Hurricane season is here, which means you'll start seeing all sorts of high-tech gadgets designed to make you better prepared -- hand-cranked generators, solar-powered radios, external batteries for smart phones, battery-powered portable TVs, DC inverters, and on and on.
Often overlooked, however, are document scanners. If you're a business owner without a scanner, you're missing an opportunity to reduce paperwork clutter and increase security by keeping important documents in digital form.
If you're a resident of the Gulf South, scanning birth certificates, insurance papers, irreplaceable photographs, and ID cards is just plain smart, particularly if you store them using cloud-based storage. Scanning receipts can also make tax time less stressful for both business owners and individual taxpayers.
Given the prevalence of neighborhood copy centers and the megapixels provided by today's digital cameras, you might ask: are scanners worth the money? The answer is "yes!"
Inexpensive smart phone apps exist that will let digitize documents, but what they deliver can't compare with the results produced by a device designed for this purpose. A personal document scanner is a solid investment, provided you choose one that is well-built, easy to use, rarely jams, and comes with useful software.
If you're ready to start shopping, Fujitsu's award-winning ScanSnap product line is a good place to start. Let's start with the company's newest and most impressive offering, the ScanSnap iX500.
The iX500 features built-in Wi-Fi connectivity that lets you scan directly to an Android- or iOS-powered device ("PC-free scanning"). The ScanSnap Connect app can be downloaded for free from Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
The device is compatible with either a PC or a Mac and features a customizable Quick Menu. With the push of a button, documents are scanned and saved to your smart phone or tablet, ready to view, share, or send to the cloud.
Equipped with a CPU-mounted "GI" image processor, the ScanSnap iX500 can instantly scan and transmit PDF or JPEG files, such as contracts, receipts, bills, invoices, business cards, etc.
The scanner is equipped with USB 3.0 connectivity and can create PDF files at speeds of up to 25 double-sided color pages per minute (300dpi, color), 25 percent faster than the iX500's highly-regarded predecessor, the ScanSnap S1500.
The iX500 also has a 50-page automatic document feeder (ADF). Fujitsu accomplishes exceptional feeder reliability using enhanced "Separation Roller" technology to maximize feeding reliability across an even wider range of documents and scanning situations.
The scanner abounds in other useful scanning features, such as automatic paper size and color detection, automatic de-skew, orientation, and blank page detection/deletion, plus the ability to scan a document up to 34 inches long.
Bundled software includes ScanSnap Manager, a flexible way to manage PDF, searchable PDF, and image files that allows you to transfer them to folders, email them, or send them to cloud-based repositories like Evernote, Dropbox, and others.
ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap allows users to be productive by quickly transforming their paperwork into editable Word, Excel and PowerPoint files at the push of a button.
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 sells for $495 at Fujitsu's Online Store. For more information, visit Fujitsu.com.
Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 Portable Color Image Scanner
For a more compact, mobile, and affordable scanner, consider the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100, an ultra-portable model that works with a PC or a Mac and also supports Google Docs, Evernote and other cloud services. Simply insert a document, press a button, select the destination, and you're done!
The S1100 has features similar to scanners found in office settings, but with extreme mobility that is ideal for freelancers, outside sales people, and business travelers. The unit weighs less than 12.5 ounces and measures just 10.75 x 1.85 x 1.35 inches, making it compact enough to fit in almost any notebook bag.
ScanSnap software (included) seamlessly generates a searchable PDF, image file, e-mail, or contact data, as well as editable files for Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. The unit captures up to eight pages per minute and can also scan embossed plastic cards, ID cards, or business cards.
Other notably functions are Intelligent Indexing, which converts highlighted words in a document into keywords for faster, easier searches; Intelligent Cropping and Rotation, which automatically aligns and crops documents even if they are inserted skewed or upside down; Continuous Document Feeding (CDF, which accepts up to eight pages per minute non-stop (7.5 seconds per page) and combines pages automatically into a multi-page file, in the correct order.
Bundled software includes ScanSnap Manager, Abbyy FineReader for ScanSnap, Evernote, CardMinder, Scan to Microsoft SharePoint and OfficeLive, and Cardiris for Mac OS X.
Two cleverly-designed protective flaps facilitate a straight feed or automatic reverse for scanning both sides. You can also forget about power cords or batteries, because the included USB cable transfers data and supplies power.
The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 sells for $199 at Fujitsu's Online Store. For more information, visit Fujitsu.com.