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(Archived) Multifunction machine vs. dedicated scanner?


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I can see the value of scanning documents into Evernote and am thinking about the best way to do this:

  • Replace my old printer with a multifunction device (print, scan, fax, etc.). A few companies -- Ricoh and Lexmark -- have developed software specifically for Evernote integration.
  • Buy a dedicated scanner and a printer separately.

My questions:

  • Can anyone offer opinions of their experience with multifunction hardware/software and ease of use with Evernote?
  • As I scan the forums and articles on the web, the default option most are choosing seems to be a dedicated scanning device, with most leaning toward Fujitsu. What is going on here? Why do multifunction devices get so little discussion as an option?
  • Specific recommendations?

Thanks for your input.

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Personally, I don't think there is no one best scanner "for Evernote". (I'm a bit of a scanner maven, having five in my current arsenal.) IMO, the best scanner is one that's fast & does enough DPI so you can clearly read the document at 100% and is in your price range is good. Please note that Evernote has such a thing as import/watched folders. (Please search the board for more info should you need it.) So if your scanner will save docs to an imported/watched folder, that's pretty much the same as a "scan to Evernote" button.

Here are more of my observations on scanners:

I use a Xerox Documate 510 on Big Dog computer. (I name our cars & my computers.) It's got a good document feeder. Although it's not duplex, the software that comes with it (Paperport) allows you to "scan the other side" & it assembles the pages correctly. It's a flatbed, so you can scan things like pages from a book. I recently upgraded from Paperport 12 (that came with the Xerox when I bought it in January, 2007) to PP 14 Pro & like it a LOT better.)

I use the Scantini (Canon P150 - the same one Jamie uses, only the Windows version) on Old Dog computer or with my netbook. It's got an ok document feeder & is duplex (scans both sides during a single pass.) But I find I often need to only load a few pages in the ADF b/c it's not the best. (The Xerox one can handle 50 pages.) This is not a flatbed scanner, so it will not scan pages from a book, unless you rip the pages from the book. Since Big Dog is my main computer, I have Old Dog save the scans into Dropbox so they are then auto xferred to Big Dog. I can then move them from Dropbox to the appropriate place on Big Dog and drop a copy into Evernote, too. (That whole redundancy thing.)

The Scantini folds up fairly compact (4 x 11 x 1 1/2 inches). Paired with a netbook, you have a fairly compact scanning solution, if you don't want to use a camera.

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  • Level 5

I have found the dedicated scanned to be the way to go. My big flat bed scanner/printer is gathering dust. The ScanSnap is fast, efficient, and small. It can scan on one or both sides. It's small size makes it convenient to be right beside my keyboard for easy access. Fujitsu has a very helpful website with lots of tips as well.

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  • Level 5*

In my experience, the main drawback of a multifunction device is that they do everything pretty well, but nothing brilliantly.

I'm a Fujitsu convert, having used both a flatbed scanner and a photo setup for copying. I would now rather Scansnap stuff wherever possible, because it is so fast, so accurate and so easy. (Although I also check online for PDF options because that's even faster!)

I have done a couple of manuals so I have access both on my mobile and my desktop, and the only downside is that you have to destructively scan a book. However there are lots of scanned books online, so look around for what's available.

OCR your scanned file to ease the load on Evernote's hard-worked servers, and because it reduces the size of the file. I just OCR'd a 3.9MB PDF file and saw it shrink to 3.1MB without taking any other steps. That was 25 pages of small type.

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  • Level 5*

I'd say that it depends on lots of factors including the size of your workspace, your workflow, your budget, and so forth. For me, the dedicated scanner (a Fujitsu ScanSnap) was the way to go.

1. I don't print much anymore. I might print out a dozen pages a year now (return slips for Amazon and the like). With my iPad +Evernote + Scansnap I have been able to go digital.

2. I am impatient. I am scanning pages every day. Some days I might do several hundred. With the ScanSnap, I just feed them through. A flatbed scanner would be a nightmare.

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Thanks all for your input. From comments so far, I can see that I need to add Optimizing Workflow to my list of decision criteria, not just Minimizing Hardware Cost and Minimizing # of Devices. I am seeing the value of having a stand-alone scanning device.

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