My sister Sue is seven years older than me and— as she occasionally will point out— seven years wiser.
Sue is a family therapist and works with a number of clients. She’s been in practice for well over twenty years and consequently has a a large number of paper files. The state where she works mandates that she must keep these files for seven years.
Thus, it wasn’t surprising when I received an e-mail from her asking if I could suggest ways for her to go paperless.
It immediately occurred to me that Sue’s needs might not be unlike those of the typical solo attorney or small firm.
My suggestion was to use an inexpensive Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner to scan in her client files. Fortunately, I just happened to have a ScanSnap S510 sitting in my office. This would be the perfect test environment to develop a workflow and best practices for scanning in client records..
At about $400, the S510 comes with a full version of Acrobat Standard (that’s worth $299 right there) and has a rated scanning speed of 20 double-sided pages per minute.
Perhaps this is not the most elegant way to describe this device, but it is sort of a beginner’s scanner. Unlike more expensive devices, you cannot control the S510 directly from Acrobat or other applications because it lacks a TWAIN or ISIS driver.
The lack of TWAIN doesn’t mean that this isn’t a useful device. The ScanSnap S510 is a great scanner, but you do need to understand how to use it to best advantage.
|The ScanSnap S510 has since been replaced by the S1500. The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 Deluxe Bundle includes Acrobat 9 Standard and updated versions of the applications mentioned in this article.|
Read on to learn how to set-up and use the scanner. I’ve even included a downloadable PDF version of this article.
Setting up the Scanner
For the most part, follow the instructions in the Quick Start Guide which comes with the scanner.
I installed the following products which were included with the software bundle:
- ScanSnap Manager/Organizer
- Abby ScanSnap Edition OCR
You can set-up the S510 in about 30 minutes. Twenty-eight of those minutes will be spent installing the software. The installers do seem oddly dependent on having Internet Explorer as your default browser. the ABBY software installer opened up a Firefox window. When I clicked on the setup.exe it downloaded it to my desktop! I was able to open the CD and drill down to the setup.exe file to install it.
The ScanSnap driver installer had a link on it to the documentation which also did not work. I was able to explore the CD and get.
|Get the Documentation
Although there is a printed manual, it is not the same as the manual on the CD. Make sure you drag the ScanSnapManual.pdf file off the CD.
Setting up the Scanning Software
Out of the box, the scanner is a bit confusing to use. As configured, you get a lot of options.
I was most interested in creating a simplified workflow to:
- Scan in 300 dpi Black and White
- Scan to a specific folder
- Prompt to name the file
- Open the file in Acrobat for review
Follow the steps below to create this workflow:
- Create a folder on your computer where you want to save your client files.
Tip: Where should I put the folder?
I’d suggest creating a folder inside your My Documents folder such as:
C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\Client Files
- Right-click the “S” icon (scanner icon) in the task bar in the lower right corner of the screen:
- Deselect Use Quick Menu . Right-click again to deselect Show Scanning Results
- Right-click and choose Scan Button Settings
- Click the Application tab.
Choose the Standard Profile
Set the Application to Acrobat
- Click the Save tab.
A)Make sure the Standard profile is selected.
B)Click Browse button
Locate the folder where you want to store your files
e.g. C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\Client Files
C) Click the File Name Format . . . button
Click the Custom File Name Format radio button
D) Make sure that Rename File after scanning is checked
- Click the Scanning tab
A)Change the Quality to Better (Faster) for 400 dpi or leave it on Standard for 300 dpi.
B) Change the color mode to B&W
Tip: What resolution is that?
Normal = 300 dpi
Better = 400 dpi
Best = 600 dpi
Excellent = 1200 dpi
Tip: Handwritten Pages
If you have a lot of handwritten pages, you might find scanning in color to work better for you. Color scans are much larger, however, at about 200-300K per page compared to about 40K per page for B&W.
- Click the Paper Size tab
If the documents you scan are all 8.5 by 11, it is a good idea to preset the paper size.
A)Choose Letter from the Paper Size menu
C) Click OK
Scanning using the ScanSnap S510
Follow these steps for successful scanning:
- Remove staples, fan paper and place in the scanner input hopper.
> The paper goes top down, face to the back of the scanner.
- Adjust the scan guides so they are pretty tight against the side of the paper:
- Click the green SCAN button on the front of the scanner:
- I found that the S510 sometimes jams on the last page of the scan run. You can help guide the paper to prevent this.
Place your hand on the left side of the pages to keep the pages aligned as they run through the scanner:
- When the scan is complete, you will be prompted to rename the file:
Tip: Naming Files
Use a consistent naming scheme that will allow you to identify files quickly.
If you scan different types of files related to a client, you might consider Jenkins-Christine_notes.pdf and Jenkins-Christine_insurance.pdf as file names.
About Scan Profiles
A scan profile captures a setting such as dpi, color, application and location that you can re-use.
For example, perhaps you have five or six active cases going. You could scan directly into specific folders by setting up a different profile for each matter or client.
The ScanSnap comes with several profiles preset. You can add more or delete the existing ones.
You can access up to twelve different scan profiles by left-clicking the in the task bar:
Creating a Scan Profile
Here’s how to create a new Scan Profile:
- Right-click the in the task bar>
Choose Scan Button Settings
- The Profile window opens. Click the Add Profile button:
Give the profile a name and click OK.
- Choose any settings you desire among the various tabs in the window:
- Click OK when finished.
Oddly, you can’t rename or re-order profiles from the same window where you create them.
To handle these tasks, Right-click the in the task bar and choose Profile Management . . .
Scanners have parts which wear out from time to time.
A nice thing about the S510 is that it keeps track of how many pages you have scanned.
To check when you need to replace parts, Right-click the in the task bar and choose Check Consumables Supply.
The ScanSnap S510 is a very good performer! This is one of the few scanners that scans at rated speed:
|# of Pages / File Type||Scan Time||
|10 double-sided pages (20 total)||33 sec||
|10 double-sided pages (20 total)||41 sec||
|10 double-sided pages (20 total)||61 sec||
Pros and Cons
There’s a lot to like about the Fujitsu S510 scanner, but also a few things that could be better
- Fast Scanning
The performance for device that costs this little is amazing.
- Scan Profiles are easy to create
About $400 bundled with Acrobat Standard!
- Small desktop footprint
- Good scan quality
- Small scan sizes (once properly configured)
- Easy to set up
However, there are a few things that bug me about this device.
- Defaults for Beginners might not be so good
The default on the scanner is to use the Quick Menu. After scanning, the user is given just a few choice for the destination of the scan. That’s why I suggest disabling that option in the steps above. Instead, I think on first scan the software should offer a wizard to configure the software.
- What resolutions is that?
Fujitsu uses labels in the software as Standard, Fine, etc. What dpi is that supposed to be? I had to look this information up in the manual. Many attorneys know that they need to scan documents in black and white at 300 dpi. It’s more work than it should be to create those settings.
- ScanSnap Organizer
The ScanSnap includes an organization tool called the ScanSnap Organizer. This is one bizarre application! The iconography is right out of the 1980s and many features behave oddly. For example, if you click the Previous page arrow to navigate to the first page of the file while you are on the first page, it opens the file as if you double-clicked. It can’t even display thumbnails for PDFs with permission security.Various menu options just don’t do what you think they would.
- Color Modes
By default, the scanner chooses the color mode automatically. Unfortunately, it doesn’t choose black and white when it should, even on some documents I scanned which were entirely black and white. The file size implications of these choices are serious. I’ve heard from a number of attorneys who use the defaults and are creating files too big to e-mail. Out of the box, there isn’t simple way to choose B&W or Color for scanning.
- Paper Jams
I had a number of last page jams on the S510. Compared to the Fujitsu fi-6140 which just about never jams, it was alarming. The last page would get off track and in some cases it would wrinkle and tear. This seemed to be less of a problem with standard letter paper than with the thicker ink jet stocks. I did notice that it occurred less frequently as I put some "mileage" on the scanner. Perhaps the rollers were a bit too sticky initially. A few years ago I had another ScanSnap that just about never jammed.
- No TWAIN/ISIS Drivers
One key difference between the ScanSnap and higher end scanners is thatit does not include standard scanner drivers. The lack of drivers means you can’t operate the scanner directly from Acrobat or Photoshop, or use a different OCR program. For example, you may want to take advantage of ClearScan OCR in Acrobat. With a TWAIN scanner, you can scan and OCR in one step in Acrobat. With the ScanSnap, you have to scan then run OCR as a separate step. I greatly prefer the control offered via scanning directly in Acrobat.
Some features and screenshots in the documentation are different than on the software bundled with the scanner.
Final Thoughts and the Promised PDF User Guide
Once you set up the ScanSnap to work the way you need it to, it’s a great device. I’ve talked to many attorneys who would never give up their ScanSnap.
You can download my user guide for the scanner (Using the Fujitsu S510 ScanSnap with Adobe Acrobat) from this link or preview and download it via the Flash widget below.
You’ll need Adobe Flash 10 on your computer and make sure your IT folks do not block www.acrobat.com. You may also need to disable pop-up blockers.