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NeatDesk Scanner Turns Receipts Into Organized Data

NeatDesk Scanner Turns Receipts Into Organized Data

The NeatDesk, left, here connected to a laptop, is a high-speed desktop scanner and digital filing system that scans receipts, business cards and documents.

Edward C. Baig | USA Today

The latest machine is designed with three dedicated slots for loading items you want to scan — one for feeding in business cards, one for receipts and one for standard-size documents. You can simultaneously load up to 10 of each type. Or by removing a paper-input tray, you can load and scan up to 50 letter-size documents.

•Post-scan.

After you feed through an item, the digital filing cabinet software kicks into action. It automatically crops and rotates scanned images so they appear right side up. It then extracts names, phone numbers, dollar amounts and other key info off cards and receipts and places amounts in appropriate data fields. It’s smart enough to separate the sales tax on a cash register receipt.

Incidentally, the NeatReceipts scanner remains in the lineup for $200. The hardware is slower, and you have to scan documents one at a time. But it runs the same NeatWorks software as the NeatDesk. The software is a $30 upgrade if you have an older version.

The software also auto-detects the type of paper inserted. Files land in one of three bins in a central inbox: receipts, business cards and documents. You can move misclassified items from one bin to another.

You can also scan two sides of a document and scan in color or black-and-white.

As with other scanners, NeatDesk uses optical character-recognition (OCR) technology that’s been around for eons. Though the technology has improved through the years, OCR mistakes are still common.

Scanning business cards is a particular challenge because of funky designs, colors and logos. And store receipts are challenging because of the low-quality printers often used to produce them. The software also failed to parse any details from a Holiday Inn hotel bill I scanned in.

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Still, on balance, NeatDesk did a decent job of ferreting out data from scanned images and placing everything in the right fields inside the software.

You can verify and fix mistakes in the inbox, before filing receipts and such in a separate electronic filing cabinet. You can also create customizable folders for your scanned documents, arranged, say, by client, project, business trip and so on.

The scanner is well worth considering for anyone who hopes to reduce clutter. And maybe by keeping all those wayward receipts in order, it will even help you clean up come tax time.

Courtesy of © 2008 YellowBrix, Inc.


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