Thursday, December 4, 2008

The ScanSnap by Fujitsu

Part of getting really organized, both at home and at the office, is eliminating clutter and being able to find anything you need very quickly. That can be harder than it sounds, but I have found a product that makes it really (really) easy.

Meet the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510.

This little beauty has a small footprint, but works like a champ! It's as simple as putting your document (or business card, or receipt) into the feeder and pushing the green button. Since the scanner scans both sides of each page in a single pass, it is remarkably fast, a matter of a few seconds for a single page.

I was also impressed with the ScanSnap Organizer software. It makes keeping all of your scanned documents organized, well ... a snap. The idea behind the software is rather simple. It consists of a set of filing cabinets (you create and name them), and folders which go in the cabinets. You can also create folders within folders. Once you scan a document, it's just drag and drop the thumbnail image into the correct folder.

I was much less impressed with something called Rack2Filer, a trial version came with the scanner. Unfortunately, whoever created this software didn't give much thought into how people actually organize documents.

Rack2Filer is based on a library, with shelves and notebooks on those shelves. Sadly, the user is limited to the number of libraries they can create, and the number of notebooks that can be on the shelves. Where they don't place as much of a limit is on the number of pages that can go into a notebook. However, with even 200 pages in a notebook, turning the page (a cute animation, but not really useful), slows even a beefy computer to a crawl.

Further, the number of libraries and notebooks on the shelves do not relate to any sensible system. As I recall (it has been a few weeks since I uninstalled the program and tossed the CD), the user is allowed 7 notebooks per shelf, and three shelves in a library. So, 21 notebooks ... try breaking your client files into 21 notebooks, or .... 63 notebooks if you use all three libraries. You say you have hundreds of clients? Yes, me too.

If there had been six notebooks on six shelves, at least that could be broken up into A-Z and 0-9, although the idea of mixing all of my "A" clients into one notebook doesn't fly in my comfort zone. Add that to the time that Rack2Filer takes to turn each document into searchable text, and the time it take to turn the page as the pages increase in number. It was a nightmare.

On the other hand, the ScanSnap Organizer software was an absolute joy to use. I'm honestly not even sure why they would have included the Rack2Filer software at all. Adobe Acrobat version 8.0 was also included.

The ScanSnap S510 is selling retail for about $389. I love this baby. It may be the best money I have ever spent. I am finally able to see my desktop, and that's really saying something.

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