C-Command Software Forum

At the risk of bloat-- document scanning?

Hello, Michael. I hesitate to request this feature as I like EF the way it is; however, I just started playing with an app called DocumentWallet that scans in documents and stores them in a library that looks very much like EF’s (unfortunately I have to run it in Rosetta as my scanner driver is evidently not a universal binary). But it got me to wondering whether it might be reasonable-- someday-- to add this capability to EF.

I’m doing it manually now with either image capture or ReadIRIS Pro, but it’s a kludgy process to separately scan a multipage doc, save as a PDF, then capture to EF.

Would be the final tool I need to get everything into my EF libraries in a nice, seamless way.

Just musing.

I would like to have integrated scanning and OCR myself, as I also have lots of paper documents. This is probably pretty far in the future, though.

Realizing this is an old thread and things may have changed, in my search to find out if EagleFiler has “integrated” scanning capabilities this is where I ended up. In trying to make the transition between Win OS and Mac I found EF as a possible replacement for FileCenter Pro (Win). Actually, I prefer the look and feel of EF (from screenshots and researching this site) but am very concerned about loosing some capabilities that I’ve come to rely on FCP for.

90% of the material I want to save digitally enters my “paperless office” on paper and has to be scanned. Web content, emails and digital docs can all be “printed to file” so no scanner needed there. In either case I typically choose to save in PDF format, although FCP will allow storage of any file in any format within its structure and clicking will open it with whatever app that file is associated with. But back to practical application, once set up, scanner dialog is integrated into FCP (in fact you don’t even see the scanner’s native dialog windows when it scans, unless you choose that option). So the scan/save process is, I open FCP, choose a storage location folder (or file) within FCP’s file structure, click Scan and choose options from a FCP dialog box (unless I just want to go with the options I’ve set as a default), Enter in a File Name and type or choose to append the doc/jpg/whatever to an existing file. The image is scanned, OCRd and saved in the appropriate location. Indexes are performed on a user-set schedule as a db for local searches.

As you can tell, at the user level this is process is quite simple. No second or third party apps are required. FCP is set as my default PDF viewer/editor. It also allows me to combine (append or prepend) PDF files into a single file or extract pages from a multi-page file to make it multiple files (pre or post scan). I have the option of saving incoming images to an Inbox and choose a final destination later or save it directly to its final destination, whether that’s as a new file or appended to an existing multi-page file.

So I guess my question is, how much of this functionality would I be loosing by switching to EF?? I could deal with loosing some in the short term, especially if upgrades to address some of these functions are in the works. Please don’t take these questions/comments negatively, EF looks like a fantastic program and I’m looking forward to using it!

Which scanner software are you using? I use a Fujitsu ScanSnap. The ScanSnap software lets me choose ahead of time when and how it should make multi-page PDFs. I set it to save the scans in my library’s “To Import” folder. I insert the paper, press the button on the scanner, and the PDF file shows up in EagleFiler. There isn’t really anything that EagleFiler itself needs to do except notice that there’s a new file.

If you’d like EagleFiler to prompt you for metadata when you import a scanned file, please see the Import From Scanner script. There are also various ways to do OCR if your scanner software can’t natively do that.

Thanks for the response Michael. I’m using an Epson multi-function machine with Twain driver. And yes the scanner’s dialog options do offer the opportunity to scan multiple images and save them as a single file but it doesn’t offer an option to add an image(s) to an existing file (append or prepend to existing file). That is an option/function of FileCenter that’s as easy as choosing an existing file name before scanning a new doc, then choosing the option “append.” The new scanned image is then added to the other images inside the chosen existing file. Is there some option to accomplish this in EF?

Not currently, and I’m not aware of any Mac apps that will let you do that so fluidly. There are various PDF editors such as Preview and PDFpen that can add pages from one PDF file to another. And there is a “Combine PDF Pages” Automator action that can merge several PDF files into a new one. Perhaps there’s a way that you could script this.

More generally, I’m curious about why you want to add pages to an existing PDF file rather than add a new PDF file to the same folder. Not saying that’s “wrong,” but it’s something I’ve only rarely wanted to do, e.g. if something went wrong when scanning a large sequences of pages so they were split into two files.

Good question Michael. The short answer as to why I’d want to add pages to existing files as opposed to adding new files to a folder are personal preference and convenience. For example, for business purposes I keep monthly receipts for cell phone, ISP, utilities, etc. With relatively few pages for a year’s worth of activity (one per month) I just find it easier to keep them all in a single file that might be called Cell Phone 2013, or Elec Utility 2013 and just add a page to the file each month instead of adding 12 individual files to folders of the same names.

Also, as a remodeling contractor I keep ongoing digitized records of Projects in Progress. I have a folder in each client’s name that contains single files for things like Quote Notes, Mail and Email Correspondence, Contracts and Invoices, Before and After Pictures, Time Sheets and Materials Purchases. As you can imagine, assigning a file name to each scrap of paper associated with all these criteria would be far more tedious and time consuming than just appending receipts into to a single file like “Material Purchases.” In that example alone we might have a half-dozen separate purchases in a single day to append to the file. Opening a file like this in FileCenter opens a preview pane that I can easily scroll through to find the page I’m looking for visually, or it will search a key word based on OCR indexing.

Does that make sense to you or do you have an easier solution?

To me, one of the problems with appending to a single file is that when you later search by file you would get all the invoices for the year, rather than the particular invoice that you want. You would then need to search within the file or scroll through it to find the relevant section.

Personally, I do name every file, but leaving them unnamed (but in a named folder) seems no worse to me than having unnamed pages within a named PDF file.

Would it be helpful to you to be able to select two PDF files in EagleFiler and choose a command to merge them into one? If so, should the pages from the more recent file go at the end?

There are times when I want to see every invoice for the year, or for the job, or for the customer, or for the project. That’s why I use redundancy in filing. Example: An invoice for final billing of a project would go into a file named Invoices 2013 as an unnamed page but a shortcut/alias of that page would go into the folder for that customer’s project. Additional shortcuts might also go into other folders depending on relevancy.

You’re right, except to preview the contents of pages in a file I can seamlessly scroll through a preview pane in FileCenter that shows every page in a file. In your example unnamed individual files would need to be selected one by one to be previewed.

That’s how the append feature in FCP works, although most of the time I use that option as “destination” in the scanning process so it happens in a single step. In the “Combine Files” option FCP will combine the contents of two existing files with choices of which file name the result will bear, whether to append or prepend one file’s assimilation into the other, and even an option to insert the new pages with assigned page numbers so they will appear in a desired order. In practical application I only use “append” which works as you described above, but I do sometimes open a multi-page file, delete an outdated page and replace it with an updated image. Of course that same action could easily be accomplished (possibly more easily) if each page was saved as a file but it’s not something I do very often.

Michael, please pardon my ignorance but I’m still new to Mac. It appears that using by Quick Look one could easily view the file contents (named or unnamed) of a folder by selecting all the files contained therein then paging through them. So is Quick Look available from the File Menu in EagleFiler? Or put another way, can multiple EF files be chosen (from the same folder) and Quick Look used to page through/view them from within EF or would I have to use Finder?

Mac OS X doesn’t support shortcuts/aliases to individual pages within a PDF. The “EagleFiler way” to do this would be to have the page itself as a distinct file and to assign it tags for the projects that it relates to. (A future version of EagleFiler will support aliases, at the file level.)

EagleFiler offers the same sort of Quick Look view as the Finder. You can access it from EagleFiler’s Record menu or press Spacebar.

I may have misled you with that statement. Win/FileCenter won’t support a shortcut to or from a single page within a multi-page file either but it does allow a file shortcut to be placed within a folder, and that shortcut can be to a single or multi-paged file. Just want to be clear on that in case this discussion is offering you any ideas for future versions of EF. It can’t be a productive discussion unless we stick to facts.

That sounds like a very useful tool! I have to believe EF does some other things that would be an advantage over FileCenter but, as they say, I’ll never know until I try it. At this point it seems like what I would need to get close to the functionality I have now is an app (or maybe more than one) that offers a wide range of ability to manipulate pdf files. Do you have any favorites?

You can do a lot with Mac OS X’s built-in Preview app. For editing, PDFpen offers some additional features. Skim is nice for viewing and annotating.