Whenever you see a workflow post from me, you can translate that to “Brooks is lazy and wants to automate things as much as possible”.
Such is the case with my Doxie Go. The scanner, paired with the included Wi-Fi card, does what I want it to do, but I wanted to streamline process a little bit due to my aforementioned indolence.
How I Use My Doxie Go
I call the Doxie Go my “kitchen scanner”. I don’t use it for the majority of my scanning. For that I need a document feeder and duplex scanning.
Since my “normal” scanner is downstairs in my office, I use the Doxie Go for one-off and quick scans that come in the front door. Primarily, this is stuff that comes in via my kids’ backpacks and other miscellany.
I keep the Doxie tucked away in a cabinet near our kitchen, and when I want to capture something and don’t want the paper to hang around, I grab it, pop in the wi-fi card, and hit scan.
My goal for this workflow is to have things completed in as few steps as possible. I want to be able to grab the Doxie Go on my kitchen counter, pop in a piece of paper, hit scan, and have the image converted to PDF, made searchable, and available from any device with no interaction from me and without me having to plug it into anything.
First, A Note
Before you read the rest of this post, I want to assure you that you do not need to do all this to use the Doxie Go effectively. The scanner’s instructions say that you should use their included software, and you probably should. It works well. I am doing this because I am lazy and a geek (a dangerous combination).
This workflow uses a Mac. There may be a way to do something similar on Windows, but I haven’t tried.
Here are the tools that I am using:
- A Doxie Go, obviously. At the time of this writing, on Amazon there is a code for a free Eye-Fi card. You can also buy it from the Doxie store.
- Dropbox, to synchronize files between computers
- Hazel, to act on the files
- PDFPen, to do the OCR
I also have an old Mac Mini that is always on, but that is not required.
You can do some or all of this with other tools, but this is what I am using.
In a nutshell, here is what I do:
- Scan the document with the scanner.
- The wi-fi card automatically uploads the image in JPG format to the Mac Mini, which is running the Eye-Fi software.
- Hazel watches the folder and when it sees a JPG, it converts it to PDF and calls PDFPen.
- PDFPen OCRs the PDF and makes it searchable.
- The PDF is saved in a Dropbox folder.
Ready to dig in to this? Let’s go.
On my Mac Mini, I have the Eye-Fi software running and configured per Doxie’s instructions. On the Photos tab, I have it set to save the images to a folder called toPDF.
Unfortunately, the way the Doxie Go works is that the scanner creates a JPG file for each document. I want searchable PDFs, not JPGs, so it is time to do some conversion.
Converting To PDF and OCR
You can probably do all of this with Folder Actions, but I prefer to have Hazel do the job.
Hazel is set up to watch the toPDF folder, and there are three actions:
- Convert to PDF
- Do OCR
- Clean up the old JPGs
Convert to PDF Hazel Rule
The first Hazel rule watches the toPDF folder and if there is an image, it runs an Automator action.
You can download the automator action here and modify it, but here is what it does:
- Converts the JPG to PDF and puts it on the Desktop with a nonsense name.
- Attaches a timestamp just to prevent issues with duplicate filenames.
- Moves it back to the toPDF folder.
Do OCR Hazel Rule
This rule watches toPDF for any PDF files, and if it finds any, it runs an AppleScript which calls PDFPen to do the OCR. I mainly did it this way because I already had a script that performs OCR with PDFPen.
It is essentially the same script as that previous post, but for completeness’ sake here it is:
tell application "PDFpen" open theFile as alias tell document 1 ocr repeat while performing ocr delay 1 end repeat delay 1 close with saving end tell
It then renames the file with today’s date and time, and moves it to my Inbox folder where I can act on it later (or another Hazel rule may pick it up if applicable).
Clean Out Old JPGs Hazel Rule
I don’t want the old JPGs hanging around clogging things up. I could delete them right away, but for safety’s sake I keep them around for one week.
So far, this has been working well for me, and most of this could be applied even if you don’t have a Doxie Go. You could modify it to send your scan to Evernote, for example.
I am sure there are ways to optimize it, and I am sure I am overcomplicating things, but for now it is “set it and forget it”.
If you have suggestions for improvement, feel free to let me know in the comments.
I get jealous when I receive e-mails from teachers going paperless. Let’s just say my kids’ schools have not gone there. ↩