Rename PDFs Based On Content With FileCenter Zone OCR

Rename PDFs Based On Content With FileCenter Zone OCR

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.

FileCenter Naming Button

Next, create a new rule by hitting Add.

FileCenter Add Rule

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.

FileCenter Open File

Hit the Load File button and navigate to the sample document you scanned in earlier.

Load File Button

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.

FileCenter Choose Zone

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.

FileCenter Naming Rule Completed

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.

FileCenter 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.

FileCenter Choose Naming Rule

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.

Renamed File

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.

FileCenter Scan Window

If you use a ScanSnap with FileCenter, you can use it in the Rename File box that pops up by default.

FileCenter ScanSnap Rename File

My Wishlist

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?

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 5 comments

D Houston - December 14, 2022 Reply

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.

Leonard Weber - October 2, 2019 Reply

Got this programme specifically for OCR Zone naming – it has worked all year during testing, I need it now for a specific job and the OCR Zone naming function has disappeared. My license is current, but it does not work. The Zone OCR template I created does not work and OCR Zone naming is not listed in the naming area as an option, I uninstalled the version I had, re-installed a new download and updated my license key, all to no avail. Not worth having if it can’t be relied on when needed.

Tamás Réti - March 6, 2017 Reply

Dear Mr. Brooks,

We have tried your wonderful application and want to buy it.
Before that, we would like to know is there any feature to do the following:

Case one
One big PDF file, one page one person, split by page, rename by some name text in the splitted page (OCR), but it is Hungarian (éáűőúöüóí, etc.) + date, time

Case two
One big PDF file, one logo and several person per page, split by person name (OCR Hungarian too!) with the same logo in the header each page, rename by one name text in the splitted page ( Hungarian OCR too) + date, time

We can do the splitting with other application, the Hungarian OCR is the key…

Thank You in advance for your support!

    Wilmer Baune - July 25, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for the awesome information! I highly appreciate it.

florispan - December 30, 2015 Reply

And for mac…Would it be possible a similar method? Thanks.

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