Document Management - ScanSnap and Yep - A Great Combination

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by MacAlpha, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. MacAlpha macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    Location:
    Great White North
    #1
    I decided a few years ago that I wanted to go paperless at home and only save the documents that really needed to be saved (passports, house deed, etc...ie. things you would put in a saftey deposit box or tax slips). Back then I was still using a PC and with no amount of trying could I get the system to work. I had two problems (1) I am a lawyer and so I am used to a fairly sophisticated document management system at work (we use Interwoven which integrates seamlessly into Outlook on an Exchange level) and (2) the scanners that I bought were all painfully slow and prone to problems.

    After I converted to Mac, I thought I would try again. I did a bit of research and with some trepidation I decided to blow money on a ScanSnap S510M from Fujitsu. After a few days worth of trying it out, I have concluded that it works beautify. It scans all documents that I have thrown at it perfectly (in colour and black & white), including multiple page bills that come folded, in an envelope. An added bonus is that it does single pass duplex scanning (and detects automatically if it is necessary). All of the scans are clear and crisp and it has true one button operation--connect the scanner to the USB port, load document, press scan button and you instantly have a perfect PDF.

    Now that I had the PDFs I tried to figure out how to manage them. I looked around and found a bunch of programs that have a huge amount of flexibility (because of work that is what I gravitated to first) but a complicated workflow. I then stumbled across Yep.

    Yep is a great little program and is really quite flexible (and cheap). First of,f let me start by saying what it isn't. It is not a program that lets you store all sorts of document types in all sorts of different ways. All it keeps track of is PDFs. For me, that is all I wanted. I originally wanted to be able to sort everything into folders, but after playing with Yep for a while, I realized that is not really who the program is designed (although you can do this). For my purposes, I created a list of tags that I wanted to use to keep track of my documents (e.g., bank statement, phone bill, deductible receipt, etc...) and scanned and tagged the documents appropriately. What Yep does is create a cloud of documents that is searchable through the tags (it also auto tags each document with the Year and Month it was scanned). While this was not intuitive to me (that is now how my workflow works at work), it turns out to be quite powerful and extremely simple. For me simple and quick were important so that I would actually keep the process up.

    The combination is great. The ScanSnap can be set to scan all documents directly into the Yep Pending Documents folder. I then open that folder up periodically and tag everything and then throw them into the Yep Documents folder, with a quick select all and drag and drop (Yep then organizes them into year and month by date of scan for the purposes of drive folders). I can scan about a hundred one or two page documents in about 20 minutes and then tag them all on about 10 minutes. This makes for very efficient record keeping.

    A bonus is that Yep works reasonably well with external drives--not perfect but reasonably well. If you creat a directory on an external drive for older documents and then populate that folder with similar folder (sub folder year and then sub sub folder months), after you point Yep to that folder on the external drive, you can just then copy over the docs to the external and then delete the versions on the hard drive using Yep). I wish this was a bit more automated but it really isn't that painful. It also allows me to keep only the last year's documents on my MBP's hard drive to save space.

    The real plus is that Yep recognizes and perfectly integrates the documents on the external and then they just vanish the external is not plugged in. This process, frankly, works better than iTunes when using external because there are no broken links--the documents are there when the extrernal is plugged in an not when it isn't.

    I just wanted to let people know what worked for me, as I am quite happy with the set up and I have always assumed that most people have a paperless goal like me, but again, like me, most people have not been successful in creating a setup that has an easy to use workflow.

    Two other things to note about the combo: (1) both the ScanSnap and Yep allow for OCR scanning. So far, given the documents that I have been scanning, I have not taken advantage of these features due to space considerations. And (2), ScanSnap comes with a true complete copy of Adobe Acrobat Version 8. As I was planning on buying Acrobat Pro Version 9 anyway, this really made purchasing the ScanSnap cheap because it saved me US$300 on the cost of Pro 9.

    I am not affiliated with either product, just a happy customer.:)
     
  2. astaab macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    #2
    Doc Management

    MacAlpha, thank you for taking the time to give your experience. This is helpful to me since I have a lot of paper in my home office and it's really piling up. I live in a small condo and just don't have physical room for file cabinets.

    Were you aware of the soon-to-be-released S1500M? I think Fujitsu says it will be released in Spring 2009, whenever that is. IT claims to be faster with redesigned UI for Leopard. I'm wondering if you knew about this and decided to purchase the S510M anyhow.

    The S510M seems like a decent price on Amazon (~$366). I really can't imagine getting $140 more value out of the S1500M if it retails for $495.

    You thoughts?

    Thanks again for posting...
    Andy
     
  3. kiranmk2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #3
    I can vouch for the Scansnap - I bought one for our office and the speed it scans with is awesome. It's a bit annoying how there is a separate hardware version for macs and PCs but never mind.

    I've shredded about 8 years worth of bills and saved so much room. Will look up some info on YEP.
     
  4. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #4
    I bought the ScanSnap S300M, which is the "portable" version of the larger S510. It is slower, doesn't come with Acrobat and is $250. Works great, too
     
  5. MacAlpha thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    Location:
    Great White North
    #5
    I did know about the new version and as a techno geek, I always like to have new things but I needed on sooner rather than later and this was the best one on the market. After using the current version, I am not sure what the new one would do better than the current one for what I use it for. You will likely get a newer version of Acrobat if that matters.

    I scan everything on "better". There are two higher quality setting on this version that I rarely use (best and excellent). I guess it could be faster, but honestly I am not sure it would make much of a difference.

    As far as integration goes, the combo works perfectly. It really is one button operation. I put a document in, press scan and the document comes up in Yep for tagging.

    That being said, if you can wait, you may want to see if the price drops on the current version when the new version comes out.

    The only thing I can think of is maybe the new version is more durable. I have had no problems at all with my current one, but I am using it a lot. I guess I will wait a year and report back (if I remember) as to how it turned out. However, people do have to remember all items like this (scanners, printers, etc...) have duty cycles and have moving parts that need to be replaced if you want the thing to keep working as good as day one. So, it won't surprise me if parts need to be replaced in a year. If Fujitsu acts the way that most printer companies work, it will come pretty close to the price of buying a new one to replace the consumables--I had a cannon colour MFP that cost about $800 new, when I looked at replacing the five ink cartridges, it would have come to about $700. Who knows, maybe I will be pleasantly surprised.

    As one of my colleages joked with my new system I will probably be the only person who will be able to produce all my receipts if I ever get audited. Not only will I have all the reciepts, I will have them on me pretty much where ever I go.
     
  6. The Monkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    #6
    Thanks for an excellent review. Is the functionality of the Scansnap much better for document management purposes than an all-in-one printer with an automatic document feeder?

    I'm trying to understand why these things are so pricey.
     
  7. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #7
    Dual scanners (both sides of the paper) , overall robustness, designed to be used for digitizing large quantities and will probably be quicker than most AIW's i've used. Includes acrobat in some cases which alone is $450. By comparison, the neatrecipts scanner (the only one i've seen so far) comes in at about 200 dollars and can only do one paper at a time (i believe), single scan and doesn't include acrobat.

    Op, this might be because I'm a mobile user but my document management scheme includes encryption for sensitive documents including all bills, bank statements, anything with my social security number etc etc. I have a dedicated device (specifically a 8 gig expresscard ssd which is basically a thumb drive) which is entirely encrypted. To most it will look like an unformatted device that is blank, but using truecrypt, I require two passwords to mount the partition that has my data on it. It only takes about 20 seconds to mount and since I do my scans in batches anyway its not that big of a deal. That way if my machine is lost or stolen or whatever, all of my data isn't out in the wild.
     
  8. The Monkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    #8
    Has anyone had the chance to compare the ScanSnap S300M to the bigger brother (510 or 1500)? I'm trying to decide between the 2.
     
  9. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #9
    From everything I've read the 1500 is a worthy upgrade from the 510, the price difference is about $70 so I'm going with the faster 1500 as I prefer to scan at 600dpi, 510 does 600dpi but slower.
     
  10. Tullio macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    #10
    I think you can Scan directly into iPhoto with the 1500 (I use Aperture for my pics so why not use iPhoto for my scans ?). Does Yep or Leap offer a much better alternative?
     
  11. macgrl macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #11
    That is something that I have been looking at doing. The only concern I have is to do with people that want to see the originals of a receipt or document.

    How does one know if a document that you scan will be acceptable to others that may want the original?

    I am thinking mainly of receipts.
     
  12. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #12
    Receipts are the worst. What I do is keep them for anything over a certian dollar amount and place it with the boxes of the product (that i also keep for resale) after I scan them. That way I have a backup for them and my records which can be brought up quickly. After the warranty period or store return period you could opt to throw the receipt away. I don't know how this would fare for something like court. Perhaps Adobe can put a security clause into the PDF specs that can verify integrity from a document scanner and the file.
     
  13. Tullio macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    #13
    How to extract individual pages from a PDF Document?
    Can I do that with ScanSnap Manager before the scan?
    Can I do that with Yep or do I need Acrobat?
     
  14. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #14
    Just another vote of confidence for the ScanSnap, I have an s510m I use with DevonThink Pro Office (requires that version) and it is great. DevonThink Pro Office takes the ScanSnap output and makes searchable PDF's I can tag and file and organize. It works fantastic.
     
  15. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #15
    Simple, use PDFLab.
     
  16. MacAlpha thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    Location:
    Great White North
    #16
    The Acrobat Pro software that comes with the ScanSnap will let you do it.
     
  17. macgrl macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #17
    Thanks for that Eddyisgreat:)
     
  18. jbrettz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Location:
    St Louis
    #18
    MacAlpha,
    Thanks for your review and how you use it. The last couple of days I have been researching the Scansnap 1500M and ready to pull the trigger based on your view of Scansnap. I also ran across the Yep app from another referral, but they did not go into the detail of how they used it like you did. thanks.
    I was wondering if I needed the Yep app based on having Acrobat 8.

    Do you ever use any of the features of Acrobat ? If you do how do you use them instead of Yep. I'm trying to get an idea on when you use any of the included software with scansnap vs only using Yep.

    I appreciate the additional insights on how you use it.

    Thanks
    Brett
     
  19. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #19
    I know you wanted a response from MacAlpha but I i'll chime in also.

    Acrobat and Yep aren't really interchangable. Yep is a document management tool, Acrobat is a document editing suite. You can get by with either, but neither will fulfill the others purpose. Having Acrobat in addition to the scansnap, you will be able to do the features that would come in handy with this type of work (ORC, document editing, advanced security features, batch PDF work, form etc) , but Acrobat (AFAIK) doesn't have any inherent document management feature. That is, Acrobat doesn't contain its own document browser or methodology for storing files.

    This is why programs like Yep, Devonthink, and Paperless are so popular. These programs simply incorporate their own ways of managing and indexing pdf files (generally). MacAlpha's explination of yep is pretty much all their is. Devonthink is a bit more powerful and highly regarded for workgroup usage (having higher end features). I havn't had a chance to use Paperless at all, since I Just heard about it today (available in the bundle on the front page).

    Regardless, you'll have to look at your own usage patterns. If you are going for the high end paperless office than you'll make good use one of the above mentioned programs . Acrobat is more or less reserved for power users looking to manipulate the resulting PDFs to a high degree. It would be (IMO) too complex for home users who don't need to utilize the PDFs core functionalities, which is why it isn't included in the s300m.

    An example of how you would use the different scenarios is as follows. Say I have a receipt that doesn't need much editing at all. I'll power up the scansnap and scan it directly into Yep. Yep will allow me to tag it as I see fit and be pretty much done with it. Next time I need to see the receipt, I'll fire up Yep and type in "convenience store may" to see whether or not I really was overcharged by the inattentive cashier.

    In the same week, I receive a detailed set of instructions from a coworker written on 3 peices of standard copy paper. I need to relay this information to my supervisor to verify some specs, but unfortunately he is enjoying himself at Apple's WWDC and out of the office. No problem. I fire up the Scansnap, but this time I send the resulting file to Acrobat. Once I get into acrobat, I'm able to look at the original three page document. I then highlight the sections that I need verfication on, including a comment on one paragraph saying "WTF THIS CAN'T BE DONE!". I secure the form with a password so that its protected from unauthorized reading and editing, and my supervisor gets back to me with a few additional comments and electronically signs the form.

    Hopefully you can see how the scenarios different and whatnot.
     
  20. jbrettz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Location:
    St Louis
    #20
    Thanks Eddyisgreat.
    Some good examples, that help's me understand better on how to use the scansnap. I have never used a scanner before so I'm just discovering all of the multiple uses and paper savings it can do. To me, having a record/copy and most important knowing where you can find it is the main reason I'm looking forward to it. We moved recently, and I had probably 12-14 file boxes and I had to go back and find a couple of receipts and copies that took me hours to find.

    I appreciate you sharing your experience with it.

    Brett
     
  21. Thehydraulicman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    #21
    Scan Snap

    I want to thank all you guys for helping me select a great scanner.

    I have just purchased Scan Snap 1500 and it is awsome.
    Not managed to get to grips with all the functions but I like what I have managed to do so far.
    I am also trying to create a paperless office and just need to store lots of paper stuff. I would like to put this onto an external drive to prevent clogging up my hard drive. I see no easy way of doing it so I will take your advice and buy the yep software.
    The Scan snap came with acrobat 9 but I found that I could not get scanner to scan using this program. Does not see that I have scanner connected. maybe you could advise me on this?

    thanks again
    :):):)
     
  22. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #22
    The ScanSnap doesn't come with a TWAIN driver. After I scan I then open in Acrobat.
     
  23. jbrettz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Location:
    St Louis
    #23
    I recently purchased the scansnap 1500 too. I also just purchased from Mariner software their Paperless program. I read great reviews on it and it works seamlessly with the scansnap. I'm a newbe too on all of the different ways to use the scansnap.
    http://www.marinersoftware.com/sitepage.php?page=152

    Keep posting on how you use in your daily life. I'm always looking for new ideas on how to use it.

    Brett
     
  24. tdmac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #24
    I pulled the trigger and got my scansnap S1500M.

    Man does this blow away my HP officejet in terms of speed. Now I can scan all of the crap I have piled up since the process took so long before. I am also going to download YEP.

    I have a silly question in regard to workflow. I assume that each bill or statement get scanned in its own file correct? Basically not throw 20 different bills into the scanner at once and then separate them into there own PDF's after scanning. Just asking since I have a ton of stuff that I need to scan and not sure if the workflow is the same as what I have done in the past.
     

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