That is true, but recently the company slipped in a new feature that I don’t think gets quite enough visibility: the ability to scan and attach a document from anywhere on Windows using what they call the ScanSnap Folder.
It’s Windows only unfortunately, but this video shows you how it works.
This is Day 3 in a 12 Day series: 12 Days Of Paperless Gifts. If you know someone who could use some help going paperless, or if you deserve to treat yourself, this is the place. If you don’t, feel free to ignore this series. Normal DocumentSnap posts will still be coming!
We’ve covered desktop document scanners and home document scanners, so it is time to complete the trifecta. If you or your special someone needs a truly portable scanner, or if you want to go to an even lower price point, mobile document scanners might be the way to go.
This is Day 2 in a 12 Day series: 12 Days Of Paperless Gifts. If you know someone who could use some help going paperless, or if you deserve to treat yourself, this is the place. If you don’t, feel free to ignore this series. Normal DocumentSnap posts will still be coming!
Our previous gift was a desktop document scanner, but those might be a bit big (or expensive) for your needs. Let’s go a bit smaller and more affordable and look at home document scanners.
I call them a home scanner for lack of a better term. Basically, it is a category in between a full desktop scanner and a true mobile scanner.
So, whether your criteria is size, portability, or cost, here are a few options:
The first thing that you want to do is set up ScanSnap Manager. Right-click on the ScanSnap icon in your system tray (at the bottom right of your screen) and choose Scan Button Settings….
At this point, you can either modify an existing Profile or create a new one. Whichever way you do it, go to the Application tab and set the Application dropdown to ABBYY Scan To Searchable PDF.
Next, set your Save and Scanning tabs however you normally set them. The Save tab will be where your scanned documents end up.
On the File option tab, you will find that things are generally grayed out. Don’t worry about the fact that Convert to Searchable PDF is unchecked. As strange as it seems, that is what you want.
What we are doing with these steps is telling the ScanSnap to scan our documents to the ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap software which is what will be doing the OCR-ing. By passing our documents off to FineReader right away, we can let it run in the background and get back to scanning.
Configure ABBYY FineReader
There are a few minor things we need to do on the ABBYY side. To configure it, click your Start button, navigate to the ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap group and launch ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap.
Once we start that up, we have some options that we can configure. Let’s start with the General Options tab. Make sure that Delete scanned images after recognition is checked. As scary as that sounds, we don’t want it to keep around both the non-searchable and the searchable PDF. We just want the searchable one.
If it makes you feel comfortable, feel free to leave it unchecked the first few scans to make sure that everything is working OK first.
Next, we want to go to the Scan to Searchable PDF tab, and uncheck Open PDF after recognition. We don’t want our images to keep popping up after every scan. We just want the files.
That’s it! Now hit OK and we should be good to go.
Test It Out
To test it out, try scanning a document through the scanner. Once the scanning part is done, scan another one. Both scans will be queued up by FineReader and once it launches, the OCR part will start and both documents should be OCRed.
When everything is all done, you should have your OCRed documents in the location that you had specified on the Save tab of ScanSnap Manager.
For some annoying reason, ABBYY puts “_OCR” at the end of each filename, but I figure that is not a big deal because I’ll likely be renaming the files anyways later.
Once you get the hang of batch scanning, it can be really nice. If you have other tips for scanning timesavers, feel free to leave them in the comments.
If you are a Mac user, you probably know that the latest version of Mac OS X, 10.8 Mountain Lion, has been released today via the Mac App Store. As I have done with Lion and the fun that was Snow Leopard, I am providing this post as a way to share our experience with the Fujitsu ScanSnap on Mountain Lion. Is it working OK for you?
ScanSnap Mountain Lion Compatibility
I haven’t been able to find a general ScanSnap Mountain Lion page, but there is one for each model. Here’s what I’ve found:
ScanSnap S1500/S1500M: Supported. See this page and/or instructions below.
ScanSnap S1300/S1300i: Supported. See this page and/or instructions below.
ScanSnap S1100: Supported. See this page and/or instructions below.
ScanSnap S510M: Will be supported by the end of July. See this page and/or instructions below.
ScanSnap S300M: Will be supported by the end of July. See this page and/or instructions below.
I mention this because I get a lot of questions from readers asking when Amazon will be carrying it, and I had promised to do a post about it.
At the time of this writing, Amazon themselves is out of stock, but it is available from third party shippers. If you click Add to Cart on the Amazon seller as per the screenshot below, Amazon will send it when they have it in stock (hopefully very soon).
If you order it through Amazon and it ships, feel free to leave a comment and let us know.
PS- If you buy the S1300i through that link, you’ll be buying me a beverage, so thank you so much. If you don’t want to do that, not a problem, Just hit Amazon directly and do a search and you’ll find it.
One thing to note: this software is not exclusive to the S1300i. If you have a ScanSnap S1100, a S1500, a S1500M, or a S1300, the software is available via Fujitsu’s Online Update feature. See here for instructions on that.
Scan To Dropbox
If you use the Quick Menu, there is a new icon for Scan To Dropbox. If you use ScanSnap Manager Profiles, as I do, on the Application tab it will show up as a new destination option.
When you scan using Scan To Dropbox, it will bring up a preview window. You can see that in the destination folder, it has created a new folder under your Dropbox folder called ScanSnap. You can change this if you want.
If you don’t want that Preview window to show up every time, you can check Do not show this dialog again on the Preview window, or in the ScanSnap Manager profile on the Application tab, you can click the Application Settings button and un-check Show Preview.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself “I don’t get it… what is the difference between using the new Scan To Dropbox profile and just scanning to a folder in my Dropbox like I did before?”
As far as I can tell, the answer is… nothing. It seems to do the same thing. I can only imagine that this feature is targeted at less tech-savvy users who want to be able to scan to Dropbox, but aren’t comfortable messing around with profiles and folders. If you are a Quick Menu user, I can see how it would be helpful.
Scan To Mobile – Android Style
There has been ScanSnap Connect app for iOS since October 2011, and the then-new Scan To Mobile functionality allowed you to scan from your computer-attached ScanSnap to your iPad or iPhone.
Once you’ve scanned a document in, you can open it to view it, rename it, move it to an SD card or other location, or use Android’s excellent application interoperability to send it to another app.
This is the feature that I have been really looking forward to playing with, because as I said earlier, it has been hard for me to wrap my head around what the heck it is.
Here is how Fujitsu describes it:
Scan ‘outside-of-the-box’ into virtually any Windows application or cloud service (for PC users). This new feature essentially replicates ScanSnap as a Windows folder which you can open from your favorite software and web applications allowing you to automatically attach/upload the digital files produced by the ScanSnap S1300i for the ultimate in “Scan there!” versatility.
So, yeah. This needs some investigation. By the way, this is a Windows only feature at the time of this writing. Hopefully that changes for us Mac people.
Let’s say you are in an application and you want to scan an attach a document. It can be any application really: a web app, Quickbooks, anything that supports attaching something.
Normally what you would have to do is scan the document to your computer, then in the application, you’d have to find and then attach it.
With the ScanSnap Folder, you can do all this in one step and initiate the scan from the application.
In my example, I’ll use Gmail. I compose a message and then hit the Attach a file link. The normal pop up appears for me to select my file, but you will see there is a new ScanSnap Folder entry. I’ll click that.
At first, nothing shows up. No problem though. I’ll put my document in my ScanSnap and hit the Scan button.
A ScanSnap Folder window pops up. I can rename the file, save the file for safekeeping, or make it a JPG. If I don’t want to be bothered with this again, I can check Do not show this dialog again.
When I hit save, my new PDF shows up in my ScanSnap Folder, uh, folder, and I can hit Open to attach it.
As I mentioned earlier, this does not just work with web apps. Anywhere on your computer that you can attach a file should be able to do this. I tested it with Windows Live Messenger and was able to send a document to a friend.
I am not sure that Fujitsu would say this straight-out, but I have to think this is a bit of a response to the “ScanSnap doesn’t support TWAIN!” objection. It seems to me that this almost does it one better. Not only does it allow you to initiate a scan from an application, but it works from anywhere, not just a TWAIN-supporting application.
It’ll be interesting to see how this feature is used.
If you want to customize how the ScanSnap Folder behaves, right-click on the ScanSnap icon in your system tray, choose ScanSnap Folder Settings. You can customize how the scans will be done using a ScanSnap Manager-like interface.
One more thing about the ScanSnap Folder – this is a temporary folder. The files will be removed after you attach them. If you are wanting to keep this document that you are scanning, make sure to check the Save scanned images to file checkbox.
All-in-all, this software update by Fujitsu is interesting, and if you have a S1300i or any 1000-series ScanSnap, I recommend hitting Online Update. Now if only ScanSnap Folder could come to the Mac.
In the name of science, I am doing this with an Online-Updated ScanSnap S1300 to see how this works with an older scanner. ↩
When you release a new scanner and the call it the ScanSnap S1300i (when its predecessor was the S1300), you are tacitly stating that this is more of an evolutionary release than a revolutionary one.
In a way, it is refreshing. Instead of throwing in a bunch of buzzwords and an attempted rebrand, Fujitsu is saying “So we have a scanner. People like it. We figured out a way to make it faster. Here you go.”
For me, this form factor of ScanSnap has always been the most interesting. Before the release of the ScanSnap S1100, the S1300 and its ancestors the S300 and S300M were marketed as the “mobile” models.
You could certainly carry them around, and many people did, but many people didn’t use them as a mobile scanner at all. They wanted a fast scanner with duplex scanning, a document feeder, and a lower price point than the ScanSnap S1500.
The S1100 showed that there was a need for a true mobile scanner, and the S1300i is the newest entry in this “middle category” of ScanSnaps.
If you are familiar with the S1300 (here is my ScanSnap S1300 review if you are not), you know pretty much all you need to know about the S1300i. The form factor and look is exactly the same as the S1300, except that it now says “ScanSnap S1300i” on the top.
You plug the S1300i to a USB port on your computer, and then you can either plug in the AC adaptor to the wall or plug a second USB cable to your computer to supply the power.
The S1300i comes with a printed manual, the installation DVD, an AC adaptor, and two USB cables: one for data and one for power.
The main selling point of the ScanSnap S1300i is that it is faster than the S1300. Not as fast as the S1500 certainly, but it is 12 pages per minute instead of the S1300’s 8ppm.
I figured the best way to test this out is to run it side by side. Through the magic of video, you can see the S1300 on the left and the S1300i on the right scanning a double-sided piece of paper.
The S1300i is certainly faster, and if you are scanning a large number of documents that can make a difference over time.
To judge quality for yourself, here are three documents that I scanned with the S1300. All scans were done at 300dpi.
The list price of the ScanSnap S1300i is $295. I don’t see it on any of the online sites yet, but I will update this post when it is available. It is available on Amazon.
If you have a ScanSnap S1300 and are happy with it, I am not sure that a 1.5x speed bump would be compelling enough to go out and buy the S1300i. However, if you are thinking of buying a scanner in this form factor and price range anyways, the increased speed and new software makes the ScanSnap S1300i that much more compelling.