| || |
Over the last 3 months clients have inquired about scanning business documents to create digital documents. The first client wanted efficient data capture and retrieval of essential information related to their member base. Another client wanted to capture text to create a file that could be used to import data into an email management application. And another user wanted to share PDFs and track changes with a business associate that is usually out of the office.
Traditionally the printer would be the device of choice utilizing the scan-to-disk feature sending the document to email or to a folder on the network server. However not all users are in the office as many workers are mobile and not working in a fixed office space. This article will cover the mobile device scanner apps for Apple and Android, as well as the network printer/scanner.
iOS and Android apps
iPad and iPhone users can scan all kinds of documents with Faster Scan. It enables easy folder organization for multiple projects, multi-page scanning for books, surprising image quality from computer and TV monitor capture, an editor that allows re-ordering, deletion, editing of multi-page/image captures, and a BIG feature is the export as PDF or JPG to Google Docs which will allow you to convert the scan of text documents to a data file.
This app is designated for Business Productivity and as of this post has been updated by the developer within the last month. It has a free version on iTunes so you can trial it before upgrading to have the full feature version.
Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Android users have a good selection of free apps for scanning including PDF Document Scanner, Document Scanner, CMC Image Scanner, Adobe Reader, Scanner PDF and Cam Scanner. Here's a partial review of CamScanner from Matt Silverman at Mashable.com.
CamScanner is a breeze to use, and you can test out the free version via the Market link above. Snap a photo of your document and pull up the cropping tool. The app will auto-detect the edges of the paper, but the slick drag-and-snap guides will help you fine tune the dimensions.
The processing enhancements are smart, and will compensate for low light and bad focus reasonably well. Though the app generates a cropped and toned image, it will also hang onto the original photo -- handy, in case you accidentally cropped your boss' name off the letterhead.
The app has built-in integration with Google Docs, Box.net and Dropbox, but for the less fancy among you, it's easy to pipe scanned docs straight into email.
The Premium Subscription edition will extract text from an image. This is called OCR, optical character recognition. The extracted text can be edited in Google Docs or Microsoft Office applications. Additionally you will not see ads. The cost is $4.99/month or $49.99/year.
Compatibility: Requires Android 2.3 or later.
Developed by IntSig Information.
Network Printers and SCANNERS
I own an Officejet 8600 and find the scanner very easy to use for home and office. It has a tray that will allow many pages to be loaded for scanning. It will scan up to 8 1/2" x 14" and automatically recognize two-sided documents. Output can be sent to email or PC. It also has a thumb drive port on the front that allows me to scan to the thumb drive in the event I want to have the images portable. The conversion from scan image to a text document requires IRIS software.
My client has a Sharp MXC-402sc networked printer scanner. It works smoothly as multiple documents can be loaded into the feeder and with one-button operation it will scan to a designated folder on their server. The user will need to rename the documents to enable easy identification. This can be done at the printer or the desktop. Sharpdesk software enables users to run OCR, file and manage documents from their desktop. Users can also search and index files for later retrieval.
NeatDesk is a powerful product that is designed specifically for scanning - not like an AIO (all-in-one) that prints, scan and faxes. It has an SQL database in the background and is agile in the scanning process and when you need to retrieve the information, this will be a simple search. This product is gaining in popularity on the home office front. It is specifically designed for variable size document scanning which makes it appealing for those who want to scan sales receipts, tickets, business cards, as well as letter and legal size pages.
The Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 also is designed specifically for scanning. Here's their YouTube video that highlights their features.