Scan Paper Documents Directly to NetDocuments

November 6, 2012
Salt Lake City, UT
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With the NetDocuments 2012 – R2 release on October 25th, NetDocuments upgraded its TWAIN integration and expanded the capabilities to scan from a desktop TWAIN-compatible scanner to any location within NetDocuments using the New>Scanned Image option. The secret sauce here is that NetDocuments calls your specific scanner's software to allow you to customize the settings such as 200 dpi, both sides, etc., determine which file format you want to scan to, e.g. PDF, TIFF, JPEG, etc., and whether to initiate OCR before it gets imported to NetDocuments. Using your local scanner software to OCR the document allows the text within the document to be full-text searchable after being imported to NetDocuments.

The example below is scanning a document using a low cost $90 Kodak Hero 5.1 All-in-One Printer and scanner. Your specific scanner will have its own software so the interface will look different than the Kodak software below, but many of the options should be common. These options include resolution (determines image quality and file size), color, whether to OCR or not, scan one or both sides of the pages being scanned (aka simplex or duplex), whether to auto-straighten, deskew, and other typical image options.

The first time you use this feature, you will be prompted to access the NetDocuments Desktop Scanner Connector which installs a small amount of software on the PC to interact with your scanner. After your acceptance, then you will only see the dialog above to prompt you to have your documents ready to scan. After you click Scan Now, then your specific scanner's software will appear to guide you through the scanning process, set any options you wish to change, and then after it is completed, be prompted by NetDocuments to guide you through the import process.

Most scanners are TWAIN-compatible, even the $90 scanner used in this example above. TWAIN is a standard software protocol and applications programming interface (API) that regulates communication between software applications and imaging devices such as scanners and digital cameras, and has been very commonly used since 1992. It is worthy to note, however, that the Fujitsu scanners, with the one touch button does not use TWAIN, and therefore this option will not work with some Fujitsu scanners (Fujitsu does offer TWAIN compatible scanners in addition to their one-touch). If you have a Fujitsu scanner, you can still automate the scanning process by configuring your Fujitsu scanner to save the scanned image to the NetDocuments Auto Import folder, which can be turned on by going to your NetDocuments personal settings. The NetDocuments Check In List application needs to be activated (IE browsers only), which you do by going to Programs, or it may already be open if you commonly open multiple documents within NetDocuments or currently have checked out documents.

This desktop scanning connector requires the NetDocuments ActiveX control and IE browser. It is possible to have it work with Chrome or Firefox browsers, and assuming the NetDocuments desktop scanning connector has already been installed on the computer, set your Chrome browser as the default browser, then open your scanner's software first, then go to the NetDocuments New>Scanned document option using Chrome. You can continue to scan during that session. In the future, we will make this work more intuitively with other browsers.

So give this new feature a try and let us know how it works.

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