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Vox Pop: Workflow for the Fujitsu ScanSnap?

In comments about yesterday's "Making friends with paper" post, I was reminded by 43f member Adam Hooks...

A couple months ago, on a MBW episode, Merlin, you recommended some scanner/pdf solutions and you said you would elaborate on that on 43f at some point. I thought this was related to reducing your reliance on paper. How did your scanning experiment go?

Adam remembers correctly that I purchased and preliminarily fiddled with the Fujitsu ScanSnap S500M for OS X (Info, Amazon). It's a small-footprint, high-speed document scanner that a lot of people have been talking about lately. I'd read so many reviews and blog posts about how easy it is to use that I was intoxicated by the dream of a life -- if not without paper storage -- where I could at least try to minimize my unnecessary paper clutter and start making document archiving easier and more searchable.

Given the not inconsiderable cost of the unit, I'm embarrassed to say that I got busy with other stuff and haven't yet returned to using the ScanSnap in any automated way.

Doesn't mean I'm not interested or haven't gotten started...

cover of 'ScanSnap S500M' by Fujitsu

ScanSnap S500M
by Fujitsu

My initial experiences, while tentative in terms of time commitment and true workflow integration, have been very positive so far. It's easy and fast to set up the S500M and then start scanning one- or two-sided documents. The beauty part is that the included "ScanSnap Manager" app not only stores your document preferences, but directs the USB input from the ScanSnap right into the destination app of your choosing (which can, of course, be an OCR app -- that's where it gets powerful).

Initial experiments scanning directly to image-only PDFs were very positive, while scanning into "Yep" and "DevonThink Pro Office" (which has on-board OCR) seems to point even closer to the direction I eventually hope to go.

I know at least a few of you are ScanSnap studs who have come up with workflows that are really happening for you (hint: looking at you for a blog post here, Mr. Norbauer). In the absence of a more detailed report from me, I'm hoping a few of you can chime in here.

The Question to You

How are you integrating the ScanSnap (or another OS X-friendly document scanner) into your workflow? What are you using for OCR? Having particular success with ReadIris, Acrobat, DevonThink, or Yep? Any sexy Automator workflows to share?

seanhussey's picture

Clearing up a few things

I've been trying to jump on the ScnaSnap bandwagon for a while, but there are a few things I don't quite get and don't see obivous answers to:

  • Should I get the S500M or the S510M? The 510 is newer and cheaper (on Amazon) and seems to have more benefits (naturally), but Fujitsu's site is short on details for the Mac-specific version of the 510.

  • What's doing the OCR? The ScanSnap software? DevonThink Pro Office? I already have Yep, but would consider DTPO or Yojimbo if the advantages were worth the pricetag. Maybe some time with the demo after I get the scanner would help with that.

I really want to get on board with this, I just don't want to have that "oops" moment where I realize I either got the wrong model or have to spend another $150 to get what I want out of this.





An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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