Fujistsu Scansnap S1500M – The scanner that will change your life

Our goal in life is to simplify, and finally have technology make things easier for us, rather than more challenging. Unfortunately, the quest for simplicity and efficiency is usually thwarted, even frustrated, by products that fall short of glorious promises. So it’s rare when a product lands in our office and completely exceeds all expectations of performance, usefulness, and speed. This little gem of a scanner is our favorite hardware (not made by Apple), period. In the past, we tried (and often failed) to maintain a digital office, scanning every document, every receipt to make the retrieval of information easier. With the flat-bed scanners available as part of the all-in-one printers, keeping up with the document tide every week was almost impossible. Even dedicated, stand-alone Epson scanners – while excellent in scan quality, were slow. Having to flip the documents over on a flat-bed, to capture both sides, was tedious. The papers were “organized” in trays, then boxes, and those boxes grew.

With the purchase of Scansnap, all of that changed. This little scanner scans BOTH sides of a document simultaneously, with the speed of a sheet passing through a shredder. If you try it, you will want one. This is the one of the most addictive gadgets you will bring into your office. Clients who purchase one become giddy with excitement as they quickly feed their piles of papers through the magical scanning slot. But let’s get to some specs:

One button searchable PDF creation
Intelligent paper feed detection
20ppm color scanning
50-page automatic document feeder
Adobe Acrobat Pro included
Simultaneous front/back scanning via two CCD image sensors
Multi-feed detection
USB connectivity
600 dpi capable resolution

Video Intro Link: http://content.webcollage.net/apps/cs/mini-site/fujitsu/module/fujitsuamerica/wcpc/1328897538918?channel-product-id=PA03586-B105&enable-reporting=true&showtabs=

We’ve been using Scansnap for years now, and it has paid for itself many times over. Case in point: scanning check deposits before running them to the bank. In the past, we would receive notices from the bank from time to time, advising us that “unfortunately, you failed to include check X in you recent deposit”, and that the bank would be deducting said amount from our deposit. Thanks to our scans however, we are able to pull up copies of those checks, take them down to the bank, and demand that they find the missing checks. They always do. Before you suggest we change banks, note that this problem of “missing” deposits has happened with three major banks here in California. Changing banks did not make it go away. Having scans of our deposits available, did.

Once the documents are scanned, we label and organize the digital copies. Now if a two year-old contract needs to be reviewed, we can pull it up in seconds and email it if necessary. Need a print-out of an airline ticket, that receipt for a hotel stay for your last conference, a check that you handed the gardener three months ago? It’s all quickly and easily available thanks to Scansnap.

The unit has a small footprint, and when not in use, folds up into a neat little package. I will say that the automated document detection isn’t always perfect, and we don’t rely on that feature. If you put multiple pages in at once, Scansnap will combine them all into one, multi-page PDF document if you like. Also, we wouldn’t feed precious one-of-a-kind documents or photos through this machine. Any type of sheet-fed contraption has a risk of jamming, and possibly mangling that document or photo. Use the slower but safer flat-bed scanner for those.

Since the ScanSnap is a sheet-fed scanner, you won’t be able to scan the page of a book or some large item that can’t be fed through the machine. For larger items, you’ll still need a flat-bed scanner. As many printers these days are multi-function and include a scanner, that shouldn’t be a problem.

If you have a lot of documents to keep track of, we recommend the Scansnap S1500M. It changed our office environment dramatically, and had paid for itself in improved efficiency. We think you’ll love it. Note that there are different models of the ScanSnap hardware available. They have a Mac version, as well as a Windows version. If you’re on this site, you’ll want the Mac version – the S1500M, which currently retails for around $420.00.

And finally, save yourself some grief. After scanning all of your papers, make sure you have the digital versions of those documents verified and backed up BEFORE you shred the original documents. A client once shredded the contents of all his file cabinets, then accidentally trashed the digital files. Don’t let that happen to you.