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Old Aug 3, 2012, 10:58 AM   #1
jmpage2
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Home finance/document organizer software for Mac?

Does anyone have recommendations on OS X software that would make it possible to go paper-less at home?

My wife and I receive a ton of paper and filing it has really started to become a chore. I have reached the point where what I am interested in doing is simply scanning all of it, putting some key-word tags in and having software organize it all automatically so that I can find it later.

I understand that on-line software like Google Docs and Evernote can do this, but I am really leery of uploading all of my personal finance, medical and other information to anyones servers and would rather find software like this for the Mac where I can keep the files locally (probably stored on a NAS share).

Anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 11:24 AM   #2
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Here is a recent thread that has some ideas.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 11:28 AM   #3
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If you can afford to spend a bit of money, go with DevonThink Pro.

Files stored locally, not on cloud

Server on local network built in (nice but not critical)

OCR built in

Good work flow from your scanner

Hierarchical folders

Sync with versions for iPad and iPhone if you need it

It is industrial strength - very good bit of software IMO. I don't want to take risk storing these type of documents - most of the other software out there falls down on one of the key features listed above.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 11:33 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reference to the other thread and the reference to Devon, it seems to be the most popular heavy lifting program out there.

I am just really leery of cloud based stuff when talking about my personal finances, etc. I would rather back them up locally and maybe do a cloud encrypted backup to Amazon S3, etc, if I wanted it archived.

EagleFiler also looks like it might work and is a lot less expensive. I believe there are trial versions of both versions and it appears both versions should work with the Fuji Scansnap which is what I was looking at going with.

Thanks for the info... if anyone else has any ideas would love to hear them.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 01:26 PM   #5
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Okay, thought I would update my own thread.

I installed the 120 hour trial for Devon Think Pro and frankly it looks to be total overkill for my needs, and very very confusing!

I actually sat there scratching my head trying to figure out just how to scan a document through my HP printer and found out this simple thing can't be done without downloading an experimental scan plugin from Devon.

I downloaded their plugin, scanned in a 10 page financial statement and watched Devon completely and spectacularly crash.

Maybe Devon is the greatest thing since sliced bread but it doesn't look like it can do some simple things that I need... like... you know, scan and file documents.

Maybe it works great with a Fuji ScanSnap, but I don't want to buy one till I know how the software works, and I can't do the most basic of things with Devon like scan, so I might have to strike it from the list and try something else.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 02:31 PM   #6
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Here are some alternatives (BTW I also have Devonthink Personal and love it).

Yep, for PDFs. Or Leap, for PDFs and any other documents you might have about.

These programs, both by Ironic Software, are essentially tagging-oriented organizers for files. I think tagging is the bomb; no more "does this go in the tax deduction folder or the receipt folder?" decisions. And since they work with other tagging applications (Default Folder X, Mailtags, Tags, Punakea, etc etc) you don't even have to use them to tag stuff. I love Default Folder X for that.

Leap is especially nice, since you can use the same tag to see a photo, email, and PDF in the same place.

Yep has a scanning input menu; Leap does not. But Yep is designed for PDFs explicitly. It's a document inputter, while Leap is more of an organizer. I started with Yep when I needed to get a bunch of paper in, but I liked the way it worked and wanted to expand to other documents, so now I use Leap more. I don't get paper documents nearly as much anymore, and when I do I often use my iPhone and JotNot or Evernote to input the document, then I just transfer to my iMac, tag it in any of various ways, and I'm done.

Yep will not scan directly from a ScanSnap; unlike some others it uses it's own software to scan, but it also does OCR which is great.

I currently use a Canon imageFormula P-150M for scanning. They now have newer model that's similar. The software is great, and they upgraded quickly for new Mac systems. It's TWAIN, so you can also use other software (like Yep) to directly scan in. Or Image Capture. It's small, and runs off USB. And quick, with good quality. And does OCR. And does duplex scanning.

I had a industrial Aficio at work for legal scanning, but again in the present day I've found I didn't need the ability to scan except occasionally. And for that the cheaper P-150 is great, along with the iPhone, which is pretty awesome scanner itself with the right app (JotNot, Prizmo, etc).
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 02:53 PM   #7
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Well, I might be willing to give DevonThink another try if I could get it to do two things;

1. Need the ability to access it from more than one Mac in the house (so my wife can throw her crap in there too from her Mac).

2. Needs to work with my HP Scanner so I can test it. I'm a bit baffled that their scanner plug in does not work with a six month old $400 HP 8600 Pro scanner, which is a very typical business and home office scanner/all-in-one.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 03:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post
Well, I might be willing to give DevonThink another try if I could get it to do two things;

1. Need the ability to access it from more than one Mac in the house (so my wife can throw her crap in there too from her Mac).

2. Needs to work with my HP Scanner so I can test it. I'm a bit baffled that their scanner plug in does not work with a six month old $400 HP 8600 Pro scanner, which is a very typical business and home office scanner/all-in-one.
Can you access that scanner with Image Capture? It might be HP, not DTP that's the issue.

Devonthink Pro allows you to set up a server, which means you can access it from any Mac. Not sure if that's included in the demo. But there's another way. Devonthink in any edition allows you to index files. Like iPhoto and other applications that do this, instead of putting the file in the library/database, it just references or indexes it. The file stays where it was. So you could set up a shared folder and the documents would be available to any one you designate, and their Devonthink edition could reference it.

You've gotta realize that computers like Macs are set up so that each user, by default, doesn't see the other's stuff. You've got to do considerably more more to make stuff available to another person, even on a computer. That's one of the reason's people use cloud storage; it's easier to do that in most cases. Before you decide on what software to use, decide how you want to accomplish that sharing. A shared folder, a network drive, whatever.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 04:09 PM   #9
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Hi. The HP scanner works fine using the HP scan driver and other apps from OS X that access the scanner.

I realize sharing an app between computers is not the normal way to do things but plenty of applications have this capability.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 04:14 PM   #10
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For starters, I would just go with the ScanSnap, turn on OCR, and file the documents in folders of your choice via the Finder.

You can use Spotlight for full-text search.

I think Hazel (see my post in the other thread) is really great and automating filling if you want to keep PDFs organized via finder folder structures. To add Tags via Hazel, you'd need to use an AppleScript, send me a PM if you are interested.

-t
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 04:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post
Hi. The HP scanner works fine using the HP scan driver and other apps from OS X that access the scanner.

I realize sharing an app between computers is not the normal way to do things but plenty of applications have this capability.
Dunno then about the scanning. Good thing you could demo it first!

I was speaking of sharing the data, not the application. If you buy from the Mac App Store you can use the application on any computer sharing your Apple ID; if that's your setup, you're good. Sharing the data requires that the folder and/or volume is shared, like the NAS solution you mentioned. You could probably store the Devonthink database there and share it, as long as both Macs didn't open it at the same time. The Pro versions allow creation of more than one database, so you could organize shared and personal ones that way. Sorry I wasn't clear. I should've also mentioned that by default your Mac doesn't spotlight index network drives; this means tagging and spotlight searching of them can be iffy.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 05:18 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post
Well, I might be willing to give DevonThink another try if I could get it to do two things;

1. Need the ability to access it from more than one Mac in the house (so my wife can throw her crap in there too from her Mac).

2. Needs to work with my HP Scanner so I can test it. I'm a bit baffled that their scanner plug in does not work with a six month old $400 HP 8600 Pro scanner, which is a very typical business and home office scanner/all-in-one.
I think the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M and DTPO combination is the gold standard... and I do not think it can be beat by anything in its price range. Lower end consumer stuff will likely just be frustrating in the long term... and high end enterprise stuff is out of reach of consumers. DTPO is a great product in the "prosumer" class.

I do not know too much about the HP 8600 scanner... but I think it is an all-in-one with a flatbed on top with stack loader. I have previously owned several all-in-one HP inkjet printers... I currently use a very nice Xerox all-in-one color laser printer with a 50 page sheet loader. For the most part, they are all total crap. I pretty much never use the Xerox for any scanning anymore, unless it is something that does not fit through the ScanSnap. Going back to one of these all-in-ones feels like going back to listening to 8-Track players. By comparison, the Fujitsu S1500M is unbelievable.

Regarding shared database... I know there are new features coming from DTPO... but I use the "low tech" approach. I exclusively add new data into the database. My wife has two options when she wants something inserted:

1) Electronic info: Email it to me with the subject: "scan"
2) Printed info: Put it into an "inbox" on my desk.

Occasionally, she will add in option 3:

3) Print something and then give it to me to scan. LOL... I'm not sure she is technically trainable, but she has other redeeming qualities that make up for it.

DTPO does have a server... so she can see anything in the database from her computer. I prefer giving her "read access"... rather than have her muck with the database... and she seems to prefer that as well.

/Jim

Last edited by flynz4; Aug 3, 2012 at 05:35 PM.
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Old Aug 5, 2012, 11:13 AM   #13
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Guys,

Definitely I know that a ScanSnap is going to be a requisite purchase with whatever software I end up using as it is considered the fastest most reliable document scanner out there.

Getting back to DevonThink, I'm leery now of giving it another try and I'll tell you why.

After the crash I decided to 'uninstall' DevonThink because I anticipated trying some other applications and I didn't want DevonThink installed at the same time. I was alarmed at how deep into the guts of my machine DevonThink has reached and even now, a day later I'm trying to find ways to un-do things that it has done (for example, it added a "scripts" folder to the menu bar and even after following their uninstall instructions I can't seem to get rid of it).

Any developer who can't provide a clean and complete uninstall for their software leaves me with serious doubts as to their ability to write quality software.

Considering the number of things that require manual deletion with DevonThink I would think that they would do the honorable thing and provide an uninstaller, but they don't.

I might try EagleFiler before even considering trying DevonThink again.
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Old Aug 6, 2012, 12:14 PM   #14
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I've ordered a ScanSnap S1300i and will be giving EagleFiler a try.... I like that the files are stored as regular files and not in a db... makes it handy if you need to access the files from a machine not running the organizer software.

If EagleFiler can't cut the mustard I will reconsider Devon.
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 02:26 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post
I've ordered a ScanSnap S1300i and will be giving EagleFiler a try.... I like that the files are stored as regular files and not in a db... makes it handy if you need to access the files from a machine not running the organizer software.

If EagleFiler can't cut the mustard I will reconsider Devon.
If you look into the DevonThink's DB "package"... all of the files are there in original form.

/Jim
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 04:27 AM   #16
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This ebook is worth buying for a series of tips on going paperless in an OSX universe, and his blog/podcasts have some tips too....

http://www.macsparky.com/paperless/
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 04:55 AM   #17
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I know people question its security, but I've been using Evernote together with a Scansnap and find it great.
A local copy is retained on your desktop with a copy being stored on the Evernote servers.
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 07:23 AM   #18
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You could give Paperless a try.

https://www.marinersoftware.com/products/paperless/

It does just about everything you're looking for, and it's saved on your computer, not in the cloud.
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 09:40 AM   #19
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Does Paperless use OCR? Does it create a searchable database of your files?
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 12:13 PM   #20
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Does Paperless use OCR? Does it create a searchable database of your files?
I was about to bite the bullet and give Evernote a try, but, like you, I too am looking for a local solution since 99% of the time I don't need/want to have all my documents, notes, etc. synced to my devices. For the other 1% there's Dropbox.

I've looked at Yep, but ongoing development seems sketchy at best.

DEVONthink seems like overkill for my needs.

Paperless seems intriguing, so I may give it a try. According to their website it does use OCR and appears to create its own searchable library file (I'm assuming similar to iTunes or iPhoto).
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Old Aug 7, 2012, 12:18 PM   #21
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My scan snap will be here tomorrow, and I might have a bit of time to play around thursday with this stuff before leaving on a vacation.

I'm actually open to a cloud based system as long as my data is encrypted with a key that I provide, and I can download a local copy of the data. I'm guessing Evernote does not offer those capabilities.

I am going to give Eagle Filer a chance and then based on that I might go back to trying DevonThink again as well as trying other options.

I understand that many people are looking for an organizer that can grab everything in their lives from web pages to emails to receipts and paper documents. I don't give a crap about most of that, I just want something that will do an outstanding job of organizing the mountain of paper in my house with searchable OCR and notes by me, etc, and putting it in a format that is easy to use by my wife and makes sense.

Tall order apparently.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 06:52 PM   #22
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Okay, little update. I briefly tried Eagle Filer. Nice software but I found the interface a little bit cryptic/clunky.

I went ahead and re-installed DevonThink Pro Office... this time with the new Scansnap 1300 I got. DevonThink is pretty powerful. Probably overkill for what I am doing, but certainly no shortage of capabilities. I kind of got on a tear with it and scanned in over 200 documents piled up on my desk. Still getting comfortable with groups, tags, etc, and I'm not sure how well it will work for setting up on another PC, but it looks like it will get the job done and I will probably register it despite the staggering price tag.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 08:17 PM   #23
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Glad you found something that could work for you. I tried EagleFiler too, and was underwhelmed. It really just seemed like a glorified Finder, which made me decide to bag the whole thing and just use Finder.
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Old Aug 10, 2012, 02:02 AM   #24
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Okay, little update. I briefly tried Eagle Filer. Nice software but I found the interface a little bit cryptic/clunky.

I went ahead and re-installed DevonThink Pro Office... this time with the new Scansnap 1300 I got. DevonThink is pretty powerful. Probably overkill for what I am doing, but certainly no shortage of capabilities. I kind of got on a tear with it and scanned in over 200 documents piled up on my desk. Still getting comfortable with groups, tags, etc, and I'm not sure how well it will work for setting up on another PC, but it looks like it will get the job done and I will probably register it despite the staggering price tag.
I had a real uphill learning curve with DevonPro, but now (about five months later) I absolutely love it. My needs are also not very advanced, but the ease of filing and organising has won me over. I hope it will work out for you, too.
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Old Aug 10, 2012, 02:36 AM   #25
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Okay, little update. I briefly tried Eagle Filer. Nice software but I found the interface a little bit cryptic/clunky.

I went ahead and re-installed DevonThink Pro Office... this time with the new Scansnap 1300 I got. DevonThink is pretty powerful. Probably overkill for what I am doing, but certainly no shortage of capabilities. I kind of got on a tear with it and scanned in over 200 documents piled up on my desk. Still getting comfortable with groups, tags, etc, and I'm not sure how well it will work for setting up on another PC, but it looks like it will get the job done and I will probably register it despite the staggering price tag.
I have very similar requirements as yours and am looking for a solution so really appreciate you coming back and telling us your experience.

did you try paperless?

thanks
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