My appetite for digital doesn’t stop at magazines, newspapers and books. I want to be able to digitize paper receipts, invoices, articles and everything else that’s produced in paper format, too.
Depending on your scanner, getting paper into a computer is easy or tedious. So I reviewed the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 mobile scanner. It makes scanning so easy it’s even kind of fun. The excellent scanner software it ships with includes versions for Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X — and a Windows-only app that’s so easy it’ll work even for the computer phobic.
The ScanSnap S1300 range is characterised by scanners that are a bit wider than an A4 sheet, a bit higher than two 3.5 inch disks sitting on top of each other — and a bit deeper than your standard Post-It sticky. I was surprised by the weight of the unit — it feels solid and robust.
The top is a lid that does double-duty as a retractable page guide.
The ScanSnap S1300d has a scan speed of eight pages per minute (ppm). The newest S1300i is 50 percent faster at 12 ppm. This is the scanner’s top performance, set for scanned pages as black and white and at the lowest quality setting.
I tried the scanner at the best setting and performance was still quite enjoyable. The ScanSnap S1300 range is mobile, but you will need the scanners to have an AC adapter for fastest performance. An extra USB power cable is included in the box — so it’s possible to power this scanner via USB, too.
With the ScanSnap S1300Deluxe version comes a copy of Windows-only Rack2-Filer. Rack2-Filer converts documents into PDFs, which can then be managed, used and shared as with paper files in a physical world. The PDFs are created using a special printer driver and are stored in a folder that holds all libraries, cabinets and binders together. You’re able to create up to three of these so-called LibRoot folders.
One LibRoot folder can hold up to six libraries. One library will contain up to 20 cabinets, and each cabinet can have up to 21 binders. As every binder can have 1,000 pages, that allows up to 2,520 Binders in one LibRoot folder, bringing the ultimate number of pages storable in a Rack2-Filer at 7,560,000.
That’s quite impressive. The best part is that it all is searchable and you handle it pretty much like you would files in a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system, but why make the interface look like a real office?
That takes you back at least a decade when we were trying to get our heads around 3D interfaces and virtual office desks. None of which worked because the PCs at the time lacked the processor power needed to render all those graphics.
Fujitsu made a scanner that really is a gem with lots of features, with the ability to scan to tablets via your laptop. It comes with cleverly implemented software that works brilliantly, including the best OCR software (ABBY Fine Reader) available. But to be honest, and despite all the power in that software, Rack2-Filer looked to me like it’s been made for people with computer phobia, or the elderly. Now if Fujitsu would get rid of the cabinet and binder looks and the page flipping, and take a look at how digital filing works on the Mac….