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Author Topic: Paperless Home: Need document management software  (Read 40063 times)
jeromg
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« on: January 13, 2007, 09:29:26 AM »

Hi dc'ers,

I'd like to try implement something close to a paperless office, what I'd like to do is:
1. Scan all paper documents received at home (bank statements, letters,...)
2. Use OCR if applicable (maybe, I'm not sure whether it's a good thing to do at the moment)
3. Store the scanned document in the right format (multi-page TIFF, multi-page PDF, other?)
4. Use a clever document storage (filesystem with nice/clean directory structure, dedicated database/revision management system,...)

Interesting user story: http://www.onlamp.com/pub..._document_management.html

Possible software I've seen so far:
PDFFactory : http://www.fineprint.com/...cts/pdffactory/index.html ($49.95 or $99.95 for the pro version)
ABBY Fineprint Reader Pro: http://www.abbyy.com/finereader8/?param=44890 (~$160)
Perforce (see article by Jason Hunter referenced above) : http://www.perforce.com/ (free version available, limited to 2 clients)

Any comments on this? Has anyone set up a similar system?

Thanks in advance.

Cheers  /jerome
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edbro
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2007, 10:10:26 AM »

There are plenty of good options out there. For a single solution, Paperport should do it all.

Personally, I use a simple scanner and a comprehensive folder structure. I bought Fineprint and pdfactory just recently as they are discounted for DonationCoder members. Another great program is Scan2PDF (Freeware). That will allow you to scan in documents, including combining pages.  I like to save magazine articles this way instead of keeping stacks of magzines laying around. Easier to find that way too.

Mostly, nowadays I can get most of my paperwork digitally off the web. All my financial paperwork comes digital now. I feel it is safer that way as I'm less of a threat for identity theft.

Along the same lines, the Scrapbook extension for Firefox is great. I save and categorize articles from the web using Scrapbook. An alternative is to print web articles to PDF using pdfactory.

Because I usually save in PDF format, I have rarely needed an OCR capability.
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NigelH
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2007, 10:15:03 AM »

The current version of Paperport is 11 and is really powerfull, but it is expensive (+$150)
http://www.nuance.com/paperport/


You can find older versions (such as V9) online for much less.
http://www.ibuildcomputer...num=SFT-PPDL9&p_vlt=L
Review
http://www.pcworld.com/ar...09694-page,1/article.html
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brotherS
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2007, 10:17:51 AM »

I'd like to try implement something close to a paperless office, what I'd like to do is:
1. Scan all paper documents received at home (bank statements, letters,...)
2. Use OCR if applicable (maybe, I'm not sure whether it's a good thing to do at the moment)
3. Store the scanned document in the right format (multi-page TIFF, multi-page PDF, other?)
4. Use a clever document storage (filesystem with nice/clean directory structure, dedicated database/revision management system,...)
I'm using something in that direction:
1. scan to PDF with my CanoScan scanner (automatically OCRs it, so I can search within the created documents)
2. give good names to the documents, like "invoice XYZ Inc. Samsung HD 2005-12-12.pdf"
3. put them into distinct folders
4. use Locate to find a document later very, very quickly: http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=1385.0


Looks good, will read it later!
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brett
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2007, 02:08:36 PM »

We use a program called 'Paper Valet' at work
http://www.chocksettsoftware.com/products.asp

It performs beautifully, with some 4600 pieces of paper scanned in over the last 12 months.
Its quick and easy, and straight to a folder structure.
Includes a PDF viewer, and search.

but it appears to of been abandoned now Sad

There is a free and Pro version still on the website, but the author has not been heard from for nearly 12 months.
We use the Pro version that allows renaming of Headers and scan to PDF.

Overall, for ease of use and simplicity 8/10

Brett
« Last Edit: January 13, 2007, 02:46:37 PM by brett » Logged
brotherS
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2007, 02:28:42 PM »

I didn't read it completely yet, just want to comment this:
Quote

Some advice when buying a scanner: get one with a document feeder in addition to the flat glass plate. Come April 15th when you have a long tax return to scan, you want to just push a button and let things go without intervention.
He got a point. I remember procrastinating about scanning documents for two reasons:
- I piled up various stuff on top of the scanner (it *is* flat...)
- scanning several pages forces you to wait while every document is scanned, regular household scanners aren't that fast*

Getting a real document scanner like the Canon DR-1210C would fix both problems!

You can't pile anything on top and it scans 12 pages per minute! Kiss

Downside: it's expensive ohmy

So, who here has a real document scanner already?

*if this could be(come) a problem for you too depends on how busy you are, how much you need/want to scan, and on how patient you could be, just watching a scanner in action
« Last Edit: January 14, 2007, 04:02:07 AM by brotherS » Logged

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brett
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2007, 02:54:25 PM »

Hi BrotherS

Quote
So, who here has a real document scanner already?

We use a Brother, of course.

But we did not get a dedicated document scanner.
We purchased a Brother MFC All in One because it was cheap. cheaper then most dedicated scanners.
But it does Scan, Print, Fax, and has a Document feeder.

something like this


Brett
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2007, 08:42:46 PM »

Quote
But we did not get a dedicated document scanner.
We purchased a Brother MFC All in One because it was cheap. cheaper then most dedicated scanners.
But it does Scan, Print, Fax, and has a Document feeder.
I had a dedicated scanner but its feeder died at one point and all that was available locally, and RIGHT NOW, was an all-in-one Canon Multipass F80 with a feeder.  With that installed I never bothered to fix the dedicated job, which is now (one hopes) a bunch of recycled material.  The Canon's not nearly as fast as dedicated hardware but time's not a critical issue for me as long as it'll work unattended.  My typical multi-page job is only 30 pages or so.
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Chris
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2007, 09:39:25 PM »

I've always liked PaperPort, and i like NigelH's idea of buying an older version to save some money, since i'm not sure the new features are all that needed.
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brotherS
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2007, 03:25:37 AM »

brett and cranioscopical, thanks to much for pointing out the document feeder feature!



This Brother MFC-240C (http://www.brother-usa.co...il.aspx?ProductID=MFC240C) costs about €140/$180, that's just a third of the Canon DR-1210C document scanner I mentioned above! ohmy

Sure, its automatic document feeder (ADF) just holds 10 pages and it's slow in comparison, but that would be totally OK for the price.

Having a nick like the one I have, it's tempting to buy this Brother MFC... Cool Does anyone of you have any experience with alternatives to this one?

The current version of Paperport is 11 and is really powerfull, but it is expensive (+$150)
http://www.nuance.com/paperport/

I've always liked PaperPort, and i like NigelH's idea of buying an older version to save some money, since i'm not sure the new features are all that needed.
Damn, PaperPort looks really good! Why wasn't there ever a (mini) review on DC? Sad

Do I get this right? I would scan all the pages as single files (by using the automatic feeder - see my previous post) and then use PaperPort to combine multi-page documents, right?

Seems so, I just found this in the PaperPort How-To Guides (http://www.nuance.com/paperport/howtoguides/#):
Quote
Stacking
You can stack a group of PDF files into a single PDF.
Move the files to be stacked to a single folder.
Select the files in the order you want them in the stack.
Click the Stack button  and choose Stack in the drop-down list.
or
Choose Stack in the shortcut menu.
Source files do not remain after stacking – make copies before stacking if you want to keep the sources.


EDIT: Just now I stumbled upon http://www.scanstore.com/Hardware/scanners.asp - lots of info, mostly about expensive scanners though.

EDIT #2:
Holy sweet FSM, I just saw that the Brother MFC-5440CN is currently being sold for a price even less than the other MFC!  thumbs up



Its automatic document feeder (ADF) holds 35 pages, which is very cool because I just read about this PaperPort feature:

Quote
The 'PaperPort - Scan' dialog box lets you apply subjects, authors and keywords to documents. This dialog box appears for each separate document scanned, one after the other. Scanning more than one document at a time is enabled by checking the 'Blank page is a job separator' option in the Scanning Profiles under the SET options tab.
So I would just have to put blank pages in between the pages I want to scan... awesome! Kiss
« Last Edit: January 14, 2007, 04:19:55 AM by brotherS » Logged

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mouser
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2007, 04:22:45 AM »

regarding printers, I think Carol and I have both posted about our love of our Canon inkjets and the drivers on them.
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brotherS
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2007, 06:25:00 AM »

regarding printers, I think Carol and I have both posted about our love of our Canon inkjets and the drivers on them.
If you want a printer, the Brother MFC with the lovely feeder mentioned above isn't a great choice, but even after searching Google for a long time I found no alternative device with a feeder at such a low price!

It looks like Brother has no competition in this price segment.
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brett
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2007, 06:42:37 AM »

Hi BrotherS

Before we all go and shell out some hard earned dollars.
I do suggest you download a trial version of 'PaperValet'
http://www.chocksettsoftware.com/downloads.asp

even though it appears to be abandoned. it has served us well for two years now.
Most of the request asked here it already meets.

So for $25standard, $45Pro you can get a product that will give you a great start.

From the screenshots below.
- Single scan
- Scan multiple pages to a single PDF.  (using either Append, or Add to Batch)
- Documents are kept in a Tree Folder Structure  (easy to backup, copy to CD, etc)
- File Name can have different fields auto appended/prepended. (we have the date auto prepended to all scans)
- OCR via Microsoft Office or Scansoft (but we dont use)
- Customize Fields in Pro version (we do use this)
- Has a inbuilt PDF/Tiff viewer that navigates via a folder layout. This alone is brilliant.

For searching , I prefer to use Copernic Desktop,





any questions regarding what Papervalet can do, just ask.


If you want a printer, the Brother MFC with the lovely feeder mentioned above isn't a great choice, but even after searching Google for a long time I found no alternative device with a feeder at such a low price!

It looks like Brother has no competition in this price segment.

Yep, the brother is a dog for printing, we use the office laser for print, and only use the brother for scanning, some photocopying, the occasional fax or print.

Brett
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edbro
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2007, 09:36:19 AM »

If you are going to use Copernic for searching then what is the advantage of Paper Valet? I have a freeware program that will scan single/multiple pages and save to PDF. By using intelligent filenaming and folder structures, it is very easy to find documents, especially if you use Copernic. 

I have a copy of Paperport 9 but I uninstalled it because even that didn't do much more than I could do with a manual system. I already had a search program (Copernic) so I didn't need Paperport to always be indexing in the background. And, pdfs are more portable than .max files.
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brotherS
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2007, 12:08:45 PM »

True... if you only need to scan/archive one or two pages a week, you just need a regular scanner and not a huge program to handle the PDF work for you.
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joychen
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2007, 02:17:01 PM »

I use NeatReceipts in my home office.  Within the application, there are specific modules for receipts, business cards and documents.  It's a time saver due to OCR capabilities in the receipt and business card organizers.  It's pretty accurate at reading dates, vendor, amount, etc.  I scan in all of my receipts and I run various reports (huge help at tax time!) and I can export info to PDF, Quicken, etc. 

I also scan in my business cards and export to Outlook.  Only downside is lack of OCR in the doc organizer.

Runs about $200 for the scanner and software.  www.neatreceipts.com
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2007, 02:29:33 PM »

If it is as handy as you say, the time/aggravation would be worth every penny (maybe more).  You would never miss the the two-hundred bucks.  Nice find!
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brotherS
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2007, 05:41:00 AM »

I use NeatReceipts in my home office.  www.neatreceipts.com
Wow, they have nice video demos on their site! Combining a small, easy-to-handle scanner with some special is a nice idea. It must be close to perfect if you want a small and portable solution.

I ordered the Brother MFC-5440CN I described above, looking forward to less paper! smiley
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patteo
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« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2007, 08:37:47 AM »

Hmm, no one seems to have mentioned the ScanSnap.

I don't own one but I have tried one on loan to me. It is very fast, has a 50 page ADF, double sided scanning capability and a rather small footprint. The version I tried is the somewhat older model without OCR and Microsoft Office support which the current model has. Please be aware that ScanSnap is non twain compliant (at least the model which I tried fi-5110EOX wasn't). So using this older model, I could not detect the scanner from a software  that required a twain-compliant scanner to scan say an image or even a document in.

However, if works very well with the software that came with it.

There's also an accessory software that can be purchased called
"Rack2-Filerâ„¢ converts scanned documents and digital data into PDF files and inputs this data into e-files for total document management purposes. This "life-like" data can then be viewed by flipping through "e-binders" with the simple click of a mouse. Furthermore, Rack2-Filer is also loaded with a vast array of editing functions that renders troublesome digital data management a relic of the past."
http://www.fujitsu.com/us...orkgroup/rack2-filer.html

Quote Smallbiztechnology.com - technology is a tool! Use it to GROW your business.
"Fujitsu's ScanSnap scanner is good.

USA Today reports that Fujitsu's new $495 scanner is worth it, not only because it bundles Adobe Acrobat Standard 6.0 which retails for $300, but because of the many features it includes such as it scans up to 15 pages per minute and converts them into the ubiquitous Portable Document Format with the touch of a button. It also captures both sides of a sheet of paper at the same time. (Unlike a flatbed, paper feeds through the top, much like many printers.)

The document feeder can accept up to 50 pages. To save disk space, it eliminates blank pages. It also automatically detects paper size, straightens and rotates images and figures out whether the document is in color or black and white.

The device also can scan business cards and includes software that reads the text and organizes it into a database. (It does require some manual setup through ScanSnap software)."
http://www.smallbiztechno...can-scanner-is-good.shtml

Check it out further at

ScanSnap S500 Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Scanner : FUJITSU United States
"ScanSnap S500 Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Scanner"
http://www.fujitsu.com/us...group/s500.html#Tab0/tab2
« Last Edit: January 16, 2007, 08:51:51 AM by patteo » Logged
jeromg
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« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2007, 08:43:33 AM »

Been away recently, I'm still not sure which system I'm going to start with.
I've downloaded a trial version (15 days) of ABBYY FineReader 8.0 Pro, I've used it on my last bank statements, and the OCR did a great job (maintain layout, multi-page PDF). I may give a try to Paperport, but I'm not sure I'll need all the functionality.
Both (Paperport and Finereader) are quite expensive solutions ($150 range) and have comparable features. I need to get going and start something soon, my goal is to go paperless at home on Feb. 1st. embarassed
I'll keep you posted.

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brotherS
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« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2007, 08:51:50 AM »

I need to get going and start something soon, my goal is to go paperless at home on Feb. 1st. embarassed
Is that an artificially set date or do you marry/divorce/start your own business/... on Feb. 1st?

Looking forward to a paperless home too! smiley
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brotherS
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« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2007, 05:19:32 PM »

The Brother MFC is here and installed! thumbs up

But the documentation sucks... they almost only focus on the printing and fax option... The PaperPort doc isn't as good as I wished either... thumb down

What I wonder most: how is OmniPage going to work together with PaperPort? As in: how can I automate the creation of PDF files that are searchable? The PDF files that PaperPort now creates aren't searchable Sad

The software for my Canon scanner used to do that in one fell swoop, I just had to click a button. How do I reach that goal now?
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« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2007, 11:13:25 AM »

Is that an artificially set date or do you marry/divorce/start your own business/... on Feb. 1st?
somehow artificial, as I'm going to work for a new company on Feb. 1st after 8 years in this one...
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brotherS
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« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2007, 06:35:42 AM »

Is that an artificially set date or do you marry/divorce/start your own business/... on Feb. 1st?
somehow artificial, as I'm going to work for a new company on Feb. 1st after 8 years in this one...
Ah, good luck with that!


Noone here could help with regard to my problem above? Sad
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2007, 11:11:19 AM »

Quote
What I wonder most: how is OmniPage going to work together with PaperPort? As in: how can I automate the creation of PDF files that are searchable? The PDF files that PaperPort now creates aren't searchable

Noone here could help with regard to my problem above?

I can't give you the help you need, which is why I didn't respond sooner.  All I can tell you is that Omnipage 15 creates searchable PDFs (can't now recall whether V14 did, but I think so). l don't use Paperport so I can't help with the mechanism used to call Omnipage from within that, nor do I know with which version(s) of Omnipage it will correspond.
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