Document Management/Scanning in 2019?

raptor78

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Original poster
Aug 7, 2011
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Curious what others are using or recommending for document management and scanning solutions on the Mac in 2019? Seems several of the older platforms - iDocument for example - are either no longer supported or just not out there anymore...

Anyone found a decent cost effective solution for home/office scanning and organization?

-raptor78
 

mkelly

macrumors regular
Nov 29, 2007
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Anyone found a decent cost effective solution for home/office scanning and organization?
IMO, the gold standard for home/small-office document management on the Mac is still DevonTHINK Pro + a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner (like the ScanSnap ix500). Neither are particularly cheap, but you can find both on sale from time to time. You can substitute a different scanner if you like, but Devonthink is worth the money.

DevonTHINK Pro is amazing when it comes to indexing, searching and automatically classifying the documents that you feed it. If you spring for the "Pro Office" version, it includes a very nice OCR backend - but some scanners also include that too (like the ScanSnap drivers), so you might not need it.

One thing I've really come to appreciate about getting everything scanned & OCRed into DevonTHINK, is that it makes tax-time so much easier. I can type "VISA budget car 2018" into the search bar in DevonTHINK, and it'll return all my 2018 VISA bills containing car rentals from Budget rent-a-car.

Oh, another nice think about the ScanSnap ix500 - it supports Fujitsu's direct scan-to-cloud feature. That means you can set it up to join your WiFi network and automatically scan documents to a Dropbox, Office 365, Box, or other cloud storage system - and then those files are automatically synced to your Mac. I used to be really bad at scanning documents on a regular basis b/c I'd have to power up the computer, log in, start DevonThink, etc... but now I just leave the scanner near a physical inbox - when paper comes in, I scan it immediately - and organize it on my Mac later. That way I don't miss anything.
 
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NoBoMac

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Jul 1, 2014
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I used to use my Brother 3-in-1 laser printer, and that works OK.

Of late, since I get almost zero paper documents that need to be scanned/kept (all my bills are e-bills these days), I have switched to using the iPhone's Notes app, as don't need to fire up the computer and or can do scans in the moment. Easy to crop the scan as needed, generate a PDF from that, save to Dropbox. When back on the Mac, can then do things like add meta data to the PDF via Preview for search purposes. Things like receipts, I "print" the PDF to PDF with a layout of 4 pages per sheet, in the odd case that someday I will print to paper and don't want to waste paper.

The Dropbox app also has a built-in scanner. That's a really nice one in that you can adjust the scan quality, to shrink the size of the PDFs, however, it's quirky in that it might generate a scan that's landscape vs portrait. And when combined with other scans and my 4-per method, get odd PDFs where one panel is portrait, next two panels are landscape.

There are many OCR scanners for iPhone/iPad, have not tried them as OCR has not been a big need for me.

Then again, my needs are pretty simple. And once my taxes are filed, I encrypt and archive that year's data and take off the computer. Not going back to look at anything unless I get a love note from the IRS. About the only thing I keep on the Mac is my collection of recipes, where Spotlight search will find in the PDF text (I make a table of contents for each "cookbook" I have).
 
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robgendreau

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Jul 13, 2008
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I agree about Devonthink. The Pro Office version with OCR and the Fujitsu scanner is used by a lotta law offices.

I don't do heavy document stuff anymore, and as often as not use any one of several iOS apps to "scan" documents now, but I still use Devonthink to organize everything. Scanner Pro from Readdle can send scans to Devonthink to Go, which then synchs that with my desktop versions.

DT has been around forever, and I'd guess some of the paper organizer type programs are disappearing since they aren't as necessary as in the past. But DT is great for organizing all sorts of other stuff besides just scans, so super handy for any Mac user.
 

Sital

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May 31, 2012
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I also agree with the DevonTHINK + ScanSnap route. I've been using it for several years now and the only minor issue is that sometimes when a new macOS version is released in the fall, it takes a little while for Fujitsu to release a compatibility update to the scanning software. I also sped up my scanning by no longer OCRing my documents since, for my needs, it's sufficient just to have a digital copy.
 

raptor78

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 7, 2011
4
0
Appreciate the inputs - Originally (4-5 years back) I had avoided DT as being too complex - but the recommendations here lead me to think I should give it a new evaluation... Appreciate the inputs!
 

harriska2

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Mar 16, 2011
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I’d never heard of DevonTHINK. It cost $150 compared to ABBYY for $108 (on sale now). I sort of really like ABBYY as I’ve been using it on my PC for 15 years with a huge canon scanner hooked to it.
 

Robejazz

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Jun 14, 2013
52
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I really like and use Devonthink too. I am a teacher and keep my course materials tagged and organized with DTPO. Question for you all.... Do you Index or Import?

I keep my stuff in dropbox for access anywhere, so I import to DevonThink. Am I missing out on any features by not importing?

Thanks
 

jerwin

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Jun 13, 2015
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Does anybody have a scansnap sv600?


I have a number of antique magazines (A3 sized pages, though it may be closer to "Cloche", as the magazines are French.)

How does it work with the mac?
 
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infantrytrophy

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Oct 27, 2013
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Does anybody have a scansnap sv600?

How does it work with the mac?
I have no experience with this particular scanner, but I have years of experience with another Fujitsu scanner, the S1500M, a fast sheet-feed scanner. Research carefully before buying a Fujitsu scanner to use on a Mac.

Fujitsu's hardware is great. The software, not so much when used on a Mac.

Fujistu scanners are not perfectly suited for Mac users for three reasons: 1. MacOS updates “break” Fujitsu software, and Fujitsu is slow to respond with software updates. 2. The newly-released Fujitsu ScanSnap Home software contains substantial use restrictions that are not typical for this type of device. 3. Fujitsu has a history of "obsoleting" older (but not that old) scanners by dropping software support for no apparent reason. My S1500M scanner, for example has no software updates available. I have kept it working by downloading and installing software for other scanners in the Fujitsu line. Researching how to do this was a hassle and took a lot of time.

Fujitsu's new software restrictions are onerous, in my opinion. I could be wrong on certain details, but my understanding is that the software license for newly-purchased scanners is limited to one user and five computers. You must register or “activate” a license, and you will eventually run out of licenses if you install the software on other computers, move the software to another disk drive on the same computer, or upgrade the OS software (“clean install”) multiple times on your same computer. In other words, you are not free to use your expensive scanner freely - you must abide by Fujitsu’s unreasonable (in my opinion) software restrictions that could limit the use of your scanner over the years.

Fujitsu users in another forum (Mac Power Users, associated with the excellent Podcast of the same name) have described difficulties encountered with the license hassle - for example running out of licenses due to installation of new versions of macOS on the same computer. You might try searching "Fujitsu" on that forum to see the many posts discussing Fujitsu scanners and software.
Link to the MPU forum: https://talk.macpowerusers.com.
Link to the MPU podcast: https://www.relay.fm/mpu

I have considered purchasing the SV600 scanner in the past. Its unique design seems to offer a great solution to scanning bound documents. Given my (and others') experience with Fujitsu software for macOS over the years and given the new software policies, I have dropped that scanner from consideration.
 

jerwin

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Jun 13, 2015
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I have considered purchasing the SV600 scanner in the past. Its unique design seems to offer a great solution to scanning bound documents. Given my (and others') experience with Fujitsu software for macOS over the years and given the new software policies, I have dropped that scanner from consideration.
That's a shame. I did order it though, and will update when it arrives. I may have to use it with bootcamp, though.
I specifically purchased it to scan bound copies of A3 sized magazines.
 

infantrytrophy

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Oct 27, 2013
230
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... That's a shame. I did order it though, and will update when it arrives. I may have to use it with bootcamp, though.
I specifically purchased it to scan bound copies of A3 sized magazines.
Yes, if you are set up to use Bootcamp that sounds like a good solution to the macOS updates issue.

Just to clarify, the new 64-bit software ScanSnap Home appears to work fine on the current version of macOS. The concern is for future versions of macOS, since the Fujitsu software uses portions of macOS to work and Fujitsu may or may not be nimble enough to provide timely updates for changes in macOS.

Please keep us informed in this forum how the scanner and the software work for you. I would like to know about the software "registration" and licensing restrictions. Are you free to use the scanner on any computer(s) you want?
 

jerwin

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Jun 13, 2015
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Please keep us informed in this forum how the scanner and the software work for you. I would like to know about the software "registration" and licensing restrictions. Are you free to use the scanner on any computer(s) you want?
That's what worries me. I bought a used ("new in box") scanner at a ... substantial ... discount. It hasn't arrived yet.
 

infantrytrophy

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Oct 27, 2013
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I bought a used ("new in box") scanner at a ... substantial ... discount
@jerwin - I hope it works well for you.

In case you decide to use it initially under macOS, some information provided below may be helpful. Keep in mind all of this relates to ScanSnap Manager, the older (before Dec 2018) 32-bit software for sheet-fed Fujitsu scanners. "ScanSnap Home" is the new software, 64-bit to accommodate future versions of macOS.

When you get your new scanner, pay attention to the version of software provided, either on a disk or downloaded. If you initially have the older ScanSnap Manager, you may need - or have occasion to - "upgrade" to ScanSnap Home. It is my understanding that ScanSnap Home that accompanies a new scanner has a registration requirement and certain licensing restrictions mentioned above. I've been told that older software upgraded to the new software for previously-purchased scanners has more restrictive licensing, apparently limited to your one existing computer. The difference will be meaningful, if your situation applies. You might want to call Fujitsu support for a full explanation to confirm (or not) any of this and possibly to obtain the less-restrictive "newly-purchased scanner" software, if applicable.

Below is a link to a discussion of this in the MPU forum. Post #24 contains a direct link to a version of the older ScanSnap Manager software that works under the current version of macOS Mojave for several models of Fujitsu scanners. Again, I emphasize that this applies to several versions of Fujitsu sheet-fed scanners; it may or may not work for the SV600.
Link: https://talk.macpowerusers.com/t/scansnap-s1500m-will-be-doa-on-mojave/7676/24
There are other discussion threads in that forum as well; search around for more.

Hope this helps, and best of luck.
 
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jerwin

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I downloaded the software, plugged in the scanner, and I can scan documents into Scansnap Home.

None of this registration, or "create an account" nonsense. It just works.
 

mrnorwegian

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Apr 8, 2015
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If you don't have a lot of documents to scan each day I would take a look at Evernote and the Scannable app. Scannable is their scanning app that creates quite good scans with the phone camera (optimizes text and autocrops etc). It then creates a PDF and sends it to you Evernote account. If you have Evernote premium it will do OCR so you can search for it (in Evernote).

Another great option in this area is the Scanbot app. With an in-app purchase you get OCR and it will upload the documents to for example Evernote, iCloud Drive or Google Drive. If you upload to iCloud Drive you could find your documents with the spotlight search on your Mac.
 
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infantrytrophy

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Oct 27, 2013
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...Another great option in this area is the Scanbot app. With an in-app purchase you get OCR and it will upload the documents to for example Evernote, iCloud Drive or Google Drive. If you upload to iCloud Drive you could find your documents with the spotlight search on your Mac.
Agree, Scanbot app works very well. Automatically uploads to Dropbox as well as other sync services mentioned.
 

jerwin

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I'm not sure about the Nuance product, but the Abbyy Finereader for ScanSnap is really quite rudimentary compared to the Abbyy Finereader Pro for Mac version. The interface for the pro version allows the user to define regions as text regions, or table regions, or picture regions. Finereader for Scansnap accepts a pdf (created by the scansnap program only), and spits out a doc, or an xls, or an annotated pdf. That's all it does. (and if any of the illustrations in your material look like gridded diagrams, the ocr is likely to be quite painful.)

Had a chance to try out the older scansnap software using my bootcamp partition too. It looks a lot more flexible. I particularly like the ability to save half processed material. Pity that ScanSnap Home has removed or obfuscated the feature.

One thing that's irritating is that my books are large books. Each page is 11" x 17". So instead of scanning double page spreads, and being able to digitally flatten it into two images, I scan each page individually. And the post processing software seems unable to flatten out the gutter regions.

I should be receiving the scanning mat soon--perhaps that will improve the post processing.. Hope that it's worth 40 bucks...
 
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harriska2

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Mar 16, 2011
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I'm not sure about the Nuance product, but the Abbyy Finereader for ScanSnap is really quite rudimentary compared to the Abbyy Finereader Pro for Mac version. The interface for the pro version allows the user to define regions as text regions, or table regions, or picture regions. Finereader for Scansnap accepts a pdf (created by the scansnap program only), and spits out a doc, or an xls, or an annotated pdf. That's all it does. (and if any of the illustrations in your material look like gridded diagrams, the ocr is likely to be quite painful.

Had a chance to try out the older scansnap software using my bootcamp partition too. It looks a lot more flexible. I particularly like the ability to save half processed material. Pity that ScanSnap Home has removed or obfuscated the feature/

One thing that's irritating is that my books are large books. Each page is 11" x 17". So instead of scanning double page spreads, and being able to digitally flatten it into two images, I scan each page individually. And the post processing software seems unable to flatten out the gutter regions.

I should be receiving the scanning mat soon--perhaps that will improve the post processing.. Hope that it's worth 40 bucks...
Yep, that's why I'm sticking with my Windows 7 machine, Canon DR9080, and ABBYY. I don't usually mess with taking digital pics and converting but simply cutting the book and feeding it through.
 

jerwin

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harriska2

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I don’t understand your point. Is it that some people (mostly mortgage companies) bought the scanner for $10,000 about 10 years ago (they quit making them about 7 years ago) and today it is worth 1/10th of that? Have you seen depreciation on cars, computers, and printers? If you have a PC, need a good scanner, and can buy it local to test it I would highly recommend this scanner for only $1200. It works on Windows 10!

The new version is only $5000 but it isn’t as wide as the 9080. I needed full 12” wide scanning for large sized pages so that wasn’t an option. This thing is a beast. It can scan with speed and accuracy. It has 2 types of multi page feed detection, 2 types of auto page straighten, and even staple detection. This thing has saved me much more than $3000 in 7 years in time alone.
 
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