Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 – Paperless Workflow (Part 1)
Ever since I started using the Doxie Scanner and trying to go paperless, I realized one thing. The PDF workflow process must be as simple as possible. If the process is complicated, it will take the joy out of the whole process and no amount of incentive will be sufficient to motivate one to persevere with the paperless routine. The end result is the accumulation of more and more paperwork and looking at the growing paper mess will put off the digitizing process even more.
The doxie scanner is a simple scanner. It will work well if you have limited things to scan. Personally I find the Doxie scanner sufficient for my needs and would probably not bought the Fujitsu scansnap had I not a wish to digitize a lot of my technical reference papers. I have streamlined the process of scanning using Doxie that I think it is already simple enough. What can be even simpler? This is until I bought the ScanSnap scanner and I started to realize why it received so much rave reviews and why people swear about this little scanner in the forums.
The ScanSnap scanner makes my paperless workflow even more simple and complete. And I wish to outline my process to share with anyone wishing to go paperless. Please take what I write with a pinch of salt as while it work well for me it may not for you.
The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 is a very capable scanner. But without proper software support, it will just be what it is…a capable scanner and nothing else.
The software that comes with the ScanSnap is an essential part of the software required to make the most of the ScanSnap. ScanSnap Organizer, Adobe Acrobat and Finereader are all great software. During the installation, the software will prompt you if you want to install Evernote. I suggest you should do so if you have not already using Evernote.
My recipes include the use of the following software
- ScanSnap Organizer (comes with ScanSnap)
- Adobe acrobat standard X (comes with ScanSnap)
- Finereader (comes with ScanSnap)
- Evernote (freeware but with a premium (paid) account)
- PDFTK (the best freeware command line PDF swiss army knife utility)
- Belvedere Automated File Manager (a freeware automated management app)
Step 1 – Setting up the scanner profile.
First, unclick the “Use Quick Menu” button then bring up the “Profile” drop down menu. Create a new profile if you like or modify an existing one. The scanner come with many profiles pre-selected and pre-configured by Fujitsu. You can select “Recommended”, “Small File” or “High Quality”. They work well but I prefer to customize my own to make that personal touch. I created a personal profile and this is how I have set it up.
There may be better settings than what I have done here so I welcome comments to refine this further.
The first “Application” tab is pretty straightforward here. I feel that scanning to ScanSnap Organizer is a good choice and therefore leave this setting alone. Nothing to see here. Move along.
The “Save” tab is slightly more tricky. If you customize a profile or do not use the Quick Menu settings, the “Image Saving folder” field is gray out. Don’t worry. We will get to change this in a sec. Click the “File Name Format” button if you want to customize the naming convention of each file after completing their scan. I like the naming convention that involves the date and time of scan. So I leave this as it is.
The “Scanning” tab I have configured is exactly the same as the “High Quality” pre-configured setting. I find this is sufficient for most scans. If you are paranoid about quality, select “Excellent” under the “Image Quality” drop down menu.
If you press the “Option” button, the above dialog box pops up. I leave the settings pretty much stock.
My “File Option” tab has the “Set the marked text as a keyword” thingy unticked. I don’t use the keyword feature as yet. I might use it later if my workflow requires this. I also set the OCR to recognize all pages.
Pressing “Option” button will reveal the above dialog box. This is what I think is the most important setting of ScanSnap Organizer. I prefer to generate a pdf file per paper scan. This is so that I don’t have to bother grouping the document types when i put them into the document feeder. So I can stack a dentist bill + car repair bill + bank statement into the feeder in 1 go and ScanSnap will generate a pdf file for each pieces of paper. If I need to group pages together, I can “merge” the pdf files really easily using ScanSnap. Beware though that by setting the scanner this way, a 2 page document will be saved as 2 files.
The next most important thing is the Password Option. This is the coolest feature of ScanSnap Organizer in my opinion. This allows me to automatically password protect each file when I scan. All I have to do is to set a global password and voila. Of course, you don’t have to password protect all your PDF files, in that case you just have to untick the boxes.
One side effect of password protecting PDF files is that if you upload these password protected files to Evernote, Evernote will not be able to OCR the document, and also index them. Likewise for GoogleDoc. GoogleDoc will not be able to even display the PDF files which is not good for me.
The ScanSnap password encryption level appear to be 40-bit RC4 as ScanSnap try to maintain the best compatibility with the older PDF standard (Acrobat 3). Not the highest level for paranoid people worried about security.
You can set the encryption level to 128 bit AES strength if you save the PDF to Acrobat 5 standard and above. But unfortunately this is not possible with the standard ScanSnap software. If you are happy with the 40-bit RC4 password strength as set by ScanSnap S1500, by all means do it. Otherwise, stay tuned for Part 2 of this article.
In the meantime let’s complete the setup.
The “Paper” tab is no brainer. I don’t need to set anything. The default works well.
The last “Compression” tab is also nothing much to play with. I didn’t even bother to experiment with setting the compression rate. The default setting works well for me.
This is it for Part 1 of the article. Stay tuned for Part 2.