The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 is a bit over four years old, which means people are starting to wonder if they should still buy one. My answer is yes, although it’s likely Fujitsu will update the iX500 soon.1

Since the iX500 was released, Fujitsu added wireless scanning, then ScanSnap Cloud, and I have updated this review for 2017, including information about the various ways you can scan with those options.

The bottom line: the ScanSnap iX500 has gotten better over time, and it remains an excellent value. If you need a document scanner, this is still the one you should get, and it remains at the top of our top picks for scanners. Here’s why.

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Price and Features

The iX500 is about $415 on Amazon.

There are less expensive desktop scanners that will get the job done, like the Neat Connect and Brother ADS-2000e, at $299, but the ScanSnap iX500 is substantially better than both, and it has a lot more to offer, feature-wise. The Epson WorkForce ES-500W gets you closer to what the iX500 offers, but also closer to its price, at about $380.

The iX500 scans 25 double-side pages per minute. It will automatically detect and remove blank pages, although this is conservative and you will probably find plenty of blank pages in your scans. It is also good at detecting when two or more pages get pulled into the scanner at the same time. When this happens, the iX500 will stop to let you separate the pages before it continues. With the ScanSnap Connect app for iOS and Android, you can scan wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet.

With ScanSnap Cloud, you can scan directly to almost a dozen cloud services, including Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive, Evernote, and more. ScanSnap Cloud is by far the easiest way to use the iX500 for normal, day-to-day scanning. For longer documents or more complex scanning jobs, you will want to use ScanSnap Connect with your mobile device or ScanSnap Manager with your computer.

Hardware and Design

As far as scanners go, the iX500’s geometric black form looks pretty nice on a desk. It is unobtrusive without being unattractive. Not that style should be a major concern when scanner shopping.

Inside the scanner is a processor that helps speed up image processing and handle processing when the iX500 is not plugged into a computer. It even handles optical character recognition, which means you’ll spend less time waiting for OCR to finish than you would with other scanners (or older ScanSnaps).

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.

The feeder is 9″ wide, so it can handle pages that are just a bit wider than standard US letter or A4 paper. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can scan teeny-tiny receipts, although you might have to move them around to make sure the scanner can tell there is a piece of paper in the feeder. You can also scan thicker documents, like drivers licenses and passports. Credit cards and drivers licenses go through the iX500 just fine. Passports are a tight fit, but you can get them through. If you need to scan anything bigger than that, though, you might need a ScanSnap SV600.

One thing the iX500 doesn’t have is an onboard user interface. There is no way to tell it to connect to a new Wi-Fi network. In order to do that, you have to plug it in or use a computer or mobile device to which it is already connected. This isn’t a huge problem. I can’t imagine many scenarios in which you would have your scanner but not your smartphone, but it’s worth keeping in mind before you take your iX500 to a document inspection.

But it’s worth pointing out that if you are comparing the iX500’s feature list to another scanner’s feature list, you are missing the point. The ScanSnap isn’t just a list of features, it is designed to make scanning easy, which is really important if you are going to use it all the time.

Bundled Software

What really makes the ScanSnap stand out is how easy it is to use. Manufacturers of competing scanners can’t seem to keep themselves from adding buttons, while the ScanSnap has just one. And unlike most of the competition, the ScanSnap Manager scanning utility is simple, friendly, and easy to use. I think ScanSnap Manager is the most underrated feature of the ScanSnap line of scanners. Fujitsu didn’t just bundle its scanners with PaperPort (which was awful the last time I used it) or hack together an ugly-but-functional scanning utility. Fujitsu put in the time to design the user experience to make ScanSnaps easy to use without sacrificing functionality.

And it works really well.

It also comes with a copy of Nuance Power PDF Standard2 to give Windows users the ability to edit PDF documents. (Mac users won’t need Power PDF because they can already edit PDFs in Preview.) Nuance and Preview are good for basic PDF editing, but many lawyers will want more advanced PDF software that includes features that allow you to redact a PDF and manage Bates stamping.

However, Fujitsu also bundles some bloatware with its scanners, including Cardminder Business Card Software, ABBY FineReader Express, and ScanSnap Organizer. Some will object to my categorization of ScanSnap Organizer as bloatware, but you definitely don’t need it. If you cannot organize your documents in your file system, get real document management software.

Install ScanSnap Manager, ScanSnap Cloud, and ScanSnap Connect, but skip the rest.

Performance

The ScanSnap iX500 is quick, reliable, and and easy to use. Here it is in action:

While it scans at 25ppm, a fairly standard speed, the process of getting a document from scanner to destination feels much faster than other document scanners I have used. That is due, in large part, to the new on-board processor. Using OCR with the iX500 involves noticeably less waiting after the paper has gone through the scanner.

The iX500 really raised the bar on mobile scanning when it came out, as well. I had already tried the Doxie Go or Xerox Mobile Scanner, both of which are purpose-built mobile scanners. But instead of working with the hard-to-set-up Eye-Fi system, Fujitsu built its own apps, and the whole system is much easier to use as a result. You can just grab your phone and scanner and take it with you when you know you’ll need to scan a big job on the road.

That goes for scanning to the cloud, as well. Being able to scan without going through a computer is, for me, the iX500’s killer feature. It is inferior to the other “cloud scanner” I have reviewed, the Neat Connect, in only one respect: the Neat has an onboard touchscreen so you can set up your cloud services without ever connecting the scanner to a computer. The iX500, on the other hand, requires a computer to do the initial ScanSnap Cloud setup. But once it is set up, it works great.

I call ScanSnap Cloud a killer feature because it makes it possible to share one scanner without investing in a computer just to sit next to it. For example, I just have an _Inbox folder in Dropbox that I share with my team (or family). Then anyone can dump a pile of pages in the hopper, press the scan button, and go retrieve the documents from Dropbox. It’s what I’ve always wanted to be able to do.

In case you’re curious, by the way, here is a sample scan (pdf) from the iX500 that I made using the default settings.

Who Should Buy a ScanSnap iX500?

If you are in the market for a desktop document scanner, the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 is the one you should buy. There is really no question about it.

There is only one exception to that recommendation: if you know you need TWAIN, you should look for another scanner, like one of those I have mentioned above. If you don’t know whether or not you need TWAIN, don’t worry about it. I’m pretty confident that you don’t.

If you already have a document scanner and are wondering if you ought to upgrade, I think it depends. My guess is we will see a new ScanSnap desktop scanner within the next 1–2 years. It will probably be a little faster, but the only feature I can imagine making me feel like my current iX500 is out of date would be a touchscreen for connecting to Wi-Fi and your cloud services without using another device. Scanners aren’t iPads, and you aren’t likely to feel like your iX500 is sad and out of date when Fujitsu finally releases a successor.

Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500

Buy from Amazon

Summary

The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 desktop scanner, now a few years old, remains worth buying whether or not Fujitsu has an update in the works.

Rating: 5 (out of 5)

Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500, reviewed by Sam Glover on .


  1. The iX500 came out in 2013, when the S1500 was about four years old. Before that, the S500 was out for about three years (a minor update, the S510, came in between). 

  2. Note: ScanSnaps, including the iX500 I am using now, used to ship with a copy of Adobe Acrobat. This is no longer the case. 

183 responses to “Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Document Scanner Review (2017 Update)”

  1. David says:

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

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

    • Sam Glover says:

      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.

  3. Josh Williams says:

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

  4. Tracy says:

    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!

  5. Gary says:

    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.

  6. anacatherine says:

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

  7. Stephen says:

    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.

  8. Fraidy says:

    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?

  9. Steve Hayes says:

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

    • Steve Hayes says:

      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.

  10. Sierra says:

    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!!

  11. Paul Majors says:

    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.

  12. Dennis says:

    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.

  13. Brett Moore says:

    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.

  14. Arvid Bux says:

    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?

    • Sam Glover says:

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

      • Arvid Bux says:

        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.

        • Sam Glover says:

          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.

  15. curious says:

    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.

  16. Debbie says:

    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?

  17. gates says:

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

    • Sam Glover says:

      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 says:

        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.

        • Sam Glover says:

          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?

  18. Amy says:

    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.

    • Sam Glover says:

      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.

  19. Vaughan says:

    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.

  20. Jean-Denis Muys says:

    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.

  21. Richard Horn says:

    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.

    • Sam Glover says:

      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.

  22. Gary says:

    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?

  23. 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?

  24. Pam says:

    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!!

  25. Pam says:

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

  26. Pete Pearson says:

    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.

    • Sam Glover says:

      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.

  27. 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.

  28. Camburn says:

    Does this scanner do double sided scans?

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

    Thank you.

  29. David Wilson says:

    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

  30. John Muench says:

    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.

  31. Pete Pearson says:

    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?

  32. Christina Forbes says:

    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.

  33. dawk says:

    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

  34. Bill says:

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

    • Sam Glover says:

      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.

  35. eric says:

    How good is this scanner in scanning receipts?

  36. Rich says:

    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?

    • Sam Glover says:

      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.

      • joe bahgat says:

        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).

  37. Rich says:

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

  38. Zsolt67 says:

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

      • Zsolt67 says:

        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.

  39. Bedazzled says:

    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.

  40. Wayne McKinney says:

    There are two scanners on Amazon, mit and mit out the Rack2 bundle. If I buy the cheaper one, do I still get ScanSnap?

  41. vincent says:

    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

    • Sam Glover says:

      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.

  42. Oldgraymare says:

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

  43. Alex says:

    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?

  44. Laura says:

    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??

  45. jim@cooklawpc.net says:

    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

    • Sam Glover says:

      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.

  46. annie says:

    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?

  47. Mac says:

    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

    • Sam Glover says:

      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 says:

        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

  48. Bill B from SD says:

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

  49. coastaldata says:

    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?

    • Sam Glover says:

      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 says:

        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.

      • joe bahgat says:

        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 says:

        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.

  50. Lou Milrad says:

    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.

  51. Karlyn says:

    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!

  52. Nancy says:

    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

    • Sam Glover says:

      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.

  53. notacar says:

    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.

  54. Sam Glover says:

    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.

  55. Andre Pereira says:

    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.

  56. Jan says:

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

  57. John Longfellow says:

    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!

    • Sam Glover says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

          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.

  58. HawkOwl says:

    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!

    • Sam Glover says:

      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 says:

        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!

        • Sam Glover says:

          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 says:

            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 says:

            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?

          • Sam Glover says:

            What do you mean by an audit trail?

          • MathisDairy says:

            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.

          • Sam Glover says:

            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 says:

            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 says:

        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

        • Sam Glover says:

          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.

  59. Mark says:

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

    • Sam Glover says:

      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.

      • Trinity Moore says:

        How do I go about upgrading my Adobe Standard version for windows to use on my mac? I have both a mac desktop and a windows laptop. And will that upgrade make the current Adobe Standard install on my windows laptop not work?

        • Sam Glover says:

          You’ll need to buy a copy of or license for Acrobat Pro for your Mac, and separately for your Windows laptop. Or you might be better off getting an Acrobat Pro DC subscription, which will allow you to install Acrobat Pro on both computers.

          P.S., Adobe is the name of the company, not the software.

  60. Cliff Seibert says:

    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

    • Sam Glover says:

      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.

  61. Cliff Seibert says:

    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

  62. Sarah says:

    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?

  63. Mark2.0 says:

    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?

    • Sam Glover says:

      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 says:

        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.

    • Matt says:

      Mark, Did you ever find a solution for this? I found this thread via a google search and I am struggling to find the exact same thing. Any luck?

  64. Mark says:

    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.

  65. Lindsey says:

    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?

  66. Tonya Hull says:

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

  67. Mark says:

    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!

    • Sam Glover says:

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

      • Mark says:

        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.

        • Sam Glover says:

          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.

  68. LC says:

    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?

  69. Bob in Arkansas says:

    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

  70. Brittney says:

    Can I scan a passport with the iX500?

  71. Clay Melugin says:

    How accurate is the OCR for business Card scanning ? and does it export the OCR file for Mac Contacts?

    • Sam Glover says:

      It’s pretty accurate, but you’ll still need to make a lot of corrections because of the huge variety of ways people lay out their cards.

      I don’t use the bundled business card app any more, but I think you can export to the Contacts app. I’m not positive, though.

  72. Kevin R says:

    Does it work with Linux: Ubuntu, Lubuntu, Mint, Peppermint, Debian distros? With XSane in Linux?

  73. Andreea Botan says:

    Hello! I have used the ScanSnap IX500 for about four months now, I love it! It has given me the ease and speed to catch up on my digital filling system. I have a question though, I use Quickbooks (on a mac) and I would like to figure out how to direct scan. I know how to scan to a folder, locate the file and attach it to my transaction but I would save a lot of time if I were able to direct scan. Thank you in advance for your help!

  74. Beebes says:

    Don’t know if this discussion is still active or monitored.

    I may buy a ScanSnap ix500 for personal use. It’s not clear to me how flexible ScanSnap is with regard to available resolutions and color, B&W, and grayscale modes.

    My current Brother AIO scanner lets me independently set resolution — I use 300 or 600 dpi — and color depth — B&W, Gray (Error Diffusion), True Gray, 256 color, or 24-bit color. I don’t use “Gray (Error Diffusion)”, but the other options are all useful.

    I’m not sure what “True Gray” means, but it might be the same as the 256-level grayscale option I see described in the manuals for higher-end Fujitsu scanners. When I use True Gray on my Brother scanner, scanned images (from either color or grayscale hardcopy documents) are rendered as high-quality, subtly gradated grayscale images.

    I can’t find clear specs for equivalent ix500 options. Does the ix500 offer the same resolution and color depth flexibility I have on my Brother scanner?

    • Sam Glover says:

      I think you’re going to be fine. 256 grays is plenty.

      But if you’re scanning images, you’d probably be happier with a high-end flatbed. The Brother and the ScanSnap are meant for documents, not photographs.

      • Beebes says:

        Thanks for responding, and for your valuable ScanSnap discussion here. I’m sure you’re correct that 256 grays is plenty. I’m scanning documents, not photos. What I’m trying to verify is whether the ix500 can actually produce PDF files with 256 grays. I’m also curious whether the ix500 would allow me to choose from 256 colors and 24-bit color when I’m scanning a color document.

        These details are unclear in the user manuals and spec sheets. For example, the ix500 Advanced Operation Guide that I recently downloaded has (on p. 67) an illustration of a ScanSnap Scanning menu that includes drop-down selection lists for “Image quality” and “Color mode”. But it does not show or describe what’s inside these drop-down lists. The illustration shows only the currently selected modes — “Automatic resolution” and “Auto color detection”. I’d like to know more about what nondefault selections are available, especially for color, B&W, and grayscale modes.

        • Sam Glover says:

          Maybe I’m not sure what you are asking, but I’m pretty sure the grayscale mode does what you want. I think you are assuming the Brother has some unique features. It doesn’t. It’s a bog-standard budget scanner. Pretty much every scanner will do what it does.

          • Beebes says:

            My question might not be clear because it’s so simple it’s kind of hard to believe it needs to be asked. I’m looking for specs that I think should be included in the ix500 user manuals and other product literature but are either missing or are hidden somewhere I can’t find them. The question is: what’s the color resolution (“depth”) of the ix500, and what’s the grayscale resolution (“depth”)? I’m guessing the color resolution is 24-bit (16 million colors) and the grayscale resolution is 8-bit (256 levels). It would also be useful to know if I can select a lower color resolution of 256 colors instead of 16 million for some scans if I want to.

            I don’t think there’s anything special about my Brother AIO scanner, but I also don’t assume the Fujitsu ix500 has identical specs for color and grayscale resolution. Or are these specs so consistent between scanner brands and models that I don’t even need to ask?

            I’m a little annoyed that Fujitsu documentation doesn’t provide these specs in an obvious place, but I appreciate your help and patience.

  75. Valerie says:

    Hi, I have tons of papers that need to be organized (including some long legal docs). I also have to organize all my personal files (20 plus years).

    I am not familiar with Evernote.

    What is the easiest way to go about this?

    Also, I assume using a MAC or PC is a matter
    of preference. Is it necessary to get a desktop or will a laptop suffice if I save elsewhere?

    Besides backing up on a hard drive, what is the best third-party source (Google Docs, iCloud, etc)?

    I will pay for a source that is reliable and easy to use for the IT/organizationally challenged.

    Many thanks in advance.

  76. ravesh says:

    I’m a little annoyed that Fujitsu documentation doesn’t provide these specs in an obvious place, but I appreciate your help and patience.I’m scanning documents, not photos. What I’m trying to verify is whether the ix500 can actually produce PDF files with 256 grays. I’m also curious whether the ix500 would allow me to choose from 256 colors and 24-bit color when I’m scanning a color document.

  77. Eugene says:

    When you scan directly to DropBox using WiFi, does this scanner still run OCR on the PDF? Or does the OCR capability require tethering to a computer?

    • Sam Glover says:

      If you use a computer to scan over Wi-Fi, you can still run OCR on the PDF. It’s built into the ScanSnap Manager tool that you use whether the scanner is tethered or not. If you use the ScanSnap app to scan to your mobile device, then I’m not sure but I don’t think you can run OCR.

  78. Paras says:

    Any Chance anyone knows when a new one is coming out. I hate buying things and a new one gets released!

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