Help on Scanner Choice

As a newly licensed DT Pro user, I’ve been doing lots of reading and experimenting. The list includes many threads in these forums, David Sparks’ “Paperless,” and I’ve taken Joe Kissell’s book to bed at night. DT will assist in my family history research, and I also want to wage a limited war on years of accumulated paper “I might need someday.” Budget is a consideration, and I’ve limited my choices to the ScanSnap S1300i and the Canon P-215.

The ScanSnap’s enthusiastic user reviews include occasional complaints about the absence of TWAIN and relative levels of Mac support. This has me spooked. The Canon product seems to have a smaller base, and some of its advocates mentioned the above complaints directed their choice.

Since I have yet to upgrade to Pro Office and have a flatbed scanner that no longer runs under my OS, I have no feel for the importance of the ScanSnap’s mentioned deficiencies. I’d appreciate any observations and suggestions those of you with experience and a knowledge of what’s really important to the scanning workflow in DT Pro Office might offer.


I don’t regard the ScanSnap’s lack of a TWAIN driver as a deficiency. Instead, Fujitsu’s ScanSnap Manager software has seen me over a succession of updates of OS X (since Tiger) without missing a beat in its ability to send output to DEVONthink Pro Office.

But I can’t say that for my old Canon flatbed scanner (which finally has died). There were several hitches in getting updates for OS X, and capabilities were lost in later generations of the Canon driver software.

As to TWAIN drivers, a number of scanner manufacturers have treated the standards so loosely that compatibility with DEVONthink Pro Office hasn’t been guaranteed just by the existence of a TWAIN driver.

The only “deficiency” in the ScanSnaps is that they don’t handle bound copy. But attempting to scan books or bound periodicals on a flatbed scanner is so much sheer drudgery that I’ll never do that again. I’ve moved to digital photos of bound copy, much faster and easier.

I was in a very similar position to the OP recently, except I was dithering between the Snapscan iX500 and the 1300i.

I went for the iX500 because I didn’t want to compromise my move to paperless world. After a few days I know this was the right decision. While the 1300i could have done everything I have done with the iX500 in the last week it wouldn’t have happened. I have scanned 1472 sheets with not many hours work…wouldn’t have happened feeding in 10 sheets at at a time.

The ease of putting stacks of 50 sheets and the speed at which it happens really count when tackling years of backlog. If I had been drawing a line under the past and just doing the incoming stuff the 1300i would have done fine for me.

I have found this site a great help:

in particular his “Unofficial Snapscan set-up Guide”. Well worth $5.

Thanks to you both for your helpful responses.

Your observations, Bill, are re-assuring. They are what I wanted to hear. I’m ready to go ahead with the ScanSnap. My Canon problems have been the same as yours. An old Canon Lide 30 flat bed will still work with my 2006 iMac, and I guess I’ll use it that way for a while. I also have come to rely on my camera for reproduction for most anything bound as well other odd sized documents. The results have been most satisfactory.

And mikebore, thank you for pointing to that website. I’ll download the guide and improve my scanner know-how. The iX500 looks like a heavy hitter designed for the kind of jobs you’ve given it. I don’t anticipate that kind of volume, but it’s good to know the tools are available should the need arise.


I thought I might add to this. I’ve used the S1300M for the last few years and now I’m in need of a better scanner to keep up with the workload. In fact, I’ve been using DTPO so heavily that I’m avoiding the scanning jobs because it’s so tedious to be sitting stone-faced in front of that little scanner making sure everything gets in there A-OK.

So I’m now looking forward to a new scanner to retire 'old-faithful, which hasn’t skipped a beat so I’m NOT going to get anything but a Fujitsu…

Bill, you mentioned the iX500 is an option, is it the best one? I really don’t want to make the same, limited choice again, so I’m willing to go ALL OUT and get the BEST one to make my scanning-chore-dread go away!


Fujitsu offers an broad range of scanners, but you probably want a home-office sheet-fed scanner, and the best of those is the iX500.

But, what is the “limited choice” you want to avoid?

Thanks for that, I’ll have a very good look at the iX500.

Maybe it wasn’t the best choice of words, but what I meant by ‘limited’ is the lower page capacity and multi-sheet detection in the S1300M. I’m always sitting in front of it watching it like a hawk so pages go in straight and individually. I read in higher models that the multi sheet is done by ultrasonic(?) rather than length. I didn’t know I would be scanning so much so I believe I limited myself by getting a light-duty scanner such as the S1300M. I hope this qualifies my comment.

Thanks for the clarification. I think you’ll find the iX500 is a good choice for heavy scanning loads. One thing to be aware of, though, is that the ScanSnap cannot distinguish between documents of variable length. If you load a 2 page, 3 page, 10 page, and 2 page document in a stack it will treat this as a 17 page document. However,there is a setting that tells ScanSnap “all these document are x-pages” – in that case you could load a stack of 2 page documents, set that parameter to “2”, and you’ll get separate files for each 2-page document.

The multi page/document issue is no different from the S1300M. I get around this by doing the following:

1- Date stamper on the first page of each set of documents
2- Scan multiple sets in one go
3- Once in DTPO, use ‘split document’ by assigning a shortcut key in OS X

The date stamper is a dd-mmm-yyyy ink stamp I purchased with “SCANNED” above the date. I can then shove all these doc sets into one big archive box, in-order, so by looking at DTPO I an always go back to the originals.

The split doc function used to have a bug because undo would delete the doc in DTPO but I raised it in a post and it was promptly fixed! (Thanks DT team!)

Just thought I’d give an update. I ended up ordering the iX500. Awaiting delivery… and looking forward to it!

(Deleted; not helpful)

Could you please elaborate? I’m not clear in what problem your workaround is meant to solve.

Was responsive to your posting (Help on Scanner Choice) - but my response was also irrelevant.