Dedicated document scanner turns piles of paper into a paperless office.
April 29, 2008
David Schloss, Technology Editor

My office is a cluttered mess. (And if you're a photographer surfing information on great gear, yours probably is too.) Part of the problem is that while I'd love to live in a paperless office, I seem to be stuck under a big ol' pile of papers. Contracts, receipts, invoices, bills. Every so often I gather up some good music, sit around, and I try to file them all.

Wouldn't it be great if I could just get rid of all of this paper? Recycle it, burn it or make it into airplanes and sail it out of my office?

Thanks to the Fujitsu ScanSnap, I can. The small, (yet not inexpensive, at $500) dedicated scanner sits innocuously on a desk, waiting to be fed sheets of paper and turn them into PDF documents. Sure my existing all-in-one-printer (which is another one of my loves, the new HP2727 MFP) can also scan, but it's not dedicated to the job of just scanning, so it doesn't so some of the things that this scanner can do.

First of all, it's a color-duplex scanner, capable of rendering 18 pages per minute, fully duplex, in color. It will perform document straightening, auto-recognition of page sizes, auto-creation of PDF documents and more.

Here's the workflow—put a bunch of sheets in. Press a button, let the SnapScan suck them in, convert them to PDFs (even perform optical character recognition and covert the docs to text on the way) and then I shred or recycle the paper. That's it.

It's really fun to drop a handful of odd sized sheets (think receipts from a business trip).

The software lets me name and save the files to individual locations, so it's a snap to create an automated filing system for receipts, invoices and more. And on the Mac, the OCR software works with Spotlight for the Mac, it's possible to search for text inside the 
documents I scan.

More information, including videos and links to buy the device are available here.

The latest addition to the PDN family, the PDN Gear Guide in print, has a total circulation of 30,000, and covers the latest and greatest in photographic equipment. Initially created in 2006 to be the official guide to PDN's annual flagship photography event, PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo, the PDN Gear Guide is now also available online for gear news and updates 365 days a year.
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