Sometimes the only way to make progress is to leave something behind.
Digitizing documents is a simple exercise with the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 portable desktop scanner. The device is incredibly easy to set up and requires little maintenance or training to use.
Setting up the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 is almost effortless: Simply install the ScanSnap software, then attach the included cord to a USB 2.0 slot on the computer, and it’s ready to roll. Within 10 minutes, I was scanning a 20-page duplex document through the top-load feeder and saving it locally in Adobe PDF.
The user has a couple of ways to initiate a scan. First, an easy-to-find lighted blue button on the scanner itself is by default programmed for a duplex scan (this can be changed in the ScanSnap Manager software). Second, ScanSnap puts a handy icon in the desktop tray (in Windows) that the user can simply right-click to order a simplex or duplex scan.
In my tests, I loaded about 30 pages into the device and let it fly. Duplex or not, the S1500 averaged 22.4 pages per minute, 10 percent faster than Fujitsu’s advertised speed. Furthermore, detection of color or grayscale, duplex, skewing and rotation are done page by page on the fly. A user can simply leave the device set to duplex mode and let the S1500 figure out whether there’s anything on the back.
Scanning an image into a digital format is only half the task; the other half is determining what to do with that data. This is where the S1500’s real productivity gains lie. ScanSnap Organizer, which is included in the software package, provides numerous options for a scanned document.
Users can scan directly to e-mail or to a printer. Using the included ABBYY optical character recognition software, scanning to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as to Google Docs, is straightforward and accurate. In my tests, more than 99 percent of a full-text document was scanned in correctly. With a little setting up, users can also scan files directly to a Microsoft SharePoint document library, which could be used to kick off a standard workflow process. The scanner can also save files to a mobile device using the ScanSnap Mobile Application.
The S1500’s portable, simple design won’t take up much desk space. It’s 11.5 inches wide by 6.3 inches long by 6.2 inches high. At a little over 6.5 pounds, it can easily be carried in one hand and moved from station to station.
Jamming is a concern with almost any document feeder, but the ScanSnap unfailingly notices jams, even in situations where two sheets have been brought into the scanner offset by just an inch or so. The S1500 alerts the user to the problem and allows the user to either restart the job or reload the paper and continue. Opening the device to relieve the jam is simple and painless — a single trigger switch on the front reveals just about the entire inner workings of the scanner.
In a shared workstation situation, the ScanSnap Organizer allows for 20 different user configurations or profiles. For example, one user might always scan in black-and-white duplex to PDF, while another typically scans in color to an image file. An administrator can set up a profile with the appropriate configuration for each user. The user then simply selects his or her name before starting a scan session.
I had some difficulty getting the paper in straight. However, the jam protection in ScanSnap makes this easy to correct.
When scanning in color or grayscale at 300 dots per inch or in black-and-white at 600 dpi, simplex or duplex, the S1500 can scan more than 20 pages per minute. However, at 600 dpi for color or grayscale scans (or 1200 dpi for monochrome), performance drops significantly — to about 4.5 pages per minute in my tests. For the occasional high-resolution document, that’s probably fast enough. But an organization that frequently needs high-resolution scans probably should consider a more advanced scanning solution.