Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tools, Gadgets, and Widgets - Document Scanner

Sorting and filing documents for my own family can be a time consuming task. Since I now have to keep records for my elderly parents, I was drowning in a sea of paper. I saw an ad on television for the Neat Desk Scanner The scanner allows you to scan in receipts, documents, and business cards singly or in batches. You can easily set up a filing system to electronically file your documents for easy retrieval.

The unit was easy to set up right out of the box. The OCR, optical character recognition software is far superior to OCR I have used in the past. I spent more time correcting OCR errors than I was able to use the document. Not with Neat Desk.   For the most part the scanning feature works well. There are a few problems if your document is smaller than the standard 8 1/2" x 11" feeder. Sometimes auto detect will read small documents as receipts. The problem is easily corrected by by manually selecting the document type in the scan window.

Scanning can work in the background while you sort the documents from the electronic in-box to your file or you can save sorting for a later time.  Documents can also be exported in PDF (portable document file) so you can easily share documents as e-mail attachments. 

There's a back up nag when exiting the program. The nag can easily be changed in the tool menu.

The Neat Desk software isn't set up for scanning photographs, but the Neat Desk community forum suggested using the Picasa 3 the free editing software from Google. I haven't spent much time organizing photographs, but in the test run, Picasa easily recognized the Neat Desk scanner and imported the photograph.

If you're a road warrior, Neat Desk has a portable unit so you can scan your receipts and create expense reports on the fly. Neat Desk also has units for Mac users.

Instead of purchasing the desktop unit from Neat Desk, I purchased from Amazon. The Amazon price was a few dollars cheaper and qualified for free shipping.


  1. You are my HERO! I've looked at this, but, well you know. I thought it was a cool idea for my parents since they travel so much. My question? Is it pre-weeble friendly?

  2. If your folks are fairly computer literate, they should have no problems with installation or operation. Help available through Help button or support at Neat Desk site.

  3. Wondering how useful this would be for the business. I'm pretty sure I have to keep original receipts...and even if I don't the business's resident weeble would FREAK.

  4. Actually, the IRS allows facsimile for receipts.

  5. But your right, your resident weeble would freak out. Though what your weeble don't know, your weeble won't mind.

  6. IRS does allow copies.
    Is it Mac friendly?

  7. Yes, Andy, there's a desktop model and a portable model just for Macs