The Great ScanSnap Evernote OCR Setting Mystery

The Great ScanSnap Evernote OCR Setting Mystery

Mystery_ScanSnap_Evernote_SettingsBeginning with the ScanSnap S1100 and later with a software update for other ScanSnap models, Fujitsu has provided Evernote integration built into ScanSnap Manager.

This works well, but perceptive ScanSnappers may have noticed something strange: there are two different settings for enabling searchable PDFs (aka Optical Character Recognition, or OCR). Why on earth would they do this?

Well, I can’t answer the why, but I can at least shed some light on what the different settings do, as far as I can figure out.

The OCR Settings

To access your ScanSnap Manager Profiles, right-click on the ScanSnap icon on your Dock (Mac) or System Tray (Windows). Choose Settings or Scan Button Settings, depending on your OS.

Application Tab

On the Application tab, when you have one of the Scan To Evernote applications selected, there is an Application Settings… button.

Application Tab Button
Application Tab Button

When you press it, you will see there is a Convert to Searchable PDF checkbox. That is setting #1.

Application Tab Setting
Application Tab Setting

File option Tab

When you go to the File option tab of your ScanSnap Manager profile, you will see there is also a Convert to Searchable PDF checkbox. That is setting #2.

File option Tab Setting
File option Tab Setting

So, What Is The Difference?

Before getting into the difference, I do need to point out one quirk of the way that ScanSnap Manager Evernote profiles work.

When you scan, it will upload your document (or image) to Evernote, but it will also save the PDF in the location specified on the Save tab.[1]

As far as I can tell, here is how it works:

  • If you only check the Application tab checkbox, the file that is uploaded to Evernote is searchable, but the file that is saved to the folder specified on the Save tab is not searchable.
  • If you do not check the Application tab checkbox but do check the File option tab checkbox, the file that is uploaded is searchable, and the file that is saved to the Save tab is searchable.
  • If you check neither checkbox, the PDF that is uploaded to Evernote and the PDF that is saved to the Save tab location are not searchable. At that point, what happends depends on your status as an Evernote Premium customer.

So there you go, mystery solved. Either way, being able to scan to Evernote is a great feature, and I’m glad Fujitsu opened it up to all 2009-and-later ScanSnaps. Thanks to user Leothe3rd from the Evernote forum for the inspiration for this blog post.


  1. I personally wish you could turn this behavior off, but it is what it is.  ↩

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 7 comments

Scott W. Vincent - October 20, 2014 Reply

I noticed this while setting up my ix500… couldn’t figure out why there were two seemingly redundant options for this. Thanks for the write up – this clears things up as far as figuring out which to use.

Rudrani - February 2, 2012 Reply

On a related matter, concerning the Save to a folder option, I've experienced a problem that I haven't found a fix for yet, and hoping you might have a suggestion. I always use Profiles. And the profile I use most involves Scanning to Evernote and automatically saving a copy in a folder on my exterior hard drive. The problem is this: I can save the one to Evernote using a title/name that makes sense for that particular note. But when it saves a copy to a folder, I don't get the benefit of the more "intelligent" name that I've created for Evernote… I only get one of the three set file name options offered by ScanSnap. That pretty much makes the folder copies useless. Any ideas.

    Brooks Duncan
    Brooks Duncan - February 2, 2012 Reply

    Sorry Rudrani, I really don't have much of an idea other than, instead of scanning to Evernote directly, you scan to a folder, rename, and THEN send it to Evernote. Not ideal but it's all I can think of off the top of my head.

    Algae - March 22, 2012 Reply

    Just in case you haven't found a solution yet, here's what I'm doing to handle the "extra" copy saved to a local NAS. Right-click the ScanSnap icon in the sys tray (Windows) –> select Scan Button Settings –> select the Save tab –> check the box "Rename file after scanning". This opens a "Save scanned image as…" dialog window after the scan is complete which allows me to rename the file and select the location. After selecting "Save" in this window, the Scan to Evernote function then completes and uploads a copy there as well. BTW, I actually like this feature…as I'm still a little nervous about putting all my eggs in Evernote's basket…but certainly agree that it should be optional.

      Brooks Duncan
      Brooks Duncan - March 22, 2012 Reply

      Awesome Algae thanks. It'd be nice if “rename after scanning” option was there for Mac too. Someday maybe!<p style=”color: #A0A0A8;”>

@cryptochrome - January 26, 2012 Reply

I always disliked how the ScanSnap software handles scanning to apps. Having a second copy saved on your hard disk is just stupid. If I intend to save to disk, I use the appropriate profile. If I intend to scan to Evernote or whatever other app I choose, I don't want another copy of the file lurking around on my hard drive. Kind of defeats the purpose of "scan to app".

    Brooks Duncan
    Brooks Duncan - January 26, 2012 Reply

    It would be nice if there was at least an option, at least buried under the Application Settings button or something.

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