At what point is the data encrypted?

I like how the guide starts with the basics (what you need to know before you turn it on, how you turn it on) and then delves a little deeper into encrypting external drives and backups, and then goes into extremely geeky ways that you can interact with FileVault and other scenarios that are pretty hardcore even for me.

There’s also a helpful FAQ right at the beginning too.

FileVault is something that I had never given a lot of thought to other than turning it on, so I learned a lot from Take Control of FileVault. If you are someone who wants to dive into encryption on the Mac, it might be helpful for you too. It is $10 from the Take Control Store, and if you purchase through that link you’ll be buying me an Americano (thank you).


  1. This is not an either-or thing by the way — you can do both.  ↩

  2. Technically FileVault 2, but don’t get picky.  ↩

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Dropbox Cuts Pricing And Adds Great Sharing Features

Dropbox Password ProtectEver since Google Drive slashed their prices and Apple announced the upcoming iCloud Drive, it was pretty clear to me that Dropbox was going to need to adjust their pricing. The tiered model had become much more expensive than competitors.

Today Dropbox announced their pricing changes, but they didn’t stop there – they announced some much-appreciated new features around sharing documents.

Pricing

Dropbox Pro is still $10 a month ($99 annually), but for that $10 users now get 1 Terabyte of space.

New Sharing Features

Dropbox outlines their new features in their blog post, but the key changes are:

  • Password protection: You can now assign a password for a shared link. This is great! You’ve always been able to generate a link to a file or folder, but theoretically anyone who came across that link (however unlikely that may be) would be able to see your information. Now you can password protect that link. More on that here.
  • Expire shared links: Another great feature when it comes to going paperless. Often when we share a link to a file, the recipient only needs access for a short period. You’ve always been able to review and remove those shared files, but now you can set the link to expire automatically. Here is how it works.
  • Folder Premissions: One of the problems with sharing a file with someone via a file syncing service like Dropbox is that if the person deletes or modifies the file, it is deleted or modified for you too. You mark a recipient as read only so they can see a folder but can’t mess it up. More on that here.

Great update by Dropbox and I for one am happy with 10 times the space.

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