More on the Fujitsu Scansnap S300 scanner

This portable scanner is a funny old thing. But it is rather good, as a way to scan documents (it won’t do books), and photocopies. It’s very small, and very fast.

You really do have to make yourself play with it awhile before trying to use it seriously.  It has quite a few quirks.

It won’t handle more than about 8-9 pages at a go.  By default it presumes that when it gets to the end of these, that’s the end of the document and it creates a PDF (which you can’t then add to!).  This is not sensible behaviour.  What you want it to do is prompt for more sheets, so you can keep feeding your 500 page photocopy into it.  Luckily you can do this.  You need to right-click on the “Scansnap manager” icon on your taskbar, hit “Scan button settings”, and modify the default behaviour.  This one is “continue scanning after current scan is finished” (meaningful, mmm?) on the Scanning tab.  Make sure it is checked.

I’m working with Image quality=faster, colour mode=color (well, disk space isn’t an issue, and it’s plenty fast enough), duplex scan (because I was scanning some stuff that was two-sided).  Set the compression to 1, unless you want fuzzy images.  Disk space, remember, is cheap.  Paper size I left on automatic, and it has handled pay slips etc well.

The “Save” tab has some interesting options.  The “image saving folder” is the one in which the PDF will be deposited on output.  So have a Windows Explorer window open on that folder, and just cut and paste the file out of there before you do much else.

Loading the scanner is an art.  Open the top, and extend the supports in the top of the lid.  Then put ONE sheet in, and one only.  This will fit into the right place.  Then place the others on top of it (face down, of course).  This way you will avoid multiple sheets going through.

The software can bite you.  When you’ve done your scan, it pops up a box asking what to do with it — open Organiser, save to folder, email, etc.  Do NOT hit “save to folder” — your work will just vanish.  Nothing appears on the disk anywhere I could discover.  Hit the “open Organiser” and then grab it using Windows Explorer as above.

The software can perform OCR as part of the scan.  This is painfully slow, so don’t do that.   Tab “File Option”, “Searchable PDF” and uncheck the box.  You get another chance anyway when the Organiser opens.

This weekend I used the unit to scan all my expenses for the last business year.  It did them flawlessly, and I did the lot in a very short time.  I recommend this unit; but just practise with it a bit first, hmm?


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