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A paperless office workflow
Authored by: kirkmc on Jan 13, '13 02:36:34AM

I was away for a week, and saw this submission before I left. (Thanks to Craig for filling in for me in the interim.) I find it interesting, because I recently embarked on a paperless project. I got a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M, and started scanning ten years of accounting documents. While the scanner is expensive, it comes with all the software you need, scans very fast - and is a duplex scanner (scanning both sides of paper) - and really makes the process easy.

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Mac OS X Hints editor - Macworld senior contributor
http://www.mcelhearn.com



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A paperless office workflow
Authored by: keirthomas on Jan 13, '13 04:41:19AM

Hi Kirk

As I said above, I think that automatic OCRing of text in PDFs or images is the kind of feature Apple would add. It would enhance Spotlight's powers significantly. But I'm not sure how "hot" Spotlight is as far as Apple developers are concerned -- since its release it has only really seen superficial improvements to functionality. I suspect it's considered a closed book, which is a shame. I use it everyday.

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__________
Author of Mac Kung Fu
Over 400 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X

http://pragprog.com/book/ktmack2/mac-kung-fu



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A paperless office workflow
Authored by: dewab on Jan 13, '13 05:47:45AM

Whilst I would love it if Apple added OCR functionality into Preview, I just don't see it happening for the simple reason that OCR is not always terribly accurate. It's gotten better over the years, but I've had to OCR a scanned PDF more than once, and gotten different results each time, before I ended up with the text that I was looking for.



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A paperless office workflow
Authored by: keirthomas on Jan 14, '13 08:13:24AM

Evernote OCRs images you upload, and does fuzzy recognition. If it see what appears to be the word "Bavid" or "Oavid", for example, it'll also record "David" just in case. All three will turn-up in searches. So I can see how Apple could easily make OCR work better using this kind of technology. (Incidentally Evernote don't let you get the OCR'd text out of the PDF -- it's strictly to aid searches.)

And as for OCR not being accurate -- you'll be surprised. On a 300DPI scan the number of mistakes are surprisingly few in Acrobat. But I don't need 100% accuracy here. The word "electricity" will be mentioned several times in an electricity bill, and it's really Quick Look that lets me recognise the one I'm actually looking for. Document management in this fashion is something that only OS X could do.

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__________
Author of Mac Kung Fu
Over 400 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X

http://pragprog.com/book/ktmack2/mac-kung-fu



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A paperless office workflow
Authored by: dewab on Jan 17, '13 09:00:37AM

I use the Scansnap S1500M and have tried the "built-in" OCR, as well as Acrobat's and PDFpen's. Because I'm using Hazel+AppleScript to automatically sort and rename a large number of bills and accounts, I rely heavily on identifying unique criteria (URLs, account #'s, etc) to ensure that I'm moving and renaming the bill correctly. I have found that OCR does an okay job of it, but I do have to re-OCR documents occasionally to have them get the correct information without adding space or misidentifying characters.

If you look at the raw text of OCRed PDFs (using pdftotext or the like) you'll actually see how hit-or-miss OCR really is.



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