Category Archives: Going Paperless

Fujitsu ScanSnap Manager for Mac Issues – Unable to scan with documents face up – Automator to the rescue

With the Windows version of Fujitsu ScanSnap Manager, we have the option of scanning the documents with their pages face up….in this way the user can easily see which is the first page of the document and which is the second page, and so on. It is just a very natural way of scanning a document.

I have now added a Mac desktop to our home. I never guess that this feature is actually not standard across the Windows/Mac version of ScanSnap Manager and guess what….there is no such feature in the Mac version…much to my dismay!

This is what I am seeing in the Mac version. No such feature anywhere I can find.

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 9.54.40 pm

Initially I thought my install was missing some components until I dig deeper on google….this is what Fujitsu says on their website:


What a bummer. This is a big let down for me but fortunately the easy solution is just to flip the document to the other side so that the first page gets scanned first. So for those of you who is wondering why the documents face up feature is not available on the Mac platform, hopefully the above info is useful.

Cheers for now.

Edit 2014.12.30

Because we use the ScanSnap scanner now with both Mac and Windows, we want to have a more consistent handling of the documents. ScanSnap Mac is seriously handicapped (lack of scanning with documents face up and lack of security password option) but with a bit of scripting, it is possible to bring back some of the features we took for granted under Windows platform.

The advantage of Mac OS is that there is Applescript built in to the OS and there is also a very cool automation software (aptly called Automator) that comes bundled with the OS. So developing scripts via Mac OS is a lot easier than Windows in my opinion. There are many ways to overcome the ScanSnap Mac’s document face up limitation and I am sure many talented coders out there have/will develop a more elegant solution….but I don’t have time so my workflow is primitive. The following is a quick account of how I did this:

1. The first thing I did is to install PDFTK on the system. Navigate to this URL: and download the Mac version of PDFTK. This will only install the command line version of PDFTK. We don’t need the GUI version at this stage (and I think the GUI version will need cross compiling on the MAC but I am not 100% sure) so the command line version is perfectly fine.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 4.02.04 pm

Installing PDFTK is extremely simple. Just follow the prompts. The only thing to be aware is that by default, PDFTK will be installed to /opt/pdflabs/pdftk/bin/ directory. Run the PDFTK at the terminal to see if it executes fine.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 4.05.02 pm

2. The next thing I did is to create 2 folders – “Processed” and “Unprocessed”. I nested these two folders on my desktop with a primary folder called “ScanSnap”.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 3.54.37 pm

3. Then I create an application via Automator. There are many tutorials on the net about using Automator so I won’t go into this. This is how my Automator scripts look like. Click on the picture below to see a bigger version. The Automator script is also available for download here:

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 4.07.28 pm

The heart of the Automator workflow is the bash script that calls PDFTK. For this part, I adapted some of the code from the internet. There is very little value in me reinventing the wheel here. This is the post I adopted the code from:

I have originally created the Automator script via the “folder action” method which essentially run the script whenever there are new files being deposited onto a watched folder. I find that although the script is functional, there is too much wait time in between the files are deposited and when they are picked up by the script. So I modified the Automator script to run via the “Application” method.

I had originally wanted to get ScanSnap Manager to run this App directly via the “Application” setting but it is always throwing an error warning about the bash script having an error (although the bash script is fully functional and the PDF files are processed correctly). I locate this Automator script inside the “ScanSnap” folder on the desktop. I called this script “Process PDF”.

So this is how the whole thing works: ScanSnap will scan the document the put the scanned PDF files in “Desktop\ScanSnap\Unprocessed” folder. When the scanning is completed, I run the “Process PDF” script and the script will essentially reverse the page order of the scanned PDF file and dump the processed file onto the folder “Processed”. The original unprocessed PDF file will be deleted accordingly.

Sounds like a lot of work to bring to the Mac OS what ScanSnap Windows has enjoyed for years so if there is anyone out there with a smarter and brighter idea, I am all ears.

Cheers for now.