The weather has turned, the trees are trying to kill me, and so spring cleaning’s time has come. Stacks of papers: bills, notes, cards, and other assorted pulp based products must be dealt with. So I turn to a new tool, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M scanner.
It’s not as if I don’t have a scanner. I have three.
I have a Nikon CoolScan 5000 for slides and negatives that I picked up after finding a treasure trove of my dad’s. There’s also the scanner built-in to the HP all-in-one printer/fax/scanner but it’s woefully inadequate for big jobs. And there’s an aging Epson flat scanner I use for photographs when I must but it mostly lives in a cabinet. I needed something always there, handy, and ready to go.
So in search of a dedicated, sit-on-a-desk and chew through paper scanner I went. And found. The above mentioned ScanSnap.
The brief review:
This thing rocks. The speed is great. It scans both sides of the page automatically. It handles just about anything including receipts and business cards. And it’s really, really fast. Fujitsu claims 20 ppm and this might not meet the vendor’s promised specs (shock) but it comes damn close.
Paper jams — when they occur — are a quick fix. And this thing is small and even folds up when not in use. And I like scanning into a universal format (PDF).
The hardware is well done. The included software is Adobe Acrobat Pro 8. Not sure why they didn’t include the newer 9.0 for Mac now available but no matter. I scan everything into PDFs. Which means I need a PDF organizer. Otherwise, I’ve turned a jumble of paper into a jumble of PDFs and while digital and less space consuming, it would be not meet my wife’s idea of actually being “organized.” Neater, yes. Organized, no.
For true PDF organization, I’ve settled on Yep. It is, as they say, pretty much like iPhoto for PDFs. Since I have 30,000 photos in iPhoto all tagged — thanks to keyword manager which is a must have — Yep’s interface and organization was a natural fit.
I now have keywords for things like insurance and taxes and health care and all paper that must be kept, referenced, organized, or emailed gets automatically dumped into Yep. I can find all insurance papers or anything else in a flash.
Actually, a scan of a document of any sort will get sucked into Yep and ready for keywords before I’ve even had the time to shred the document. My only real complaint with Yep is that I can’t link to the OCR software and right-click a document for quick round-trip OCR goodness.
I’d love to be able to right-click any PDF in Yep and have the option to “Scan into Searchable PDF.” As it stands now, I have to “reveal in finder” and right click to open with Abby to make a searchable PDF. Not the end of the world but a little thing that would make Yep that much better.
Between the ScanSnap and Yep, my desk is completely paper-free and I’m resolved to keep it that way. Tagging can be slightly tedious but I find it’s a decent method to improve search and organization. Auto-tagging, while worthwhile for basic stuff, only goes so far. I am, however, viewing Hazel with some interest as a way to help keep my digital workplace automatically clutter-free.