SoundBite Summary: The NeatDesk is your greatest chance at a paperless existence. Combined with the NeatDesk software, the NeatDesk scanner automatically differentiates between documents, receipts and business cards, then extracts the text from the scanned PDF images and collates it into the appropriate files. For instance, when you scan a batch of business cards, you are left with a batch of contact files.
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/NeatDesk-Desktop-Scanner-Digital-Filing/dp/B001CQ8ER2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=office-products&qid=1260933045&sr=8-1
Setup: The un-boxing is easy enough. There are two cords, a power cord and a USB cord. The software is straightforward in its installation, but has to be registered…
Software: I tried the Mac version of the NeatDesk. One thing I found odd was that you have to have the NeatDesk software open in order to begin a scan. It would be much easier if the software would automatically start up when the scan button is pushed on the NeatDesk. Other than that however, the software automatically categorizes the type of scan and performs OCR scanning of text automatically–showing you content fields with relevant information from the scan. Another thing I thought worth noting was that the scans are stored in a specialty NeatDesk library. You can access the library and find the actual files, but there is a single database for all your scans.
- Usability: Its actually pretty easy to get to the point noted above because almost all of it is automatic; even the feed tray has separate sized slots for different types of documents. Once you have a few things scanned, it is easy to organize your scans by type and then drag them into specialty folders. Folders are actually helpful because it lets you see all your extracted information in one window. When you are in the receipts folder you can a list of your receipts with a column of expenditure locations, dates, amount, payment type and sales tax…like a spreadsheet for your scanned receipts. Im not sure if I would actually use that feature for tax purposes or budgets, but it is definitely very cool to have. I would imagine some businesses finding the receipt collating indispensable.
Overall Review: I was really excited to get the NeatDesk and thought it might be a really good way to archive all of my physical papers and clean up a mess. In some senses, the NeatDesk pulled through. When connected properly, the NeatDesk can take small piles of papers and digitally archive them in a very easy and straightforward way. However, unless you have a computer connected and on all day, there is no real way you are going to get the NeatDesk into you everyday routine. Rather, you are going to wait until there is a big stack of messy papers to set up the whole system and scan them all in. The only way to avoid that problem, I think, is to have some type of on board or removable memory port so that you can just scan things without a computer–saving the computer syncing and archiving for later. Thus although not perfect, this is a really nice and simple way to clean up your desk and go digital!