Monday, September 30, 2002

PaperPort Rocks

I’ve never really used imaging software, but have always been familiar with the claims. Reduce the paper in your office. Organize your various documents. Make everything searchable.

Blah, blah, blah.

Or so I thought. I fired up a copy of PaperPort Deluxe 8 over the weekend, and am stunned at how intuitive it is. I have it running on our home desktop – a P4 with a huge hard drive. My wife has a huge recipes collection - so I decided to give a whirl at scanning in the recipes.

Though my scanner has a sheet feeder (I have the wonderful HP g85 xi), scanning is a bit of a manual process. (If PaperPort has an automated sheet-loading function, I haven’t found it.)

But the end result is outstanding. It creates thumbnails of every scanned image. You can add your own annotations to images – including highlighting, text comments, etc. Multi-page documents are no problem. Best of all, PaperPort has an OCR component built in that will automatically add all words in the scanned images to a text index. The search engine supports Boolean queries. Scans can be logically grouped by folder, so your searches can be restricted to folders (and their subfolders if you wish) – adding context to the search.

The product costs just $100, and I was up and running in less than 20 minutes. My wife, a bit of a skeptic when it comes to these things (she rightly discounts much of what I do as so much geek adoration), was floored when she saw she could do full-text searching of her recipes database. An added bonus? When I’m done scanning, I can dump at least one of the file cabinets entirely. I’m now thinking about other areas we can address – bills is an obvious area – to further reduce the paper in our house.

The image files are not small – about 50 or so recipes so far and it’s taking up several hundred megabytes. Fortunately the hard drive runs to 75 gigabytes, and additional hard drives are cheap.

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