The Amazing Fujitsu ScanSnap Scanner for Mac and PC – at Last You Can Really Put All of Your Documents on Computer

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The Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner (not to be confused with the SnapScan scanner by Agfa or any model of Fuji scanner – we’re talking about the Fujitsu ScanSnap USB scanner here) is a wonder to behold. With both a Mac version (Fujitsu ScanSnap S500M) and a PC version (Fujitsu ScanSnap S500), the Fujitsu ScanSnap makes it easy to turn all of your paper documents into searchable computer files! And one of the easiest ways, bar none, to get a document into a file to email or put on a website. And on top of all that, right now you can get a $50.00 rebate on either of the Fujitsu SnapScan S500M scanner for Mac or Fujitsu SnapScan S500 scanner for PC! (Links below.)

Imagine loading a stack of up to 50 papers at once – black and white or color – single-side or double-sided – any size up to 8 1/2, even mixing sizes – and pushing a button and having the entire stack turn into a searchable PDF on your hard drive, all within moments.

Sound too good to be true? Read on, and view the video and screenshots below!

That is the wonder that is the Fujitsu ScanSnap S500 (for PC) or S500M (for Mac). And while my own tests were on a Mac, and so this review will refer to the Mac throughout, by all accounts the Fujitsu ScanSnap S500 for the PC is just as wonderous, and everything in this review will apply equally to the PC version of the ScanSnap as to the Mac version.

Using this scanner is literally as easy as opening the box it comes in, loading the software, and plugging it in. Period. In less than 10 minutes you can be scanning 100s of documents, at a rate of 18-20 pages per minute. This is one fast scanner (see video below).

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Actually, the thing that took the longest about getting going was loading Adobe Acrobat, which comes included with the scanner. Without loading Acrobat, setup of the scanner could be accomplished in under 5 minutes flat. It’s that easy.

In fact, from a Mac user’s perspective, when Fujitsu designed this scanner, they did it exactly right – Apple themselves could not have designed a more perfect scanner. It just works.

And what is it that it “just works” at doing? Well, for one thing, you can actually take stacks and stacks of documents (legal, tax, recipes, letters, you name it) and turn them into searchable document files on your computer! Bye, bye oveflowing filing cabinets and piles of papers!

After having read so many incredible reviews about the ScanSnap, I ordered one from Amazon. When the delivery man showed up with it, he didn’t even make it off the porch before I was inside and ready to put it to the test. I was very eager to put it through its paces and see if it could live up to all the hype. And it didn’t disappoint.

I was surprised at how small and light the box containing the scanner was. Even in full packaging, its footprint was barely larger than that of my 15″ Macbook.

Opening the box revealed a product bundle that was simple – almost austere. A small flat enclosure topped the scanner, and that was it!

Inside the enclosure was everything one needed: the scanner’s power cord, a USB cable, the software (driver and Adobe), and the quickstart manual.

Removing the flat enclosure revealed the scanner. Look how small it is!

Unboxing the scanner and removing it from its packaging material revealed just how diminutive this scanner is. And yet, somehow Fujitsu has managed to fit a scanning powerhouse into its tiny body.

Fujitsu ScanSnap on top of a closed 15″ Macbook – front view:

Fujitsu ScanSnap on top of a closed 15″ Macbook – top view:

The first thing you will do before connecting your scanner is install the software. You must do this before connecting the scanner. The ScanSnap comes with its own Fujitsu driver and settings software, and Adobe Acrobat 7. It took under a minute to install the Fujitsu software. It took Adobe slightly longer. Purchasing the ScanSnap scanner also entitles you to a free copy of ReadIris 11, which just rocks – with ReadIris installed you can have your ScanSnap scan directly into ReadIris, creating a fully searchable text file using ReadIris’ incredible OCR!

The simple, easy-to-use Fujitsu software detects whether your scanner is connected or not. If your scanner is not connected, you’ll see a big red circle with a line through it over the software icon:

Now it’s time to connect the scanner to the USB port on your computer. The software detects the scanner, and the red circle with the line through it goes away.

I have to take a moment here to mention how well packed the ScanSnap was. It’s obvious that a great deal of care went into not only designing the scanner, but protecting it in transit.

When you first connect the scanner, you open the top flat (where the document feeder is), and the scanner immediately ejects a bit of paper from the area where documents are ejected after being scanned. It looks a bit as if the scanner has just stuck its tongue out at you. The paper turns out to be attached to a bit of foam padding, which has served to protect some internal bits during shipping.

After removing the paper, you’ll next flip down the other flap, which is the paper tray for the ejected documents…

..behind which you will find more foam padding, protecting the body of the scanner from being scratched by the flap while en route.

Now your ScanSnap is ready to rock and roll (or scan and store)! Yes, it’s that easy!

There are only two steps to creating easy, searchable PDFs:

1. Place the documents in the feeder:

and 2. press “scan” – yes, it’s really that easy!

As mentioned above, the ScanSnap can do mixed page sizes (up to 8 1/2 inches wide), double-sided pages, color pages, you name it, the ScanSnap can handle it.

Here, for its test run, I put it through its paces, with a mix of pages, some single and some double sided,different sizes, and both black and white and color.

And here is a video of it scanning the pages. Look how freakin’ fast this thing is!

And, the final test – the output. That very scan appeared on my screen just seconds later, and it was gorgeous. I’ve minimized the view so that you can see all of the pages on one screen, but in full size mode they are just awesome:

Now, what do you do with these scanned documents? You tell the Fujitsu software to scan them directly into your favourite OCR program (again, your ScanSnap receipt entitles you to a free copy of superlative ReadIris, which is a $129 value – link below) and save them as searchable PDFs, which means that you can store all of your documents (receipts, letters, business documents, recipes, newspaper and magazine clippings – you name it!) on your hard drive, and find what you are looking for just by doing a search! (Mac users can take advantage of Spotlight to do this!)

Of course, you can also save it as a regular PDF with the accompanying Adobe Acrobat 7 (which sells separately for $299 but is included for free with your ScanSnap!

[Mac users: That awesome database program, DevonThink, has built-in Read Iris OCR and ScanSnap support – so you can scan a document directly into Devon and have it instantly catelogued! You must have the Pro Office version of DevenThink for this to work.]

Go here to read reviews and order the Fujitsu ScanSnap S500M scanner for Mac.

Go here to read reviews and order the Fujitsu ScanSnap S500 scanner for Windows PC.

Go here to get the form to get a $50.00 rebate on either the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner for PC or the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner for Mac!

Go here to get the form to get your free copy of ReadIris after purchasing your ScanSnap (Downloads a PDF form.)

P.S. If you’ve read all the way down to here, here’s an extra little cool tip for you: you can select your email program as one of the applications into which you wish to directly scan, and the ScanSnap will scan your document, and then open a new outgoing email with the PDF of the scan already in the email, waiting to be mailed to whomever you wish to send it!

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6 thoughts on “The Amazing Fujitsu ScanSnap Scanner for Mac and PC – at Last You Can Really Put All of Your Documents on Computer

  1. How does the SnapScan S500m pull paper?? Rubber rollers? Every sheet fed scanner I’ve used pulls paper fine for the 1st two weeks of its life then starts jamming until unfunctional. Is the Fujitsu vulnerable to this complaint?? Thanks – great reveiw.

  2. Can anyone tell me if the software can pull the data off the scan in a form that makes it easy to upload to Quicken?

  3. I have used this scanner on my old G4 (NOT an intel processor), and I was finally exposed to a piece of Mac hardware (Scanner 500M) that performed AS ADVERTISED, no hype, no mess, just a trouble free scanner! I am now looking to move up a notch since I now am using a MacBookPro Core Intel 10.5

  4. Is there software so as to use either the PC or MAC version of the device interchangably. I have a personal MAC and an office run on PC. I would like to buy one scanner and use in both environs.

  5. Great review! Thanks. I actually own one too and love t. I recently moved and lost my CD. Do you know anywhere I can download the software for Mac? I’ve looked everywhere online…I think:)

  6. Thanks for the very good review! I was impressed with your video showing the speed of the scanner. It is very helpful to find a review like this, understandable to ordinary people, and without the manufacturers less than credible mumbo-jumbo! Keep up the good work! I think I will buy a scanner tomorrow, if I can find one here in Sweden. I plan to scan all my books, to make myself more mobile. I will have to cut the books of course, in order to feed the pages through the scanner. In the end, there will be several tons less to handle when I move to the next city!

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