The versatility of the Neat Desk and its compatibility with different applications make it the best document scanner on the market. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Document Scanners here.
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The Neat Desk is a compact and extremely fast document scanner and digital filing system. It can be used to scan a large number of documents simultaneously, and while it is scanning the papers, it will use software and drivers installed on your computer to automatically import the documents to different file types. This digital filing system is designed to take all of your hard copy data and help you store it efficiently on your computer.
The software will use text-recognition technology so that you can easily find the important data you are looking for using simple search fields. The Neat Desk digital filing system is so much more than just a simple document scanner. And it is so much more than just your average optical character recognition software.
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This document scanner combines the best of both worlds into one fantastic machine. More than just scanning a single document at a time, the Neat Desk document scanner will scan multiple documents simultaneously at an optical resolution of dpi. The Neat Desk digital filing system comes with very powerful and simple-to-use software that will automatically identify different characters on your documents.
Whether the papers you scan are business cards, receipts or legal documents, this optical character recognition, or OCR, software will be able to recognize all the different characters.
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This is extremely useful because it will make the documents searchable. The most basic import is the PDF file format. This is essentially taking a picture of the document and storing it on your computer. You can also compress the documents into a zipped folder and email large amounts of data to clients, friends or family. This is a file format commonly associated with photos, and if you are scanning pictures, this is one of the best options. It will help you preserve picture quality, and it is compatible with most, if not all, photo editing software.
All of these file formats and options offered by Neat Desk are useful and nice.
But the features that really make this document scanner stand out from the competition is the compatibility with all kinds of other file management applications. For example, after scanning in a series of receipts, the OCR software can automatically connect your expenses with QuickBooks. For a number of years I have used Neat to scan and store receipts, documents, etc. Well, neat is going away from desktop scan storage and they want to charge to use their cloud. Has anyone found an alternative to go paperless?
You could always just use the Image Capture software that comes with your Mac. But it is more meant for images, not scanning documents.
Preview also has a File, Import From Scanner command. Even if they did, I would probably not use it because you really need to have document scanning software that can handle multiple pages and filing. Both models include supporting software to make scanning and organizing your documents easy, and that also sync with the Neat mobile app for iOS and Android.
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Neat's angle is to get you hooked with the device, and then sell you additional services, like its Neat Cloud service, which is essentially a Dropbox clone with a monthly fee, or its NeatVerify service that puts a human eye on every document you scan to make sure it's been processed correctly. On its own though, the Neat scanner and software package make a powerful enough combination to keep your paper clutter to a minimum. Both models come with the desktop software.
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Several of you said that your smartphone's camera and an accompanying organizational app would work just fine for you. It's free, not including the cost of an app you may use, and it only requires the equipment you already own. This is true, but this is a perfect case of getting what you pay for: it may be free and easy, but it's slow, especially compared to the other contenders in the top five, and scanning large, multi-page documents you may want to digitize will undoubtedly be an agonizing process with a smartphone's camera.
If you want the document you photograph to be legible and useful, or even searchable once you save it and organize it, good luck. Still, enough of you nominated it that it's worth mentioning as an option. Photo by Mauricio Lima.
Neat Smart Organization System - Set Separate or Combined Scanning Mode Before Processing
Now that you've seen the top five, it's time to vote for the all-out Lifehacker community favorite. No real honorable mentions this week, since most of the nominees were variants on the above, or other ScanSnap models from Fujitsu, which says you guys really like them. Still, we're willing to bet that there are other models not represented that some of you prefer. Don't just complain that we "missed" them, let us know what your preferences are and why in the discussions below!
Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn't included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week.