Document scanners: More complicated than "Just get the Fujitsu"?

I’m about to pull the trigger on a document scanner. I previously tried the Wirecutter recommendation of the Brother ADS-1250W, only to find that it is almost incapable of scanning a single page straight. So I reckon I should just bite the bullet and get a fancier, bigger desktop model.

I know a lot of people swore by the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500. I know a lot of people considered the iX1500 a massive regression. I also know about the big ScanSnap Manager 64-bit kerfuffle that they finally resolved.

They say SSM is getting no new features, but it is still being updated. They list some features that ScanSnap Home doesn’t support (Windows, Mac), and they don’t seem like dealbreakers, but maybe those lists aren’t exhaustive, and maybe I’m not foreseeing how serious those omissions are. I also don’t know if Home has anything Manager doesn’t, though I imagine they’d make a big deal of it if there were significant advantages.

Now there’s an iX1600. I don’t know if it fixes the things about the iX1500 that people considered regressions. And it’s unclear to me that even being stuck with iX1500 + ScanSnap Home would be an iota worse than the next closest competitor, especially since I’m new to this and don’t have longstanding practices that Fujitsu is threatening to make obsolete.

I’d love to hear if anyone has any strong opinions about all this that they’d like to try to convince me of. Should I just get the iX1600 and never look back? Is Fujitsu never to be trusted again? Is VueScan or some other independent software package great enough to make it immaterial what brand of scanner I buy, as long as it scans straight?

Thanks for your time.

For portability, I use an HP OfficeJet 250 Mobille. I travel and it works great. Single pages or multiple.
For home I have an HP OfficeJet POro 9010 - also works great.
Not too expensive but like all printers - its the ink that costs $$$$s.

David

I recently purchased the iX1600 and can only comment on my use. I find it somewhat complicated to set up the ways I want to scan. But it is amazing at speed of scan and the variations in what you want - for example, scan both sides, degree of intensity of the scan, etc. The additional items are really expensive - for example the protective sleeves for articles that may catch in the scanner because of folds, rips, etc. Also I got a dust alert and I’ve only used it for about 3 months so I had to order cleaning cloths, fluid and individually packaged wipes and that cost a bit (I went through Amazon. Better choice is to use their own supply (CLEANING SUPPLIES & CONSUMABLES, SCANAID KIT iX500 iX1400 iX1500 iX1600 Price: $89.00 much cheaper than what I purchased at Amazon).

I wouldn’t use it for photos but for business documents and receipts, etc. it is very good. I was able to scan a many paged 2 sided legal literally in seconds, and the quality was excellent and it was OCR too. Hope this is of help to you.

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I have had the ScanSnap S1500M for many years and even today the scanner software was updated, so they are actively working to keep it up to date. Though I have a flat bed scanner for photographic scans, the way the ScanSnap does both side, with OCR is invaluable and seamless. I scan, OCR, and shred the original (if appropriate). I have settings for regular scans (receipts and tax items), another for academic articles (placed in a different folder and in black and white) and others that I use less, but easy to set up.

I kept typing SnapScan as that seems a better term, but that is not what it is called.

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I have the ix500… and I can say that I agree with ‘get a Fujitsu and never look back’. I did, after a half dozen years finally buy a cleaning kit. I should not have waited so long. :wink:

As for usage I don’t do anything too complex. By default I have it setup wireless to my Mac, scanning using a profile I creatively call Standard:

  • automatic resolution, automatic colour detection, automatic image rotation, automatic blank page removal, OCR enabled for all pages, automatic file naming (date and time, basically) to a default location. Saving as PDF. It’ll also automatically detect paper size and check for overlapping pages (at which point it stops and puts up a dialog box). Compression is set to medium (which is the default).

That works for almost all my scanning, multi page or single page paper documents.

For those days when I need something a little different I’ve created a few other profiles, which you can choose from the ScanSnap Manager in the Dock.

Standard without OCR
Scan to Image at Maximum quality
Photos (Scan to image but faster… for old photos or ones I don’t mind not using the flatbed for)
Continuous scanning (with and without OCR) - in this mode it assumes you’re going to keep feeding it, so you can do documents that are hundreds of pages long.
as well as a few for convenience: scan to email and scan to print.

I love the scanner and recommend it to clients.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Cheers,

Dave

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I have been using the now ancient Fujitsu ScanSnap fi-510OEXM (I believe I got that right) for more than 10 years. The Fujitsu software no longer supports it, but I have used it successfully with both Vuescan and ExactScan. I’ve currently settled on ExactScan because I continue to just press the button on the scanner. (Yes, it’s a little silly.)

If all you want are to duplex scan to an image file or PDF, I think it’s hard to beat. The hardware has been impressively reliable despite regular use for at least 10 years.

Unless you have other needs, I think it’s hard to beat. When mine finally dies, I will replace it with a new Fujitsu ScanSnap.

So I’m going to come down on the side, of “No, just get the Fujitsu.”

Kevin

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Been using my S1500 for 10 years. While I mainly use it for documents it does a credible job with photos. Also have a S1100 for travel. Switched to ExactScan for the 64 bit solution. So I say just go with the Fijitsu.

I bought my first iX1500 in 2020 to process estate papers and family photos. I installed ScanSnap Manager – my experience elsewhere with ScanSnap Home as originally released had been disappointing, putting it mildly.
Recently, after hundreds of scans, the iX1500 was broken by a fall from a table to a hard floor. I immediately bought an iX1600 and kept on scanning. The iX1600 has better autoconnect behavior than the iX1500 and fits the travel case originally bought for the iX500. It is safer traveling than resting on a tabletop.
ScanSnap Manager has continued to be compatible with macOS thru the latest Monterey versions, both release and beta. Several Fujitsu updates to application software and device firmware have been installed with no problems.
Rating: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: of five.

My HP Officejet 8020 has been working well for years. Ink is expensive (and currently difficult to buy in Australia) but I also have an HP Laserjet for grunt work.
The Officejet works well with the handy Image app that comes with macOS. For example I can scan multiple pages into the one PDF file using the document feeder.

Don’t worry about those alerts, I get them continually on my iX1500, just ignore them. Obviously it’s still good to clean the top & bottom glass strips inside every now and again, but those alerts are pointless.

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One tip: Just ignore the “Home” software as much as possible, and set it up to just have the scans open straight into another PDF app of choice, where you can quickly do OCR and file.

Previous older models used to get bundled with Acrobat Pro, but more recent models like the the iX1500 I have came bundled with Nuance Power PDF For Mac (or Nuance PDF Convertor For Mac – same app, different name AFAICT!) – it’s very similar to software PDFpen, as backend uses same scanning engine AFAIR.

Workflow:

  • I’ve most scans set to duplex scan & opening straight into the Nuance software (setting done in Home app).
  • I chuck paper doc into scanner, set profile “Duplex” on physical scanner, press scan button.
  • I visually check the PDF to make sure it’s scanned properly.
  • Then OCR, by going to Edit > OCR Page (although I set-up ‘Option+A’ keyboard shortcut to do this).
  • Page(s) OCR, then I check all pages have been done by hitting “Cmd+A” to see the blue text highlighting.
    (If any page is missed [occasionally it doesn’t like a page!] I rescan manually that page again.)
  • Then name and file the doc in appropriate folder (some people automate this, but too complicated for me).

Tips:

  • For profiles, I tend to use ‘colour’ for most things, as it’s a more ‘realistic’ looking copy of most docs.
  • Duplex is quickest to use regularly, as you can easily delete any blank pages in secs after in the software.
  • Set at least another profile for LONG pages (you know those receipts you get that are a meter long!), and another profile for folded pages (A3 docs can be set to do a side each and the sw will join them; fiddle around to get the setting right).

Hope this helps somewhat, as like all tech ever it can be a bit fiddly working it all out.

I left my Fujitsu behind for a multifunction HP LaserJet three years ago, never looked back. Highly recommended.

We have an Epson Workforce WF 3640 laser printer that can scan, but lately, I just use my iPhone. Talk about simplicity. On my Mac, I can open up Preview then select File→Import from iPhone→Scan Documents.

On my phone, I have to create a blank Note and scan into that. However, once I do that, I can select just the scan and save it to a file or send it to someone.

But either way is much, much easier and faster than producing a scan from the printer.

In fact, I replaced my Epson Printer that stopped working (We have two. My wife has one) with a Brother color laser printer that doesn’t scan because I no longer need to pay extra for a scanner.

Unless you’re scanning pages of documents, I see the scanning feature of an All-in-One printer about as necessary as the fax feature. It’s just not worth the extra money.

Instead, I bought a large pane of glass with a non-reflective coating this can be used to hold documents flat to be able to scan.

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David, what do you do for lighting setup so you don’t get shadows from your phone? Do you have a pair of side lights or similar?

I have a very bright LED desk light with a broad light source. It is placed about 2½ feet above the spot on my desk where I scan, but opposite of me. The light’s shadow actually falls away from what I am scanning towards me. I can hold my phone almost over the paper to do the scanning. I also have a light on the ceiling about three feet behind me which washes out any shadows. It was just a lucky setup.

My desk has a light bamboo top which seems to have a good contrast with almost any type of paper and my phone has no problems finding the boundaries of the paper. I bought a non-reflective glass pane to place over documents I am scanning if they cannot lay flat by themselves.

I had an Epson All-in-One printer, but to get the printer to scan was a pain. The software was just overly complicated and sometimes just refused to work. One day when I was desperate to scan a document and after I spent 20 minutes trying to coax the scanning software and printer to talk to each other, I remembered I could scan using Preview and my iPhone.

I fired up Preview, scanned the document with my iPhone, and realized it did just a good as job as if I had gotten the scanner to work. Scanning with my iPhone was also faster and easier. After that, I just scanned things with my iPhone.

There’s a free Adobe Scan iPhone app that works quite well:

https://www.adobe.com/devnet-docs/adobescan/ios/en/scan.html

Does it work better than the built in iOS scanner?

I didn’t know that there is a built in iOS scanning app. However, it looks like do have to do some rooting around your phone to locate it. You just need to open the Adobe app icon and you’re ready to rock & roll. The quality of the Adobe app is really good. There’s a feature that will keep multi page scans together. And it saves stuff in their document cloud so you can access them easily, and it’s no biggie to import or copy them to a hard drive and iCloud.

I’ve never done it, so pardon the silly questions. if you tell the Mac to Import from iPhone, why do you need a Note to receive the scan? If the scan has gone into a Note, why do you need to tell the Mac to Import from iPhone? Couldn’t you just open the Note? I’m confused.

Thank you for the description of the desk lamp and the work space. Would an ordinary glass store have a non-reflective pane, or is that a specialty item?

I scan from an HP printer, but the sheet feeder routinely skews the page, so I almost always use the flat bed, which is tedious. The iPhone scan sounds nice (if I could keep a clear space on my desk).

I don’t think there is any iOS or Android scanning app that will work as well as a flatbed. I only use my iPhone if a flatbed is not available. When it comes to scanning photos, you can set a much higher resolution on a flatbed.