Best "Paperless" Document Management Software For Scansnap

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by huxbnw, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. huxbnw macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2010
    I'm about to purchase a Scansnap s1500m or a new s1300 from Fujitsu. Any advice about what is the best software to go with the Scansnap? I'm looking at DevonThink, Paperless, Yep, Yojimbo, Together, Evernote, etc. I will want to OCR many of my documents so full text searching is a requirement. DevonThink seems like the most powerful, but is all that power (and the extra price) necessary? I am generally a fan of folders and not just tagging, although I tend to do both. Thanks for any suggestions.

    One more thing: if I want to OCR the documents and decide to go with the s1300, do I need a storage application with OCR scanning (such as DevonThink Pro Office)? Thanks!
  2. steveoc macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2007
    Adirondacks NY
    DEVONThink Office Pro integrates the Snapscan scanners extremely well. It is more folder oriented, but now does tags. OCR is integrated and the workflows for importing data are rich, varied, and efficient.

    You don't necessarily need a storage application. You could set up a folder structure in the finder, but you'd need a 3rd party app for tagging. I think the scansnap scanner comes with OCR software.

    I'm extremely happy with DEVONThink Pro Office and I feel it is worth every penny. I was puzzled by it at first, but once I dove in with a genealogy project, it became increasingly clear. They have a very generous trial program, so just download it and give it a try. They have a 25% educational discount if you qualify.
  3. sl1200mk2 macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2006
    I hadn't seen this one before... very nice! I've been thinking about buying a Snapscan and had seen some of the other apps, but none really made me think "I need this". Going to have to think about pushing my purchase up a bit sooner.

    Thanks -
  4. JWFerne macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2006
    I've used them all and there are two programs that I use for different reasons.

    For all my legal documents (taxes, medical, receipts, banking etc) I use NeatWorks. I think it's a great solution with one major flaw. It does not have a nestled folder system at this time. I did see an interview (TUAW I think) from 2010 MacWorld, that said they were releasing a new version in March. According to the article it has nestled folders and some other improvements. Happy about that, but I do like the program anyways.

    My second go to program is Evernote. It's basically free unless you need more storage and syncs with every computer I install it on. I used it for scanned articles, business expenses etc. where it's convenient to get from my different machines, but I don't necessarily need to archive long term.

    Both programs work great with the ScanSnap scanners. No matter what solution you go with, I think you'll be pleased if your scanner is to your liking. I use the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500m as a point of reference. Very fast and great scans!

    Hope that helps!

    p.s. I want to like Paperless... it just doesn't seem polished enough for me. DevonThink is very powerful, but I don't care for the interface and it almost has too much for my needs. It bothers me that I feel this way, but I hate the name of the DevonThink program and it irritates me when I see it. I know I know, it's pretty strange... nonetheless it bugs me.
  5. huxbnw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2010
    Thank you for all your comments.

    I've been leaning towards DevonThink Pro Office for a while now, but I wonder if it's just too complicated of a program for my needs. This was the main criticism it received from the Mac Power Users on their podcast on going Paperless. Nevertheless, DevonThink Pro Office just seems like such a nice and easy to use program--especially now with the launch of version 2.

    I'd love to hear about some user experiences using DTPO. Is it too difficult? Just right? How does it work with the Scansnap.

    I love Evernote for compiling documents, but I don't want to keep my personal scanned documents (esp. taxes and other highly personal documents) on the cloud somewhere.

    I'm going to pull the trigger on one of the Scansnap models this week. Trouble is I'm having a difficult time deciding on the s1500m and new s1300. The big one is so fast and effortless, but the portable one is so tiny and inexpensive. It will be used 80% home and 20% work, so I'm on the fence which one to get. Now that the portable model does OCR, this is a difficult call.
  6. ksmith80209 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    +1 for DEVONthink Pro Office. I just started using it a week or so ago and I'm very impressed. The only issue with DTPO is that it CAN do so much, you really need to decide WHAT you want to do with it. My advice - don't try to import all of your files into it and use it as a finder replacement. Instead, "index" your files (allows you to search them and relate them to other things), set up a folder(s) for your scanned receipts, then scan away. This works really well.

    Also - although the iPad/iPhone versions of DEVONthink aren't getting great reviews (synch issues, etc), I've found them to be really nice. Like Evernote, you can take a text or photo note and sync it back to your Mac - my primary use for Evernote.
  7. flynz4, Jan 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012

    flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I use DevonThink Pro Office with a ScanSnap S1500M. I love it. I primarily use folders, but it works equally well with tags.

    Also... it has great search capabilities, and you can even keep all of your data in one big heap and just search for what you want... It does a great job sorting by relevance.

    I let everything scan into my inbox with automatic OCR enabled. Then after I scan a bunch of stuff... I'll go in and move to folders. It works best if I open a second instance side by side... and I just drag each document into the appropriate folder hierarchy. The only time I search is when I forget where I have filed something... or sometimes just because it is interesting to see how well it does searching.

    I think it was SteveOC who convinced me to go with this setup. Spend the money and don't look back. It is a great program and in the end you will be glad that you went with the best.

    BTW: I would recommend the S1500M over the more portable version unless you have a significant reason to travel with it. It is a workhorse.

  8. splatt macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2009
    How well do these apps handle neat printed handwriting?

    I'm looking to build a system to organize and track handwritten meeting notes.

    If I take care to neatly print a few topic keywords at the top of each page of notes, would that work to enter them into one of these database programs and make them searchable? I don't care of the bulk of the notes are searchable, I just want something that lets me for example find note on topic XYZ taken within a specified date range.
  9. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    My ScanSnap S1500M combined with DevonThink allows you to highlight certain words using a highlighter pen, and then it will automatically make those into Keywords.

    I can't remember if it is the ScanSnap, or DevonThink that performs that function... but I know the combination does have it. Since I OCR everything, I have not been using this function.

  10. jsgreen macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2007
    David Sparks, host of Mac Power Users podcast, just released an iBook (iPad only) on going paperless. I haven't read it yet, but his other books and podcasts are terrific, maybe would be a good resource in your research?

    I have no affiliation with Mr. Sparks, just a fan of his work.
  11. splatt macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2009
    That's awesome. Though if I ocr everything as well, maybe I wouldn't need it.

    Another question for everyone ... I was looking at the devonThink website ...

    are you all using the pro or personal version of this? I'm assuming it's the pro office version ($150) since that one says it has scansnap support. Pretty spendy ...

    I hope the keyword feature you mention is in the scansnap software. I'm leaning toward just scanning to an organized folder structure and using spotlight to search. Maybe using openmeta tags.
  12. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I have Devon Think Pro (not Office) and I think it's great. I did have a bit of a learning curve when I first started using it, but I think it's an excellent program. They also sell a manual that helps you get the most out of it.
  13. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006
    Do people index with DTPO or import? I have read Spark's ebook (which is really what ebooks should be about - just amazing!) and he recommends Yep if you want to keep your folders nested in the Finder. DTPO seems to be more geared for placing documents within the programme...
  14. Lastmboy macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2012
    I'm just starting to learn DEVONthink, so am far from an expert, but from what I've learned so far, it seems to provide the best of both worlds. Yes, it stores your documents in a database for indexed searching. However, you also assign groups or folders to each document, so that you can look them up in the traditional hierarchy, too. This works good for me, as I need my documents organized into folders, as I don't always want to figure out what terms to search for or I just want to know what's all there, but it is still nice to be able to do the searches when needed.
  15. numbersyx macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2006
    Thanks. I will give DTPO a look....
  16. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    Interesting discussion topic ....

    I've been doing a lot of work with document management both at home and at my day job.

    At home, I've been using my ScanSnap with Mariner Paperless 2.0 ( since it was a version 1.0 product, initially sold by another company.

    I always hear good things about DEVONThink, but I recall installing a trial once and finding it was "overkill" for my needs. For starters, I've really never been that "sold" on OCR. I find that inevitably, I've got items to scan in that contain somewhat poor quality text, or a combination of printed text and handwriting, or simply a font that's really small -- and OCR does a terrible job on them.

    So whenever one of these packages touts powerful "search" functionality relying on OCR? I automatically ignore it as largely worthless. (Even our $14,000+ corporate doc management package for Windows can't OCR worth a darn. When you view the OCR'd version of a given document it scanned in and saved, it typically thinks various 0's are 8's and vice-versa, makes a few 4's into 9's, or mistakes a random capital R for a capital A, etc. etc. Winds up making it useless when you want to search for a given invoice, RMA or order number.) There's no substitute for manually entering relevant search terms or keywords as you scan in the documents.

    I will say Mariner Paperless doesn't feel completely "polished". If you expect a program that feels flawless and absolutely rock solid, it's not quite there. But I find it's very usable and reliable, and well worth the fairly inexpensive asking price. The biggest issue I've seen with it is really just a minor glitch. Sometimes, right after I scan in a new document, it shows its preview/thumbnail as a blank sheet of paper. But as soon as I close the program and re-launch it, everything's fine. Another minor quibble I have is the way it tries to auto-fill document names based on previous entries. Their auto-fill is far from intelligent. It seems to constantly offer the first match alphabetically, vs. offering the most often or most recently used similar name.

    (So for example, if you scanned in a document a year ago and titled it "Johnson Corporation utility bill payment"? You might be scanning in a document each week called "Johnson Meyer, Inc. weekly chart of expenses" and EVERY time, it auto-fills the former name when you begin keying in its title, because the C in Corporation comes alphabetically before the M in Meyer.)
  17. onekerato macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2011
    Strongly recommend DTPO

    DevonThink Pro Office is excellent for managing a collection of PDFs.

    * Inbuilt OCR, works very well.

    * Search through PDFs is very fast. I think DTPO extracts the text beforehand from the PDFs it manages, and searches through it which is where the speed comes from. It's all behind the scenes of course.

    * [Awesome Feature] Has the ability to create URL links to a PDF, or a specific page in a PDF, which can be useful if you want to write up a note and want a direct link to an important document (e.g. "Visa statement for March [link] shows higher charge on 6/17 than the car repair bill [link] - to follow up."). Cross-linking between notes is also useful if you're trying to create "see also" links between important documents.

    * DTPO is also an excellent RTF/RTFD documents database. Start a RTF note, create links to specific pages in PDFs, cross-link to other notes, copy-paste an image or file attachment, and DTPO auto-switches the format to RTFD. Seamless.

    * It follows a database-of-documents model, so you can logically organize your documents across different databases. Syncing a database across Macs is currently in testing, expected soon.

    * [Awesome feature] It provides a web interface to the database, share via bonjour on network.

    * [Awesome feature] You can sync your DTPO database(s) with iPad and iPhone client app "DevonThink To Go"

    * If you don't want to store PDFs inside DTPO and would rather store in Finder, you can ask DTPO to index (rather than import) PDFs.

    * DTPO has good support for importing web pages (eg purchase receipts) and PDFs from print dialogs.

    This is an app worth learning.

  18. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    DevonThink is just too expensive. If you're a looking for something for home use I think it's simply not worth it.

    I use EagleFiler (search it on the App Store). It's $39.99 and does everything I want. I used to use Yep, but that app started becoming very buggy and it has basically been abandoned by the developer. EagleFiler has an extremely courteous and helpful dev team, just look at their forums. I'm very happy with it.
  19. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD

    I've never heard of EagleFiler before... I'll check it out!

    I think the previous post listing all the "awesome" features of DevonThink just proved my point about it being "overkill" for many of us.....

    I looked at all of that and thought, "Wow! When would I ever really use those features?" I barely have time to get all my paper documents of relevance rounded up and scanned into electronic versions so I can shred the originals. No way I see myself adding internal links all over them to zip me from, say, a specific credit card charge on an invoice to a scanned copy of the original receipt.

    And ability to access all of my electronic scanned documents over the net from devices like my iPhone? Again, thanks but no thanks. I have a free DropBox account already. I'll just copy specific PDFs of any documents I know I need remote access to and get them off my iPhone that way. Then I don't have to keep my PC on as a server all the time to get to them.

  20. turtle777 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2004
    I never liked the idea of DevonThink setting up a big bloated database with everything in it.

    I propose a different solution:

    Snapscan + Hazel + Tags + HoudahSpot

    Snapscan scans documents and can automatically OCR them
    Next is Hazel, which allows complex processing rules to be set up. You can tag documents based on content (from Snapscan OCR) and move them to preset folder strucutres based on the document content.
    Tags allows for additional tagging of all kinds of things (email, music, files...).
    Houdahspot is Spotlight search on steroids.

    This way, I can have all my documents still saved in folder structures, my scanned bils get automatically sorted into right folders, and I can do full text search with Houdahspot and tag search with Tags as well as HoudahSpot.

  21. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    I agree that having a standard folder structure is important, which is why I like EagleFiler. It saves it's "database" in standard folders in Finder and uses the standard OpenMeta tagging that is compatible with every app on the market (not to mention OSX's own Spotlight).

    Yep does much of the same stuff (and looks a little prettier, to be honest) but as I said before, it sometimes has some weird glitches and is hardly ever updated. The developer seems content to let it languish away as they work on other projects, while EagleFiler's team is smaller and more focussed on making their customers happy.
  22. turtle777 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2004
    Yep1 had a killer feature, that the idiots killed with Yep2.

    It would use the whole folder structure like /Documents/Bills/Amex/2009 and make every single piece of the folder strucutre a virtual tag:

    * Document
    * Bills
    * Amex
    * 2009

    This was freaking awesome. I don't know why they killed it, but this was the #1, #2, #3 and #4 reason I bought Yep in the first place.

  23. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    Wow. I can't believe that either. That would be incredible.
  24. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    DTPO is an expensive solution. My philosophy is to buy the best product out there. I do not need to use every feature... but my experience is that when I get the best, in the long run I am most happy. When I compromise... I often end up switching (and paying) several times... and ultimately end up buying the best anyway.

    One of the features (per the strong DTPO supporter) is having a referenced database. Personally, I let DTPO manage my database... but if you look inside (it is really an OSX Package)... all of your files are neatly stored inside in their exact original format. There is zero risk of not getting to your files directly should you ever want to.

    Personally... I do NOT use everything that DTPO supports. I bought it because it seemed to me to be an industrial class document organization program. I absolutely love it. It does what I need... and I really do not care that it does more than I need.

  25. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    DevonThink was a bit of a learning curve for me, but now I LOVE it. Great features and a very powerful app. Warmly recommend it. There's a booklet called 'Take Control of Getting Started with DevonThink', which is worth the money IMO.

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