Do you have a Fujitsu ScanSnap and use multiple devices? Today Fujitsu has officially released ScanSnap Sync – a new feature that allows you to scan and access your documents on multiple computers and mobile devices and keep them all in sync.
What Is ScanSnap Sync?
ScanSnap Sync is a feature that is officially supported on the ScanSnap iX500 and ScanSnap iX100. I have no doubt that enterprising ScanSnap users will let us know in the comments if they get it working on other models.
If you use ScanSnap Organizer on Windows or Mac and/or ScanSnap Connect on iOS or Android, it gives you the ability to scan and save your documents on one of your computers or mobile devices, and have those documents automatically appear on all your other devices, all from within ScanSnap Organizer.
You’ve long been able to use the ScanSnap to scan to different cloud services. How is this different?
How ScanSnap Sync Works
The way Fujitsu set this up is pretty clever. To start with, they (smartly) did not try to create their own cloud syncing service.
They use Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive to do the actual heavy lifting. They just provide the interface through ScanSnap Organizer (Mac/PC) or ScanSnap Connect (iOS/Android) so you don’t have to mess around with folders in your operating system.
This means that if you are not someone who uses ScanSnap Organizer to store your documents, ScanSnap Sync is not going to do much for you. You’re probably better off use using the cloud services natively.
Doing it the way Fujitsu has done it has a few benefits from my perspective:
- It allows them to focus on what they’re good at (making scanners) and not worry about the complexities of creating, running, and securing a cloud service.
- They are not going to constantly be trying to sell you a cloud storage plan, which is what would inevitably happen if they got into the cloud storage business.
What About Security?
As I have mentioned, Fujitsu does not actually store your documents online for you. The storage and transmission is done by Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive.
If you are not someone that is comfortable storing your documents in the cloud, you will not want to use ScanSnap Sync. However, if you want the benefits of having some or all of your documents accessible, you now have that option built in to ScanSnap Organizer.
Fortunately it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You can keep your sensitive documents on your computer only and choose to store certain ones using ScanSnap Sync.
Set Up ScanSnap Sync
ScanSnap Sync is very easy to set up and use, but there are some things you should know before you get started:
First, you need to have the application for whatever cloud service you will be using set up on your computer or mobile device. Make sure you have the Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive software installed and working before you set up ScanSnap Sync. It’ll make life easier.
Second, your documents will be stored in a folder called ScanSnap in your Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive folder.
If that folder already exists, ScanSnap Sync will use it. Just something to be aware of.
Setting Up ScanSnap Sync On Your Computer
When you start up ScanSnap Organizer on Mac or Windows, it will prompt you to set up ScanSnap Sync.
If you don’t see the ScanSnap Sync options, you probably need to update ScanSnap Organizer. Right click on the ScanSnap icon in your Taskbar or Dock, choose Help and then Online Update.
When you set it up, the main thing you need to do is select which cloud service you want to use: Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive
There’ll be a ScanSnap Sync menu item in ScanSnap Organizer now.
Once you do that, you’ll see there is a new menu item in the Sidebar: ScanSnap Sync.
More how to use that below.
Setting Up ScanSnap Sync On Your Mobile Device
When you fire up the ScanSnap Connect app for iOS or Android, it will prompt you to set up ScanSnap Sync.
Hit Connect and choose which cloud service you want to use. Obviously, it should be the same service you use on your computer(s).
You can also decide whether you want to Auto Upload scans (vs. doing it manually) and if you have limited data, you can have it only sync when on WiFi.
It will also prompt you if you want to upload all existing scans in your ScanSnap Connect app, or if you want to do them manually. Totally up to you.
Use ScanSnap Sync
Once you’re set up, using ScanSnap Sync is very easy.
Use ScanSnap Sync on Your Computer
In ScanSnap Organizer, drag the documents or folders you want to synchronize onto the ScanSnap Sync menu item.
Once you do that, your Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive application will chug away in the background and upload them. For example, here are some PDFs in ScanSnap Sync on the Mac:
You can see that in ScanSnap Organizer for Windows, the same files are there.
Here I added a new PDF to Windows ScanSnap Organizer:
It almost immediately appeared in ScanSnap Organizer on the Mac.
I was curious if you could have a folder structure in ScanSnap Sync and sure enough, you can drag folders in:
The folder appeared on Windows, but I had to restart ScanSnap Organizer for some reason.
Use ScanSnap Sync on Mobile Device
Once you’ve selected a Cloud service in ScanSnap Connect on your iOS or Android device, the files and folders you have saved in ScanSnap Sync on your computers should appear.
If you use ScanSnap Connect to scan wirelessly from an iX500 or iX100, your scans can be automatically uploaded to ScanSnap Sync.
For example, I used my iPhone to scan a document from my iX500.
It then appeared in ScanSnap Organizer in the ScanSnap Sync section.
Side Benefit: Automatic OCR
There is a side-benefit us this ScanSnap Sync setup for mobile. Historically, one of the downsides of scanning to a mobile device with ScanSnap Connect is that the documents are not searchable.
Because ScanSnap Organizer performs background OCR, ScanSnap Sync solves this. Here’s how it works:
- You scan a document to your mobile device in ScanSnap Connect.
- ScanSnap Sync uploads the document in the background, and it is downloaded to ScanSnap Organizer on your Mac or PC.
- ScanSnap Organizer makes the document searchable in the background.
- That newly-searchable document is, again in the background, synced back via ScanSnap Sync and boom – you have a searchable PDF on your computer and your mobile device, all in the background.
For example, that Target receipt that I scanned earlier was automatically made searchable. You can tell because of the “As” in the thumbnail.
Who Should Use ScanSnap Sync?
If you are someone that uses the ScanSnap applications to organize your documents and want to be able to access them from different computers and mobile devices, ScanSnap Sync is a clever new feature to do that without locking you in to proprietary software or services. Best of all, it’s free.
If you’re a ScanSnap Organizer user, let us know in the comments how you use it.