Are you a Windows user and do you find renaming your scanned documents a pain?
The Windows document management software I tend to recommend more than any other is FileCenter by Lucion. They’re released Version 9, and among other things the Pro version includes the ability to rename documents based on the text inside the document.
Now don’t get too excited. This isn’t quite as automated as Hazel on the Mac or something like File Juggler, but if you’re planning on using FileCenter, it is a nice feature built right in.
FileCenter 9 uses Zone OCR to do the text recognition, and you set it up through the existing Naming rules functionality. Here’s an old video that goes into more detail about FileCenter Naming rules.
Like any automated file naming system, this will work best for similar documents you receive on a regular basis. Things like monthly bills or documents that are structured the same that you receive a lot of. It doesn’t make sense to set up naming rules for one-off scans.
Set Up FileCenter Zone OCR Naming
You’ll want to start by setting up the rule for your document.
This will be easiest if you’ve already scanned in a sample of the file that you want to capture, so do that first.
Once you have your document scanned in, hit the Naming button on the FileCenter toolbar.
Next, create a new rule by hitting Add.
You have a bunch of different elements you can use to name the document. The most common ones are Folder Name and Date, but now in FileCenter 9 we have Zone OCR Text.
When you choose that, you’ll see some weird looking Field Options boxes. Those are the locations in the document that the text you want to capture appears.
It’s unlikely you are going to know these values, but never fear. Just hit Open.
Hit the Load File button and navigate to the sample document you scanned in earlier.
Alright. Now we have something to work with. Hit the Rectangle button and draw a rectangle around the text that that you want to use in your file name.
Remember that things are usually not in the exact location every time depending on how you put the paper in the scanner, so if you can make the rectangle a bit bigger than you need.
Once you have your rectangle drawn, hit OK. When you’re back in the Naming rule screen, your co-ordinates should be filled in. Hit the Insert Value Into Expression button.
Here’s a sample of my rule. It has today’s date and the OCR zone. Hit OK when you’re ready to roll.
Awesome. You have your rule set up! Just remember, these rules will only work for documents that are structured the same every time. It won’t search for the text anywhere in the document, but only at that exact location.
Using OCR Zone Naming Rules
Now that the rule is set up, how do you actually use it?
The only time these special type of Naming rules will run is when you are scanning documents or running OCR. Unfortunately you can’t use them when Drop Naming like you can with other Naming rules.
Here’s an example of applying a rule to an existing document. Select the PDF and hit the OCR button.
In the Recognize Text window, go to the Filename field and hit the dropdown, You’ll see your naming rules there. Choose your Zone rule that you just set up.
Once you run OCR, it will chug away and assuming everything worked, your document will be automatically renamed using your rule. Here’s mine. It renamed the document with today’s date and grabbed “Aweber Email Marketing” from the document.
Renaming At Time Of Scan
You will probably find it easier if you rename at the time of scanning.
If you use a TWAIN scanner through FileCenter’s Scan button, you can use your Naming rule right in the New Scan window.
If you use a ScanSnap with FileCenter, you can use it in the Rename File box that pops up by default.
Zone OCR renaming is a nice feature in FileCenter 9. If I was in charge of the world, here are some things I’d love to see:
- It’d be nice to be able to use these Zone OCR rules when doing Drop Renaming. That way if you scan in batches you can go through and rename on moving to their folders.
- I think they are going to need to add a nickname to these naming rules. As it stands now, I need to remember that “ZONE 660,525,1437,714” is my Aweber check. I can see this getting out of control really quickly.
- It’d be awesome to be able to rename it based on having the text anywhere in the file, similar to Hazel and File Juggler. This would be killer.
Those suggestions aside, Zone OCR is a nice start. If you’re a FileCenter user and have upgraded to FileCenter 9, are you using the new Naming rules?
Thank you for the suggestion! I’m looking for an alterative to Blue Beam for this specific task. Does this software work well with Architectural drawings? Looking for software that will permit me to split PDF files into individually named pages. Need to name pages by selecting a common region on the page where it would utilize that selection, or multiple selections to name all of the pages in the building permit plans.