Use ScanSnap Organizer Distribute By Keyword To Automatically File Your Documents

Use ScanSnap Organizer Distribute By Keyword To Automatically File Your Documents

ScanSnap OrganizerThis video on ScanSnap Organizer Keyword Distribution is part of a series of quick videos on paperless tips and topics. View more in the series here.

The ScanSnap Organizer software that comes with all Windows Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners has an interesting feature that I’ll bet not many people have noticed: you can use keywords in a PDF to automatically file your documents.

You can either assign keywords to your PDFs manually, or use a highlighter and have the ScanSnap recognize them, but once you do, you can use Distribute By Keyword to create rules and then have them sort the PDFs into cabinets and folders.

As a bonus, like a bad 90’s sitcom, you can see me re-use some of the footage from last week’s ScanSnap highlighter video.

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.

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 27 comments

R B - September 24, 2015 Reply

Thank you very much for the recommendation of File Juggler. It’s been fantastic!

I would like to make sure that I haven’t missed something in ScanSnap, that would allow me to automate the “Distribute” button press function. Honestly, I find it difficult to comprehend why they didn’t include the ability to not only apply the keywords based on the highlighter, but then automatically run the distribution function. Then the scanner could be run on a headless server.

May I also ask if anyone has found a solution to remove the dialog box that appears at the end of each scan?

Many thanks!

Searching for Accurate Maps - Use ScanSnap Organizer Distribute By Keyword To Automatically File Your Documents | Tips To Learn How To Go Paperless | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog - April 20, 2014 Reply

[…] via Use ScanSnap Organizer Distribute By Keyword To Automatically File Your Documents | Tips To Learn Ho…. […]

Margaret - August 20, 2013 Reply

Is there a way to scan in checks (which are always colored paper) and have scansnap automatically assign a keyword. I have rules set up for distribution, but assigning a keyword to each file and then distributing is much slower than just dragging the file to a folder (cabinet drawer) I am doing about 50 checks at a time, and would love the process to be more streamlined> Help

lezlie - April 30, 2013 Reply

How do I get a scan to automatically go in the right section of a folder in Rack2 filer smart from scansnap organizer?

Monica - February 9, 2013 Reply

I watched the video assigned a keyword created the condition but the document did not transfer to the cabinet

Aaron Parr - January 2, 2013 Reply

It would be very nice if the entire text of a document could be search against a list of potential keywords which would be automatically assigned if they were found in the document. In most cases a persons bills and other documents have a unique string that can be used to identify them. For example my gas bill is from a company Queststar. This is certainly unique and if Queststar was in my list of potential keywords it would be automatically applied. With this feature and a set of distribute rules the Software would be much more powerful and automatic for scanning and automatically filing documents.

    Neal - February 15, 2014 Reply

    Absolutely Aaron! What you describe is exactly the functionality I assumed and expected.

    What use is it for it to automatically file the document (saving me one mouse action) if I have to take a half dozen clicks / key presses to assign the keyword manually? Who design this software Rube Goldberg???

      Brooks Duncan - February 15, 2014 Reply

      I don’t necessarily disagree with you (and that is why Hazel on the Mac is so powerful and File Juggler on Windows is a good alternative

      However, I don think Fujitsu implemented this feature with the purposes if you manually adding keywords. The idea is to use the highlighter.

      I know what you mean though.

        Neal - February 15, 2014 Reply

        I tried the highlighter and could not get it to work. Perhaps because the statements are not black and white. at best this would be cumbersome extra step.

        I found File Juggler for Windows which will watch folders and search the CONTENTS of pdfs for pre-defined strings like account numbers and then take defined actions like move, rename, send to Evernote etc.

          Neal - February 15, 2014 Reply

          Also found DropIt which is freeware and can do the same thing (although a little trickier to configure)

Video: ScanSnap Organizer, Distribute By Keyword, and Multiple Documents | Tips To Learn How To Go Paperless | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog - June 6, 2012 Reply

[…] Back in February, I did a video showing how to use ScanSnap Organizer to distribute by keyword. […]

angelicahalco - May 24, 2012 Reply

The video helped me a lot, however you only scanned one document. I am scanning multiple pages all with different keywords. Can you please direct me to a video using mulitple documents, scan them and have them distribute. It would be a great help.


    Brooks Duncan - May 24, 2012 Reply

    Hi, I'll try to get this done next week. <p style=”color: #A0A0A8;”>

Dean - May 7, 2012 Reply

The keyword limitation is a pain. We purchased this so we could scan receipts quickly. Then when we needed to return the drill bits, we need to be able to search all our receipts quickly for the sku number on the drill bit package, for example.
A highlighted keyword doesn't cut it for thousands of receipts from dozens of stores. The color thing is a big disappointment too. The scanner is fabulous. The software ruins the scanner.

    Bill - April 13, 2015 Reply

    When searching documents like you want to do (like for an SKU) or any other text within a document, a keyword search is not what you want to do. Speaking about Windows (I use Macs and Linux also so a different answer for those): You use Windows search for what you want. If you are using 64 bit windows, you must have added Adobe PDF iFilter and configured your machine to use it. Then Windows search will automatically add searchable pdf text to its index and its easy for you to search ALL of your documents for an SKU or any other searchable text. It works well, completely, and fast. Your keyword capabilities should be for filing purposes only (so you can specify where you wish to file something). The searching is more general. If you want more than this (keyword filing and text search), then you need to look at a database solution.

Melissa - April 5, 2012 Reply

Nevermind, I opened a ticket with support and they are going to add it as an enhancement in an upcoming version that you can have more than 100 rules.

MelB - March 30, 2012 Reply

My understanding is that you can only have 100 rules. Is that correct? Is there anyway to expand it? We use the organizer to distribute scanned patient files. Of course we have more than 100 patients.

Nina - March 26, 2012 Reply

I have watched this video 4 times, done it exactly like it said on my windows computer using only 1 document and still can't get it to move into the right folder. there is just a bit of color on the page, but seems like that shouldn't make a difference since I tagged the keyword. Help.

    Brooks Duncan - March 27, 2012 Reply

    Hi Nina,

    That's really strange. If you are manually tagging the keyword, I'm surprised it doesn't work, though I am not at my Windows computer so I can't test it. If you have time, can you let me know step by step what you'redoing and what is happening and I'll try to take a look? No rush, I won't have time to dig into it for 2 weeks or so.

Brian - March 5, 2012 Reply

Thanks Brooks,
I found after multiple trials and errors that the highlight function only works on black and white documents. Most documents that I file have some color on them which makes this unusable. Assigning a keyword to the document, for instance your bank statement, works better in my opinion. I agree with Rudy that this software is hard to use. I am glad to see this forum and have subscribed to the newsletter and plan to read all the posts as well as look at the videos.

    Brooks Duncan - March 5, 2012 Reply

    Hi Brian,

    Yep you are right that this only really works on black & white. If there are colors or too many designs, it can't tell where the highlighter is and this doesn't work.

Rudy - February 26, 2012 Reply

nice video. however you only scanned one document. I can drag the document to the file faster. How about a video using mulitple documents, pre set the conditions, scan them and have them distribute. It would be a great help. so far I have found the software difficult to use, or maybe I am asking it to something it does not do. thanks

Jane Andrews - February 21, 2012 Reply

BrooksD: that link doesn't work. Can anyone else advise of a mac equivalent to ScanSnap Organizer for Windows?

    Brooks Duncan - February 21, 2012 Reply

    Oops try this:

      Jane Andrews - February 22, 2012 Reply

      That worked!! Thank you!!

mediafp - February 8, 2012 Reply

Is there a Mac equivalent method as well?

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