Video: Background OCR with the ScanSnap iX500 On The Mac

Video: Background OCR with the ScanSnap iX500 On The Mac

ScanSnap iX500Fujitsu has just released the ScanSnap iX500. There are many new features, most of which I get into in my iX500 review, but one of them is the ability for Mac users to perform OCR in the background.

This is great because now you can scan and then let OCR do its thing creating searchable PDFs in the background while you go on to something else.

This video shows how it works both at the time of scanning, and when dragging ScanSnap-created PDFs and folders in later.

View the video below, or click here to watch it on YouTube. If you are able to, I recommend that you watch it with HD turned on.

This video on background OCR with the ScanSnap iX500 is part of a series of quick videos on paperless tips and topics. View more in the series here.

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 11 comments

@nubil_us - April 22, 2013 Reply

One of my complaints about the S1500 software is that the OCR process always steals focus with a dialog window after the scan is finished. Even if I'm in the middle of something—like typing this comment—and trying to multi-task by scanning a stack of paper the Scansnap Manager/Scansnap Searchable PDF Maker window steals focus.

Does the software for the iX500 steal focus when running OCR on a Mac? Or will it truly run as a background job with no window/dialog?

    Brooks Duncan - April 24, 2013 Reply

    Hi there,

    So it steals focus in that the window pops up, but then you can click away and let it do its thing in the background. It doesn't sit in front of your window until completion (to test this, I did a scan while replying to this comment.

      @nubil_us - April 24, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for the followup.

      What you describe sounds like the current behavior with the S1500M. I tend to scan files in a batch while I'm doing other tasks. The interruption is minor but not stealing focus seems like such a small thing to ask—and a courtesy most application developers understand.

      @nubil_us - April 24, 2013 Reply

      What about the "Execute when the computer is idle" setting? Could you do a video showing that option?

      I do want my files to be OCR'd by ScanSnap (I like the compression settings and Abbey conversion) but if it does it immediately or later doesn't matter.

      My ideal situation is I could throw paper into the scanner, hit the button, and not be interrupted on my computer at all. I don't want to see the window at 3:20 in your video (the image scanning dialog—which I do know how to turn off) or any similar dialog.

      Uncle Jimbo - March 5, 2015 Reply

      Uh, so it steals focus but I can click it away? That’s… awesome? Because I wasn’t already doing something else, and I love having my work interrupted and my keystrokes stolen?

      Perhaps if I sit next to you while you’re working, and once in a while flick your ear, you can have the same enjoyable experience I’m having?

        Brooks Duncan - March 5, 2015 Reply

        I would suggest that if you are stacking paper, putting it in a scanner, and hitting a button, whatever you were working on is already sufficiently disrupted and an extra click isn’t much of a problem.

        That said, if you are coming over to DocumentSnap HQ to hang in the basement with me, I could use a glass of water on your way downstairs.

R_Dec - January 27, 2013 Reply

Hmm…I asked, because I have a S1500 (the earlier model with Windows software only) attached to my Windows PC.
Yesterday, I connected it to my Mac. Downloading the ScanSnap Manager for Mac was easy, but there's no link for FineReader for ScanSnap Mac Edition. So I had only installed the ScanSnap Manager on my Mac. I was surprised, that the OCR feature (checkmark in PDF setting for searchable PDF) still was working. Even I had no FineReader installed!
Later I found a way to download the missing FineReader for ScanSnap Mac Editition directly from ABBYY homepage. It's called Mountain Lion Update, but it's a full version and you don't need a previously installed version.
After installing FineReader for ScanSnap, I made a new profile with FineReader ("Searchable PDF") as application and unchecked the ScanSnap Manager option for searchable PDF.
I OCRed the same document with both settings (profiles) and there was a significant difference in accuracy. So it seems, there are two OCR engines involved. (I'm using german as OCR language)

R_Dec - January 26, 2013 Reply

Hi, what's about FineReader for ScanSnap? Will FineReader's OCR engine used by default or do you need another profile?
Can you use FineReader for ScanSnap also for background OCR?
Do you see some quality differences between the FineReader OCR engine and the built in OCR engine?
btw, on some document scans on my S1500, I saw some blue color around black text. (Best/Color/compression 3 settings)
Did you ever see this too?

Background OCR with the ScanSnap iX500 On The Mac « Fujitsu ScanSnap – Welcome to your productive, mobile, paperless, efficient life - January 22, 2013 Reply

[…] himself, our friend Brooks Duncan over at DocumentSnap picked his favorite new feature and wrote an article detailing how it works. What he likes best? The ability for Mac users to perform background OCR. […]

Mmmeep - January 13, 2013 Reply

Hi, great review for ix500, but jus one more question before I'm per ordering it. Does the PDF get Orc when scan from mobile app? Such a hassle to get the PDF orc when I am trying to scan from iPhone to Dropbox directly.

    Brooks Duncan - January 13, 2013 Reply

    Unfortunately, no. What you could do is send it to Dropbox then have something OCR it on your computer when it sees a file in your Dropbox folder, but scanning to mobile does not OCR that I have been able to figure out.

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