Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Desktop Document Scanner Review

fujitsu-scansnap-ix500

The ScanSnap iX500 once again proves Fujitsu knows how to do desktop scanners better than everyone else. The iX500 improves the best features of its predecessor, and adds some killer new ones, like the ability to scan to any mobile device straight from the scanner, with no computer required.

The ScanSnap iX500 keeps Fujitsu at the top of our top picks for scanners. Here’s why.

Price and features

At about $430 on Amazon, including a copy of Acrobat X Standard for Windows,1 the ScanSnap remains the best deal. Acrobat X Standard is $299 on its own, and it is essential for a functioning paperless office.

Of course, the bundled copy of Acrobat won’t matter to you if (a) you have a Mac, since only the Windows version is included, or (b) you already have Acrobat Pro or you have the current-as-of-this-writing version of Acrobat, XI. Even so, the ScanSnap’s price tag is competitive. The closest competitor is probably the Epson GT-S55, at $624, and the budget option in the category is the Brother ADS-2000, at $290. But the ScanSnap iX500 is substantially better than both, and it has a lot more to offer, feature-wise.

The iX500 has the usual spec bumps you would expect to see in a new version of an existing product. Speed is 25ppm/50ipm, up from 20ppm/40ipm for the aging S1500. It has a fancier paper picker, apparently less prone to error (although this was never really a problem with my previous ScanSnaps). And it can be connected to more cloud services, like Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, Salesforce, and SugarSync.

But the new headline feature is wi-fi and the ScanSnap Connect app for iOS and Android. This means your ScanSnap iX500 no longer needs to be connected to a computer. You can scan directly to your phone or tablet. More on how this work below, but the wi-fi is extremely well-done, and make the iX500 a compelling choice for big mobile scanning jobs, as well as sitting on your desk.

Hardware and design

I have never been a big fan of Fujitsu’s design for the ScanSnap line, which was an awkward cross between consumer and business that never quite worked. The iX500 finally strikes the right balance, I think. The simple matte black looks fine on your desk at home or at the office. It is unobtrusive without being unattractive. Not that style should be a major concern when scanner shopping.

The iX500 seems to be built in the same chassis as the S1500, although the document feeder has been beefed up a bit. It’s almost the same size, too, so if you are upgrading from the S1500, you won’t need to clear any extra room on your desk.

There are a couple of improvements to the hardware that you will never see. First, and most importantly, Fujitsu stuck a processor inside the iX500 to speed up image processing and handle processing when it is not plugged into a computer. It even handles optical character recognition to speed up OCR and make it possible when disconnected. That means you can leave your computer at home and scan to a phone or tablet, instead.

Like most document scanners these days, the iX500 has an ultrasonic multi-feed detector. And to reduce the chances you will need it, there is a new “Separation Roller” setup for paper picking.

Software

The ScanSnap Manager bundled with the iX500 is just an update, not a re-working. It does what ScanSnap Manager has always done: enable you to scan documents simply and efficiently to your computer or to the cloud.

Fujitsu bundles some bloatware with its scanners, too, including:

  • Cardminder Business Card Software
  • ABBY FineReader Express (as far as I can tell, Acrobat handles OCR, so ABBY seems to be duplicative)
  • ScanSnap Organizer (I hate proprietary document management add-ons)

There is some new software that does not come in the box, though, and it is the big news: the ScanSnap Conncet app for iOS and Android. It is free, and it is excellent. More below.

Performance

Everything about the ScanSnap iX500 is quicker, more reliable, and better than its predecessor. While it scans at 25ppm, a fairly standard speed, the process of getting a document from scanner to destination feels much faster than the competition. That is due, in large part, to the new on-board processor. Image processing and OCR are definitely much faster than they were on the S1500, or on competing compact desktop scanners.

So the iX500 is a great desktop scanner, but it also delivers on mobile scanning.

Mobile scanning with the ScanSnap iX500 is a stark contrast to my experience with the Doxie Go or Xerox Mobile Scanner. Which is a bit ironic, considering those are purpose-built mobile scanners. Instead of working with the hard-to-set-up Eye-Fi system, Fujitsu built its own apps. Like most things ScanSnap, setup is a cinch. When you open the app, it will look for the scanner’s wireless signal and ask for a password. When the Scan button on your device is glowing blue, you are good to go.

You only have to connect your scanner to your phone or tablet once, by the way. Once they are connected, you can pick up your ScanSnap iX500 and take it with you (no computer necessary) and scan straight to your phone or tablet. The app has a Scan button, and when it is glowing blue, your connection is good. Press the button, and the iX500 scans just as quickly as it would if you were scanning from your computer (unlike the Eye-Fi setups).

So the iX500 is a big mobile scanner. Is it too big? I don’t think so. You don’t need a computer, so you can carry it in a fairly small bag. Which would you rather do, carry the iX500 to a document review, or carry a bankers box away from a document review? I’ll take the latter option every time.

Here is a sample scan (pdf) of the same document I have used with our other scanner reviews.

Who should buy this?

If you are in the market for a desktop document scanner, this is the one you should buy. There’s no other scanner I would want sitting on my desk.

If you already have a scanner and are wondering if you ought to upgrade, ask yourself whether you want the option to scan to a phone or tablet at desktop scanning speeds. If you do, get the ScanSnap iX500. If you never plan to disconnect your scanner from your computer, it is not as compelling an upgrade, unless you just want the latest and greatest (or you don’t want to wait as long for scans to finish).

fujitsu scansnap ix500 150x150 Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Desktop Document Scanner Review

Summary

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500

Reviewed by Sam Glover on .

Summary: The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 is the scanner you should buy if you are in the market for a desktop document scanner. Bonus: it goes mobile.

Breakdown:

  • Price and features: 5
  • Hardware and design: 5
  • Included software: 5
  • Performance: 5

Overall score: 5 (out of 5)


  1. Mac users can already edit PDF documents in Preview. 

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  • David

    when wi-fi scanning to a phone, does OCR happen in the ScanSnap or does it still happen on the PC?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      It does not appear to do OCR when scanning to a mobile device. I can think of a couple of ways to get around that, but all involve getting back to your computer.

  • http://constructionlawva.com Christopher G. Hill

    Thanks for the review Sam. Is it worth the upgrade from the S1500?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      From my review:

      If you already have a scanner and are wondering if you ought to upgrade, ask yourself whether you want the option to scan to a phone or tablet at desktop scanning speeds. If you do, get the ScanSnap iX500. If you never plan to disconnect your scanner from your computer, it is not as compelling an upgrade, unless you just want the latest and greatest (or you don’t want to wait as long for scans to finish).

      This goes for the S1500 as well as any other scanner.

  • Josh Williams

    Does the iX500 enable wi-fi scanning to your computer?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Nope.

  • http://www.OfficiallyOrganized.com Tracy

    I agree with your review totally! I’m using it now at a clients and loving not having to hook up my computer – just scanning docs we need for completing a project and when I get home I can open them on my computer. Awesome scanner and company!

  • Gary

    Here’s a test I’d like someone to do: Take a passport and run it through the iX500.

    My ScanSnap S1500 mangled the passport when I tried this test.

    If the iX500 can scan a passport, I want one.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      My S1500 scanned my passport just fine. Did you use the carrier sheet?

  • anacatherine

    Does the iX500 enable wi-fi scanning to your computer ? thanks

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Nope, just to mobile devices. I’m not sure why not, actually. Since it has wi-fi, I would love to scan wirelessly to my computers, too.

  • Stephen

    Thanks for your reviews! I got a defective iX500 and was tempted to jump ship to the Brother ADS-2000. Your reviews and test files to download helped me to decide that it was worth sticking with the iX500 and make it work.

  • Fraidy

    I got a defective scanner. First, sometimes it did work and sometimes it didn’t. I had to disconnect it a few times to get it to work. Now, it doesn’t even power on. Should I try getting a new one or should I just give up on this whole ix500 scanner?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Why would you give up on a scanner I just rated a 5?

  • Steve Hayes

    Is an iX300 far behind? For portable scanning, that would be my preference.

    • Steve Hayes

      Answering my own comment, I discovered that Fujitsu also makes the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i. This has the same cloud capabilities as the 500 and is a much smaller, more portable unit, similar to its prior S300 or S1300. It’s $256 on Amazon. For out-of-the office use, this would be a far better option.

      • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

        The difference, of course, is that with the S1300i, you have to take your laptop with you. With the iX500, you can leave it at home.

  • Sierra

    I’m so not a technophile, but so want a scanner.

    Not fully understanding all the ABBY/Acrobat/Word stuff, can I scan documents into a searchable document that will work with Mac Programs- Word for Mac, or Pages? That is really the only reason I want to have a scanner. If it can’t do that, it’s not worth $500 to me (which about the best price in Canada with taxes)

    Thanks!!

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Yes.

  • Paul Majors

    Sam, I didn’t notice if you mentioned that the iX500 is also USB 3.0 compatible. I invested in a 4 port add in USB 3.0 card for about $23 with my purchase from Amazon. This increase in speed was remarkable. This scanner is “smokin” fast and one of the smartest investments I have made for my practice in a long time. I could also take advantage of my USB 3.0 compatible external harddrives.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      I didn’t even think about it, but that’s good to know. Thanks!

  • Dennis

    Have you had any experience with the deluxe edition that includes Rack2-Filer Smart and Magic Desktop? I didn’t now if the software was worth the additional $20 or if it was just another junky piece of software to clog up my PC.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      I don’t think document management software is worth it, so I would skip the deluxe bundle.

  • http://piedmonttriadlaw.com Brett Moore

    Just bought one of these on your recommendation. It’s nearly the best thing I have ever owned. It’s a must buy, even if you’re not planning on going paperless.

  • https://plus.google.com/+ArvidBux Arvid Bux

    To be able to scan directly to Evernote of Gdrive, do I need to do that via a PC or Mac? Or can I also perform those taks without a PC/Mac?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      You can do that from either a PC or a gadget. (Macs are PCs too, FYI.)

      • https://plus.google.com/+ArvidBux Arvid Bux

        Thanks for the speedy response Sam. Much appreciated. Apologies, you’re right. I meant Windows of course ;-)

        Was hoping I wouldn’t need an additional device in order to scan to a cloud service. Guess I am demanding too much.

        • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

          I’m not aware of anything that will allow you to scan straight to the cloud without going through a PC, tablet, or phone. It seems like it ought to be possible, but then, I always have my phone, so it’s not much of an imposition.

  • curious

    i know its not possible to scan directly to your computer via wi-fi and it can only do it to your tablet/phone etc… but once on the tablet/phone then what? how do you get it onto your computer? do you have to email manually sync? or from the tablet can it upload to Google drive or evernote or skydrive automatically?

    if so then it would appear on your computer the next time you turn it on wouldn’t it? so it would de-facto scan to your computer just through the intermediary of your tablet -> cloud service > sync to your computer.

    can you confirm this is possible? i have my finger on the purchase button, but i really want to easily get my scans onto my computer.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      If you watch the video, you will see exactly how it works, but yes, you can share from the app to email, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

      • curious

        thanks, sorry didn’t see the video, but i did go back and watch it.

        is there any way to send multiple pdf’s to google drive (or insert favorite cloud service here) at once? or do you have to click on each PDF to view/move it to google drive?

        • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

          One at a time only.

  • Debbie

    I have 2 mobile home parks and some houses that are rentals. I need something to keep records for the diffrent properties for taxes at the end of the year. What do you think would work best for me?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      This scanner. It’s my top recommendation for scanning things.

  • gates

    Sam, can I load software on not only y laptop but my desktop as well?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Yes. You can install the ScanSnap software on all your computers. The Acrobat software includes a desktop and laptop (or home and work), I believe.

      • Oxxie

        I’m attorney. Can I scan documents to the ix500 then drag what I have scan to a CD? So when I go to court, I can put the CD to my laptop.

        • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

          You can do the same things with scanned documents that you can do with any other files on your computer. So, yes. Although using a CD is pretty clunky. Why not use Dropbox or a USB drive?

  • Amy

    Could you elaborate on the use of this scanner with a Mac – am I correct that it doesn’t come with Acrobat for Mac? What am I losing, and am I overpaying for a scanner that doesn’t include software I can use? Thanks.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      It does not come with Acrobat for Mac, which means you don’t get Acrobat. Does that mean you are getting ripped off? I don’t really think so, since no other scanner I know of comes with Acrobat for Mac, either. The ScanSnap is still a good price and the best scanner.

  • Vaughan

    I have watched video and from the comments above I see that wifi to PC scan is not possible. I do not see how this scanner is used in a network. Currently I scan documents to a shared folder on the server through a network connection. Is this possible with this scanner.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      No, this is not a networkable scanner. Those are a bit more expensive.

  • Jean-Denis Muys

    It’s probably worth mentioning that, contrary to what the review states, Adobe Acrobat is definitely not needed for a paperless office on the Mac. I would go further and says that it would not be really useful. The reason is that the PDF file format is native to MacOS X: you can produce one from any application that can print, and you can read and annotate one with the built-in preview application. If you need more sophisticated PDF processing, there are a number of 3rd party inexpensive apps that are very powerful. For example I scripted (with Applescript) a very powerful solution that opened and scanned through a 28000-page PDF document, and split it in smaller 3 to 8 page subdocuments depending on page content. I tried to open the original PDF document in Adobe Acrobat: it crashed (perhaps because it was too big). I did that with PDF Clerk Pro by Sintraworks (http://sintraworks.com/index.php/sintraworks/pdfclerk_home). Not to mention that Sintraworks was very responsive in their support, even fixing a bug I found in short order.

    At this point in time, my paperless office is PDF-based and Adobe-free. No issue at all.

  • Richard Horn

    Thanks for your review and comments from others, Sam. However, I have not seen any comments on the ScanSnap’s ability to scan business cards, extract data from them, and store it in both image form and say into Outlook; and then to be able to search for the data. Any experience with that application? Thanks.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      I think there are much better ways to get business cards into your system, so I don’t use Fujitsu’s card-scanning software. However, I did use it once upon a time, and it worked pretty well, and I can only imagine it has improved since then.

  • Gary

    Appreciate your practical, straightforward review, and all the informative comments. I was wondering how the scanner does on photos, and whether there is the flexibility to manually adjust the resolution and light/dark settings. Although you dislike organizing software for scanned images, do you now if the ix500 works with PaperPort?

  • http://www.spencefirm.com Garrett Brierley

    We have used Scansnap for 10 years. Lately, however, with recent security upgrades by windows we have found that ScanSnaps have difficulty connecting to the computer. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Apparently Fujitsu knew this and created a recover connection utility Any trouble with the new one?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      None that I’ve noticed so far. I’m mostly using it on a Mac, but I also tested it on Windows 7 without any problems.

  • Pam

    Thank you so much for your insight into this scanner. I see the pros for this printer but I would like to know if they are any cons. Thanks!!

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      The only real “con” is the lack of TWAIN support, which should only matter to you if you already know you need TWAIN.

  • Pam

    TWAIN is for photos and I want this scanner for documents, receipts, statements, etc.

  • Pete Pearson

    Please excuse the ignorance because I’m a first time desktop scanner shopper and have never been accused of being a deep thinker when it comes to IT stuff. I’ve checked the manufacturer’s site and don’t see an answer to this question.

    I already have a scanner of sorts (HP Officejet PRO 8600. The HP is an “All-In-One”) that does decently with small scan jobs. It’s slow (2.25 ppm or so) and doesn’t do what I need for large documents. In the past I have handled most large document production needs the old fashioned way (copies). I want to start scanning medicals that sometimes run 100 or 200 pages (I have a PI practice) for demands and RPD responses so I can transmit them on CDs/DVDs/flash drives, via the cloud or something.

    My question – how does this machine do at large jobs? I see the ADF holds 50 pages. Is it easy to tell the machine you are not “done” after it pulls the first 50 pages through? I ask because on my current machine if my document exceeds the size of the ADF holder I have trouble getting it to accept more pages as being part of the same pdf. (This may be due to my limitations, not those of the machine). Regardless, I’d like a machine that is faster and it looks like what you are recommending is roughly 10x faster than what I’ve got. Thanks very much.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Yes, it’s easy to continue scanning after the hopper is empty. I just scanned a pretty hefty trial transcript the other day, and I’ve mowed through bankers boxes in the past.

  • http://www.sjfpc.com STEVEN J. FROMM, ATTORNEY, LL.M. (TAXATION)

    Just got this baby. This is a joy to operate and makes things so much easier to run my office. Absolutely the best thing I have bought in a while. Thanks for the recommendation, Sam.

  • Camburn

    Does this scanner do double sided scans?

    I can not find in the specs if it does or not.

    Thank you.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Yes.

  • David Wilson

    Hi Sam,

    Can you tell me the scanning document length capabilities? I need to scan legal documents (2 sided). Will the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 handle this?

    Thanks,

    David W

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Yep, no problem. It will go a bit longer than that, actually.

  • John Muench

    Hi all,

    I am confused … It appears as if both the NeatDesk and the ScanSnap iX500 should automatically shuffle the scan to your designated file; yet I do not see any verbiage for it.

    I have a Windows 8 Computer with MS Office. I would like this (which ever one is best), to scan and add to a file. Receipts would allow me to automatically add a receipt and categorize it. Is such automation possible, or available? Is such automation available with MS Office? Thanks, John.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Not really, no. You can automatically save everything to a single folder, but you have to do any other sorting yourself.

  • Pete Pearson

    I bought this and love it. Fast. Simple. But it does not appear to be designed to allow me to scan direct to my computer without using the USB – no wireless scanning. It will scan to my phone or tablet, but not my office computer. Any way around that?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Not yet. The Fujitsu rep gave me a wink when I asked about this at TechShow, so I think it’s coming in a software update.

    • http://www.rebeccaphalen.com/ Rebecca Phalen

      There is now an update that does allow wireless scanning. Easy enough that I did it on my own very quickly.

  • Christina Forbes

    After all the reviews, the TWAIN element of Brother ADS 2000 lured me in. I picked one up on Saturday (Microcenter), tried for over 3 hours to get it to scan two pages without gumming up, it sounded like a mack truck on a dirt road and I took it back on Sunday. Full refund. Bought the ScanSnap iX500, and 15 minutes later, in silent swishing, put a whole month of bills through, all different sized and thicknesses. Like a dream, downloaded to the exact file folder, and I am a happy camper. My law office, here i come!!! I would recommend that you zoom past go and get the ScanSnap and not mess around with other brands.

  • dawk

    My question is simple does this scanner work with IMAC? If so is there anything special I need to buy in order to use it right out of the box? Thank you

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Yes, it works with Mac. No, you don’t need anything special.

  • Bill

    What do you think about using to scan old photos? Speed and quality? Thanks

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      If you want to scan photos, get a photo scanner, not a document scanner. If you aren’t worried about getting the best quality, though, the ScanSnap will get the job done.

  • eric

    How good is this scanner in scanning receipts?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Very good. I just stack mine in the document feeder at the end of each quarter.

  • Rich

    Do you know if an IMac with Parallels loaded with Windows 7 will handle the Fujitsu provided Windows software especially Acrobat X? Also, I assume there is a different driver for the the Mac OS and Windows 7. Correct?

  • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

    If you have a Mac, you don’t need Parallels to use a ScanSnap. There’s Mac software in the box. If you want to use Acrobat X, you would need Parallels, though, or the Mac version of Acrobat X.

    • http://www.sportsandentertainmentlawplaybook.com/ joe bahgat

      If you buy the ScanSnap that comes bundled with Acrobat X (for windoze) you can purchase a cross-platform upgrade from Adobe (I don’t know the current cost).

  • Rich

    Thanks for your help. You are doing a great service.

  • Zsolt67

    Is itt possible to scan small receipts? Also can it scan different size documents in one batch?

  • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

    Yes and yes.

    • Zsolt67

      Thank you. One small detail about file numbering. Is the scanner software keep increase the file number after I removed some file from the target folder? My old cannon scanner switched back to zero for example if I deleted all files from the target folder which was a problem when i organizing the files.

      • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

        You can remove files from the target folder without impacting the file numbers used on files scanned in the future.

  • David Brock

    When I go to search a keyword in my folder it always comes up empty. I thought I would be able to search in my receipts folder and type “Staples” or “shirt” and it would be able to find the receipts with those keywords in it. Either that technology does not exist, or I am doing something wrong. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      You need to make sure you are using OCR, and that your search tool is configured to search contents, not just file meta.

      • David Brock

        I’m using the Rack2-Filer software that came with the ScanSnap iX500. I will try your suggestion. Thanks!

        • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

          No idea, then. I’ve never seen the need for document management software.

  • Wayne McKinney

    There are two scanners on Amazon, mit and mit out the Read2 bundle. If I buy the cheaper one, do I still get ScanSnap?

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Yes. The difference is the Rack2Filer software, not the scanner.

  • vincent

    We run 3 websites. The start of the day we print 100’s of papers each one a customers order. A person in the ware house pulls the order and packs it. We then take that paper and file it away. if a customer says he or she is missing something the first thing we do is look for the order the warehouse person used to pull it. This can be very time consuming if it was a month ago we would need to look in 100’s of papers. Can this item take each one of those papers and store the pull and pack list in each area and then can i look up each paper by the invoice number?

    thank you

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      The scanner just scans things. You could easily scan each invoice and save it with the invoice number, then sync up the documents between workstations. That’s fairly trivial, with something like Dropbox. But if this is mission-critical, you should probably be working with an IT consultant to create a solution that works for you.

  • Oldgraymare

    Would you know if both the s1300i and the ix500 can be installed on the same Mac? Will it install 2 versions of software?

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      All the ScanSnaps use the same software. I don’t think you can have two plugged in at the same time, though. Why would you want to?

  • Alex

    I am a big fan of the design of the scanner, it makes me think of tron, but wouldn’t it better if it was an all in one?

  • Laura

    I have had this scanner for about 3 or 4 months now & it’s not working!! It worked one day & then the next day I tried to turn it on & the blue light came on but nothing happened!! So I left it alone & the next day I tried it again & it started to scan about half-way through everything I was scanning it stopped & the wheels on the inside just kept turning for 2 or 3 minutes by themselves!! & now it has stopped working altogether!! Very stressful cause now I don’t know what’s wrong with it or how to fix it WITHOUT having to take it to someone & pay more money!! Can anyone help??

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Try Fujitsu’s customer support. It’s actually quite good.

      • Laura

        Thank you!! I will try that!! =)

  • jim@cooklawpc.net

    Sam – I bought the ScanSnap S1500 partly based upon your recommendation. Its been great BUT it wont scan handwritten images or very small letters, like a bank routing number, etc. Do I need to upgrade or is it me being a dummy? Any help greatly appreciated. Jim

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      What do you mean it won’t scan those things? Do you mean it won’t recognize the text, or you can’t get the paper through the scanner?

      If it’s an OCR problem, that’s the software, not the scanner. Nothing I’m aware of does a very good job with handwriting, and the tininess of the letter is certainly a factor. Ratcheting up the resolution should help with the latter, though.

  • annie

    i want to buy this scanner because i need to get rid of years of paper, however I was wondering if you can just save to a flashdrive? do not feel comfortable with saving on the cloud just yet and have a really old laptop with limited memory. Can you help me?

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      You can save the documents you scan to whatever you like. Your flash drive will work just fine.

  • Mac

    Sam: I am wanting to buy the ix500. One question. How large are the files from an accurate and reasonable quality scan, saved in pdf file format? I suppose I would define an accurate and reasonable quality scan as one that you can email easily, open easily, and can be read easily without issues about what certain words or letters are. Thanks. Mac

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      It depends on how big of a document you are scanning, of course, but at the quality required by the courts, a one-page color scan is 156 KB. A two-page black-and-white scan is 86 KB. A 36-page brief in which all but one page is black and white is 3.6 MB.

      • Mac

        Thanks……That closes the deal…..What I am using now produces a file that is as much as 10x larger than that and I bet the quality is not nearly as good. Mac

  • Bill B from SD

    Just got mine today, (largely because of your reviews). I could not possibly agree more. This thing is a life changer.

  • coastaldata

    I just got the Neat Scanner recently, not because it was the “best” or the “fastest” scanner, but because when you scan receipts it recognizes the vendor, the tax amount, and the total amount, and then allows you to assign expense categories, and then, it can even push this data to QuickBooks or email it as an expense report. Does the ScanSnap software do anything like this, or is this functionality exclusive to Neat? Of course, the Neat scanner really fails because it can ONLY work with the Neat Desk software, and does not present itself to Windows as an installed device. Thoughts?

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Does that actually work for you? The last time I reviewed the Neat software, it didn’t work as advertised.

      Anyway, that’s not a killer feature, for me. It’s easier to just download information to QuickBooks directly from your bank.

      • coastaldata

        Yes, it actually works pretty well. In QB, in order for things to work optimally, you need to have both sides of the transaction, the bill and the payment. While you can enter the matching side of the transaction against the downloaded transaction, it can be more error prone, and does not provide as good of reporting for expenses. For the expense report, I sometimes use a customers’ credit card to make purchases for them, and Neat creates an Excel document with the numbers of the first sheet, and the images on the next sheet… This makes me a hero with the customers bookkeeper, and now she wants Neat for herself, but I wanted to make sure there isn’t something better out there.

      • http://www.internetontrial.com/ joe bahgat

        I agree with Sam. I asked Santa for a Neat scanner, back in 2009, and I put up with it for about a year before stepping up to a (marginally) capable Canon all-in-one. About a year after that, I finally bit the bullet and bought a ScanSnap S1500M, and after I did, I’d wished I’d done it long before.

        Ironically, though I now consider the Neat line of scanners as tech toys, that 2009 xmas gift ultimately put me on the right path to becoming a paperless ninja.

      • N67

        Agreed. Scanning then to quicken is not productive. Keeping accounts syn’d between them… Change a category in quicken, do it again in Neat. If you ever abandon or they abandon their database, you have nothing left. All scans inside a database… Not future proof.

  • http://www.milradlaw.ca/ Lou Milrad

    Based very much upon this review and the many helpful comments, I this week purchased the unit, and immediately scanned in a couple of piles of business cards that have been sitting in the corner And for which I had previously used CardScan and which I basically abandoned after the company no longer maintained a web-based integration capability. ScanSnap is exceptionally fast and it’s an absolute joy to be able to control it from my iPhone. Unlike the majority of document fed scanners (which tend to periodically destroying documents as they passed through the feeding mechanism, ScanSnap provides a feed through that only “very occasionally” catch a document. This seems to only occur when the paper guides are set properly. A couple of functions didn’t operate as smoothly as I had anticipated, but problem was soon solved by going to the Fujitsu site and downloading the most current version of the varied software applications.

  • Karlyn

    I am a teacher . Would the scan snap work to scan 30 plus pieces of daily student class work from multiple classes? Does it recognize hand printed words? Thank you!

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Yes and yes.

  • Nancy

    This is my first scanner after doing the research. I was very disappointed in the lack of directions so I’ve been scouring the internet trying to find help since I’m brand new to all this cloud stuff and other software. I have the ix500 and it’s super fast! Can you recommend where to save business cards to that would be accessible from both laptop and iphone/ipad? Also, I’m trying to manipulate data and having a hard time … is there a “help” desk at the company I could call and talk to someone? I don’t really know what some of the software is for, why it’s included or how to use it :-( I SO want to get organized but I’m having a hard time getting started. What is Magic Desktop used for? Do I really need it? Thank you so much for all your help in advance … a direct line would be nice! LOL

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      The long, involved answer starts with “it depends.” It would be impossible to give that answer here.

      The easy answer that will probably save you a lot of time and meet your needs is “get Evernote and put everything in it.”

      That wouldn’t be the right answer if you were a law firm, but it sounds like you’re mostly doing this for personal use, in which case Evernote is awesome.

  • notacar

    Looks like the ix500 is a step backwards for Linux users as Fujitsu does not play nicely with the SANE project and the backend therefore had to be reverse-engineered. Yuk.

  • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

    I just learned that the iX500’s operating parameters are not ideal for a Minnesota basement office in January. The official parameters are apparently 41–95ºF, and 20–80% humidity. My iX500 sits about 1 foot from a concrete block wall that is probably hovering near freezing. I sit in front of a space heater, but it doesn’t warm up much of the rest of the room. And there’s no way the humidity is above 20%.

    The iX500’s paper-picking rolls are just spinning on the paper. Even with help, they will barely pull anything through.

    This is not really a knock on the ScanSnap. I doubt its operating temperature is much different than any other scanner. But since we’ve got at least another week of sub-zero temperature in the forecast, it looks like I’ll need to bring my scanner upstairs if I want to scan anything this week.

  • Andre Pereira

    Hello, I would like to know if it’s possible the scanner working at a server, who doens’t have a user logged on. I’d tested that but the scanner doesn’t scan. It’s possible to do this??
    Thank you very much.

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Fujitsu does have a networkable scanner, the ScanSnap N1800, but the iX500 won’t run from a server, as far as I know.

  • Jan

    can this scanner (wireless) be linked to different computers?

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Apparently not. One at a time.

  • John Longfellow

    I’ve just completed my first year as a business owner :) and have tons of receipts to go through. NeatDesktop caught my attention, but Fujitsu keeps coming up as the better choice in the different blogs I’ve been scouring. My question… Will the ix500 allow me to scan all my receipts then with included software, help be categorize and play well with QuickBooks? Thanks in advance Don!

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      No. But the best way to get your receipts into QuickBooks is to connect QuickBooks to your bank account, not to manually enter all your receipts — with or without the help of a scanner.

      • John Longfellow

        Don, that makes sense, but my bank account will not have itemized receipt information for an audit, right? So, I’ve noticed that “Outright” imports transactions as they appear in my bank account, and then allows me to attach a receipt image. After doing a little more research, seems like scanning the receipts, uploading to a service such as Shoebox, then connecting your software, in my case, Outright… to shoebox to attach those receipt images…. has become the standard for small business. Am I missing something? After all, I am new at all of this. Thanks in advance!

        • Donnie

          Use one credit card for all purchases. Ask your CPA or accountant what detail you need to go into. You are talking about doing a lot of work. Make sure you need to do the work before you do it.

  • HawkOwl

    Hi, I’ve been considering the NeatDesk, and now this ScanSnap, to enter receipts into my Mac (I have a paper pile that is nearly 3 years old!). So, I’m wondering two things: Is this useful for home organization? That is what the NeatDesk is billed as. And, can I use this to scan and print photos and such?
    Oh, another question: can the scanned documents be edited? I used to be a paralegal and darned if I could remember what the name of the page scanner we had 15 years ago was… Thanks!

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Yes, it is useful for home organization. And you can use it to scan photos, although if you’re looking for high-quality scans, get a good flatbed scanner, not a sheet-fed document scanner.

      You cannot edit scanned documents. The scan just creates an image. This is true for all scanners.

      However, the software that comes with the ScanSnap will let you recognize the text and turn the document into MS Office documents. Sometimes, this works really well. Other times, not so much, but it is the closest thing there is to scanning a document for editing.

      • HawkOwl

        Thanks so much! Does it work well, recognizing the text, reading it, sorting receipts? NeatDesk makes some pretty lofty claims! And either way, you just have them in a file somewhere, right? They don’t’ get entered into Quicken automatically, right? I guess I should/could go to their websites and research there. I was just wondering what real life people are doing with it and how they like the software.
        Thanks again!

        • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

          Neat works with QuickBooks. I don’t know about Quicken. In any case, just connect Quicken to your bank accounts. Scanning your receipts and loading them into Quicken is the most cumbersome thing I can imagine. And totally unnecessary, unless you just use cash.

          • N67

            Had the neat, returned it. It does export then import into quicken with too too many errors. All the dates come in from 11-jan-99 to nov-01’99 which will sort at the very top due to the ’99. Called tech support, they said import into quicken then fix the dates. Yeah. RETURN.

          • MathisDairy

            Hi Sam, great review! Could you expand on your suggestion to connect Quicken/QuickBooks to your bank account instead of scanning in receipts? My bank account only has summary transaction details, not detail. So if my goal is to create a paperless office, how would my linked bank account create the audit trail I need for my small business?

            • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

              What do you mean by an audit trail?

              • MathisDairy

                Basically a proof of purchase of the specific items and services on each transaction to submit in the event of an IRS audit. I don’t quite understand how a connection to my bank account will provide me with the transaction details.

                • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

                  Here’s what I do, for what it’s worth. I keep all my receipts, and once a month or quarter, I scan them all to one big PDF. If I get audited, I’ve got them. If I don’t, I haven’t wasted all kinds of time entering them into QuickBooks.

                  But for accounting purposes, I don’t need them. All I need is the transactions, and that’s what I get, downloaded from my bank. I assign the customer/vendor and categorize them, and that gives my books the detail my accountant needs to do my taxes.

                  • MathisDairy

                    Thanks for the clarification Sam! I am only 2 weeks into my paperless office with QuickBooks and it has nearly doubled my data entry time (using the scanner on my slow multi-function printer) so it is great to know what other people are doing.

      • tony nasch

        Sam thanks for a tremendously effective and passionate review!
        But I differ with you on some of your points…
        For a decade I’ve been a ScanSnap’ster but to be fair I feel NR offers better recognition software over my 1500n. BUT…the Fujitsu shows its incredible value when it comes to the overall workflow and speed per scan.
        F SS crushes NR HANDS DOWN! My only regret is I did not wait 4 more months when this hip new ix1500 came out – OUCH!
        Sam….a question for you
        Is there a.true distinction between the ix1500 and the newer EVERNOTE Edition? I am a big.time Evernote user and was wondering if you thought if this is simply a marketing badge, or a model with an extra advantage for us Evernote users?
        Thank you
        Tony

  • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

    Apparently, the Evernote edition does not come with Acrobat, which is a big negative. Although if you already have Acrobat, maybe the year of Evernote Premium included with the Evernote edition is a better value.

  • Mark

    Why does a Mac user need to purchase Adobe Acrobat Standard X? I use Preview for Mac and it’s fine.

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Preview doesn’t come close to the functionality of Acrobat. Of course, if you don’t need that extra functionality, you don’t need Acrobat.

      But, for example, I use Acrobat to add Bates numbers, OCR image-only PDFs, create PDF forms, annotate PDFs, redact PDFs, and more. You can’t do any of that (as far as I am aware) with Preview.

  • Cliff Seibert

    Hi SAM

    There is a iX500 scansnap selling for $409.99 your website send to Amazon and they also have a scansnao iX500 DELUXE BUNDLE selling for $439.99. Which one is better. What does the deluxe bundle do better.

    Thank Cliff

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      I believe the “deluxe bundle” includes Rack2Filer, a document management program. I don’t think it’s worth it, but if you know you want Rack2Filer, it’s probably a good deal.

  • Cliff Seibert

    Hi SAM

    What is the Rack2Filer, a document management program. what does it do. I am also working with windows 8 on my PC.

    Thank Cliff

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      If you don’t know, you don’t need it.

  • Sarah

    I saw neat desk and am interested for home use like ads…addresses, receipts for tax info, recipes especially. Does the ix500 software do these things? Does it have the keyword recognition which would be key for categorizing recipes?

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Yes. The abbreviation “OCR” means text recognition.

  • Mark2.0

    One more odd question – I am in need of a scanner that can scan checks. Specifically, I need the check number, name of the check writer, and the check amount to be scanned into an excel sheet with corresponding columns. Its for a non-profit organization during fundraising campaigns. the check information is recorded for tax statement purposes, then mail merged into letters. Nothing real high tech, but the recording of the information via a scanner would cut down on entry errors and time. Will this or any other scanner do what I need?

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      The scanner just gets the image. The software is what does the fancy tricks like this. I’m not aware of any software that will do this, but it might exist.

      • Mark2.0

        Yes, I am aware that the scanner only captures the image and the role of software in the process. To be more specific, having used this scanner and its software, is the software capable of capturing certain fields and exporting those to excel? Neatdesk software boasts this claim for business cards, but check info is never mentioned.

        • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

          Like I said, I don’t know of any software that will do this.

          • Mark2.0

            Gotcha. Thanks for the reply. We’ll keep doing it the old way.

  • Mark

    I just bought this a couple of weeks ago. It is as good as advertised. I am really satisfied with the ease of use and the quality and it can handle volume too. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • Lindsey

    I had hoped to use our Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 to create a PDF from scanner in Acrobat and then save to TimeMatters, but I can’t get Acrobat to see the newly installed scanner. Am I missing something?

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Have you tried just pushing the scan button on the scanner?

  • Tonya Hull

    If you have a MAC and PC. Can I use it on both?

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Yes, but obviously not at the same time.

  • Mark

    Are there any issues with using this product with Nuance Power PDF Advanced? I’m setting up my firm and want to use both, but I’m a little concerned about using a non-Adobe product for redacting and bates-labeling after scanning with ScanSnap. Thanks!

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      Why wouldn’t you just use Acrobat, since it comes with the scanner?

      • Mark

        I thought that the scanner comes with Adobe X Standard, which does not allow you to redact bates/stamp. Nuance is cheaper than the upgrade to Professional.

        • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

          Oh, I see. There’s on issue of compatibility wuth Nuance Power PDF. You’re just editing PDF files.

          Check out Ernie Svenson’s review, though. His conclusion was that Nuance makes a good substitute for Acrobat Standard, but not for Acrobat Pro.

  • LC

    I recently upgraded to Acrobat XI Professional. Will I be able to use it with the ScanSnap ix500 if I buy that scanner, which comes with the X Standard version?

  • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

    Yes, you can upgrade Acrobat without upsetting your ScanSnap.

  • Bob in Arkansas

    Thx for all the good discussion. I need a scanner to share betw 2 PCs and 1 Mac laptop. Most of time, PC can be hardwired, and Mac can be wireless. Will the iX500 allow this, and does the wireless connection get bumped when you link to an Android device? Final question, as of 2014 does the Evernote edition allow network use (I saw this suggested elsewhere) that is worth the sacrifice in flexibility? Thanks for reply

    • http://samglover.net/ Sam Glover

      You’re just going to want more than one scanner for that setup.