Best Document Management "Paperless" Organization Software?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Robdmb, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2008
    I just got an iMac and am looking to transition all my document storage to it. On my windows PC I was just scanning everything and placing it in folders but would like something more sophisticated. I have heard of DevonThink but the interface seems somewhat difficult to me. I am wondering if there are any better options out there I should be considering. Thanks.
  2. macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    First, I think it is worth noting that Finder is pretty awesome if you sit down and check it out. The search capabilities, narrowing down fields, etc; it is all very good. If you really want to unleash the power of Finder, you can really enhance it by downloading something like TotalFinder. Finder itself though is pretty great. Before you buy any product check that out.

    Document Management:

    You may feel as though Finder is "too raw" for you and a fancy UI really makes your day. I totally get that (and probably feel I am that way too). There are apps out there, as you know. Devon Think is nice. One thing I think it does do is when it is searching documents it will correlate a document to another based on content giving you a connection between documents with like content. That is pretty cool but whether you use it is another story.

    iDocument is another app you can use. I'd say it is the competion to Devon Think. Somewhere someone said that iDocument is like iTunes for documents. That may suit you well.

    Then there is Mariner Paperless. The whole point is to let your "office" go paperless. May be worth a look.

    Finally, there is Together. I am not familiar with that app at all but I remember someone recommending it.

    For me it would be about ease of use. Finder may be great for some but I'm also a fan of simple buckets where I can store documents and get them fast. I don't necessarily want to have to run various searches just to see what I have, which is why Finder may not work for you either.

    The best thing to do is to download a trial of one, use it. Then download another, use it, etc. If a trial isn't offered then I probably wouldn't bother with the app itself. I just think that the investment into getting what I need on my computer is more important than taking a chance on software that doesn't work the way I had hoped.
  3. macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2011
  4. macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    I use DevonThink Pro Office. Not inexpensive, but very powerful and does exactly what I need as far as making my life paperless.
  5. macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2009
    Agree with the other on DevonThink. But can be pricey. Not exactly a DM, but take a peek at Evernote. It's free, and does a lot now for scanning in documents, etc. Plus you have access on mobile devices, like phones/tablets.

    Just a thought.
  6. macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2007
    Check out the iBook Paperless by David Sparks (runs MacSparky blog and MacPowerUsers podcast) - great guide to setting up a paperless workflow. I know David highly recommends the software that comes with the Fuji ScanSnap line of scanners, and also incorporates Hazel into a paperless workflow.

    My workflow turns all scanned material into pdf, for which I use Hazel software to automate OCR (w/ PDFPenPro) and filing into a folder system.
  7. macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Without a doubt, the Fujitsu ScanSnap 1500M is the gold standard of document scanners. If you are going to move to paperless documents... you need a document scanner. A flatbed scanner (even those with document feeders) will leave you so frustrated that you will give up. Search this site for Fujitsu ScanSnap and you will find many threads.

    DevonThink Pro Office (DTPO) is IMHO... by far the best document organization database software. It uses artificial intelligence to gain "knowledge" about your database. The more you use it... the smarter it gets.

    My most basic workflow is as follows:

    • Paper comes into the house (ex mail) and goes one of three places (recycle bin, shredder, "to be scanned" tray)
    • Every few days, I'll scan everything waiting to be scanned... then immediately shred. Everything is converted to a searchable PDF as it is scanned (using OCR)... and immediately put into DTPO's inbox folder.
    • Every month or so... I'll open DTPO and file/organize.

    This last step is one area where DTPO is amazing. I'll open the inbox, select a document... and DTPO opens a side bar with stack of "relevance bars" suggesting exactly where it should be filed. Side by side you see the document and the places DTPO thinks it should go. The first (top) choice is almost always correct. One click later, it is filed and you are looking at the next document in your inbox.

    Many people do not even bother manually filing... they just turn on "auto classification" and it automatically files when you import or scan a document into DTPO. I have not done this yet. It is so easy to manually file using the Artificial Intelligence of DTPO that I just do it manually. I also get a kick out of seeing how well it does suggesting where it should be filed. The search capability inside of DTPO is so powerful that there is no reason you ever really have to file (or keyword) anything if you do not want. You can just leave it one big disorganized mess. DTPO knows the content of all your documents and when you search... it adds relevance bars to the results. Even though I do "file" things away... I typically just search and get to my data faster than looking through my filing structure.

    This is the tip of the iceburg of what DTPO can do.

    If you really want to move to a paperless world... I recommend the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M and DTPO. They are not cheap ($170 for DTPO, $400 ScanSnap) but they are unequaled.

  8. macrumors 68030

    Jul 13, 2008
    Give a thought or two to organization before you go out and commit to software.

    For example, does your organization have to be cross-platform? You said you started on a PC. At least with using directories you could probably preserve those as you move over to the Finder. Tags? Probably not so much.

    Are these things OCRed? If so, then they're searchable, which might change what you need. And does one document need to have several relationships? like client name, name of document, author, etc? Tagging makes that much easier than deciding what folder to put it in, or making duplicates.

    For the most comprehensive structure, go database. A folder structure is kinda like that, but you would probably be more happy with something like DevonThink, which is a database in essence. If you use tags and PDFs, look at Yep; or if tags and more than PDFs, Leap.
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2008
    Seems like maybe I have to give Devonthink another chance since everyone so highly recommends it. It seemed somewhat confusing to me when I first tried it. I have a scanner and just want to input everything for easy access. Then I also use an online backup to back up all my data.
  10. macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2011
  11. macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2013
    Do try DevonThink Pro.. I bought the ProOffice version recently because I've got a TON of PDF files and it took a while to get them OCR'd and I've toyed around with the classification engine to try to figure out where new documents should reside.. It's pretty cool and a nice feature. My DTPO database is close to 30Gb in size and I realize that IF I ever needed to ditch DTPO that the original files are residing within the database and can be pulled out if need be in their original state (e.g. pdf files).. I've also got a Fujitsu Scansnap S1300 scanner that I bought used off Craigslist for $100 -- worth every penny but I'd opt for the S1500 next time as this one is a bit slow..
  12. macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2014
    I do have a solution for you,

    Orbit Document Management Solution

    • Web based
    • Locally developed and supported with reference sites
    • Remote as well as local scanning and indexing capabilities
    • Allow for data capturing and validation of detailed information
    • Add supporting documents to existing records
    • Add text notes to records
    • Open, structured information
    • See and maintain indexed information
    • Never delete a record
    • Visual structure
    • Multiple access from “anywhere”
    • Controlled access to document records
    • Full text search module available
    • Support multiple storage formats
    • E-mail, print, fax
    • Easy to use, install, configure and maintain
    • Strong import and export facility for volume processing and migration of existing data
    • Can be deployed in the following environments:
    o Intranet
    o Internet
    o Hosted
    o Distributed
    • Integration via web services
    • Supports all twain compliant scanning devices
    • Full audit trail
  13. macrumors newbie


    Aug 18, 2009
    I've been using ScanSnap for 6 years along with Yep document manager. Yep uses tags rather than folders. It's very intuitive and easy. The problem for your task is each document will have to be scanned in separately, renamed and tagged.

    I have never found any solution for doing your task other than custom programing.
  14. macrumors 6502


    Sep 22, 2014
    ScanSnap and Evernote is my lethal combination. I've transformed bookshelves and filing cabinets to electronic documents. Love it! :cool:
  15. macrumors 6502


    Jun 22, 2014
    I've also been a long term scansnap user. However I can't stand the devonthink software, paperless from mariner has proven very valuable. Great dealing with both documents, and receipts where you need to ocr the values etc and very good scansnap integration.
  16. macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2014
    Scansnap + Evernote premium is working out nicely for me.
  17. macrumors 68030


    Dec 18, 2007
    NY State of mind
    You guys do realize the original post is almost 2 years old - right?
  18. macrumors 6502


    Jun 22, 2014
    And? People today still use paperless solutions. Just as relevant now as it was then and before then :)
  19. macrumors regular

    Dec 26, 2007
    which of these has remote sharing? (similar to filemaker?) and not syncing... thanks
  20. macrumors 6502


    Jun 22, 2014

    Could you elaborate on what you mean by remote sharing?
  21. macrumors regular

    Dec 26, 2007
    You open one filemaker document on one computer, then other computers on the same network can share that file only.

    I don't like syncing because it always ask the annoying merge questions.
  22. macrumors 6502


    Jun 22, 2014
  23. macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2008
    Can second this. Five years of almost daily usage, this thing is still killing it. One of the BEST computer accessories I've ever purchased. After being in IT for decades and buying all sorts of stuff, I'd put this on a Top 10 list for sure.


    It's just that we love talking to ghosts.
  24. macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2008
    Help for the newbie hoping to go paperless

    So this is mostly a 2 year old thread. For me, the not-too-computer savvy person, what would be the simplest 2014 approach to organizing household paper so that it is searchable? I have looked at iBook Paperless but have not had good luck with Hazel in the past.
  25. macrumors 68030

    Jul 13, 2008
    Depends on what the paper is. If amenable to a sheet feed scanner, use that, OCR software, and something like Evernote, Yep, DevonThink Pro, Leap, etc to organize it. I prefer making PDFs and using Yep to organize them.

    If not sheet feedable, either a flatbed or a smartphone and a scanner app. They work remarkably well. I think some have OCR, or use Evernote's premium edition and get the OCR from them.

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