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Alternative to PaperPort - Need to Unstack/Stack PDF Files

Posted on 2014-09-28
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Last Modified: 2014-10-20
I am currently using PaperPort and want to start using it with SharePoint (with the Groove client so that it shows up as a Windows drive) to allow other people to gain access and start updating a large amount of PDF files.  However, PaperPort creates several other non-hidden files within each folder and it is causing confusion with the other users.

I created a batch file to delete the other files at set times, but it is still not working the way that we need.

I need another program like PaperPort that allows the users to scan in a large document, unstack the individual pages, and rename the pages in the same program.

Requirements:
-- Free or cheap (less than $20 for each computer)
-- Ability to scan documents as PDF files
-- Ability to unstack/stack PDF files
-- Ability to rename each page individually with preview
-- No extra files stored in document folders
-- Must be easy to use

So, essentially I need PaperPort without the additional files.

I have tried several other programs.  I really like NADS2 (Not Another PDF Scanner) for scanning the PDF files, but I need just one program to do everything.  PDF Split and Merge will unstack the pages, but is too confusing for users.
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Question by:Brian Pringle
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40348728
What version of PaperPort? Standard or Professional?

Regardless of the answer, PaperPort does not create non-hidden files. It creates these hidden files (depending somewhat on version):

.ppinfocache
maxdesk.ini
maxdesk.ini2
PP11Thumbs.ptn
PP11Thumbs.ptn2

If you use All-in-One Search, it creates this hidden folder:

SearchVerity

So, what are the "several other non-hidden files within each folder" that PP is creating? Regards, Joe
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by:Brian Pringle
ID: 40348764
Those are the files that it is creating, but when they are added to SharePoint, they are not hidden.  All users can see those files.  

The end users are scanning directly into PaperPort, which is saving directly to the SharePoint folder.  

If you are not familiar with the SharePoint Connector (Groove client), it works a lot like Dropbox.  Every file is uploaded regardless of its hidden attribute.  However, when it gets uploaded it is no longer hidden.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40348855
I've been using PP for 20 years — from v3 to the latest 14.5 Pro — but never with SharePoint. I know a little bit about SharePoint (but not much) and nothing about the Groove client. But that won't stop me from brainstorming this with you. :)  It's a very interesting issue!

Are your users using the SharePoint Program Link on the Send To Bar:

SharePoint link on PP14 Send To Bar
Or are they using ScanDirect to scan straight to SharePoint:

ScanDirect to SharePoint
but when they are added to SharePoint
What is adding them to SharePoint? If it's the Groove client, maybe you can configure it to exclude the PP hidden files/folders. There must be some way to get them to SharePoint without the hidden files/folders, in other words, just the PDF files.

Btw, I think you should ask the EE admins to modify the topics. One of the three you've chosen (Office & Productivity Software) is OK, but the other two won't get you the right experts for this issue. I really think you need some SharePoint expertise, so the MS SharePoint topic is a must. Also, PaperPort is all about Document Imaging and Document Management, so those two topics are good ones for this question. But after you've created a question, it's my understanding that only EE admins can change the topics (and create more than three), so you'll need to click the Request Attention button (under the question on the right) in order to achieve this. Regards, Joe
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by:Brian Pringle
ID: 40349152
We are using PaperPort 14 standard edition and it does not appear to have the SharePoint capabilities.  I discussed with management about using the Pro version and they are not willing spend the extra money.  

SharePoint Connector simply creates a new "drive" on your computer, but it really is a folder.  (C:\Users\%username%\SharePoint\)

Screenshot
We are using PowerPoint (or NADS2) to scan the documents directly to that folder.  Then, PaperPort is used to manipulate the files (unstack, rename).  That is when it creates the files.  But, it stores them locally as a hidden file, which gets synchronized with SharePoint.  SharePoint does not allow hidden files, so it makes them not hidden.  They then get synchronized to all computers as not hidden.  

I do not have admin rights to SharePoint.  That is why I am looking for an alternative on the workstation side.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40349205
Yes, the SharePoint Connector is only in the Pro edition. You'll find a complete comparison of Std and Pro in the file "Comparison Matrix of PP14 Standard and PP14 Professional.pdf" at this PaperPort wiki:
http://sites.google.com/site/wikipaperport/files/

One thing I don't get, though, is why those files would cause any confusion with the users. They're not a "normal" file type that users would access — PDF, TIFF, JPG, etc. As mentioned above, the file types are .ppinfocache, .ini, .ini2, .ptn, and .ptn2. And the file names are funky, too — maxdesk and PP11Thumbs. Why would a user even consider accessing a file with a file name and file type like that?! And how could they confuse a user?!

In terms of a PP alternative, I'm not aware of any product that does everything on your list, let alone one that does it for less than $20 per seat. One of the most difficult-to-find features is the ability to name each page of a PDF individually.

I don't know if the SharePoint Connector in PP14 Pro will meet your "No extra files stored in document folders" requirement. My guess is that it will — I would think the connector is smart enough not to place those files on SharePoint. I would test one copy of Pro to see. If it does, you may want to try to convince management to spend $54.45 per seat, the current price at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Nuance-Communications-Inc-F309A-G00-140-Professional/dp/B005CELL1G/

It's more than $20, but a lot less than the $200 list price. Regards, Joe
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40349223
OK, here's another idea. Don't synchronize the folders that contain the PP hidden files. Instead, synchronize a different folder that has not been added to the PP desktop via Folder Manager — i.e., a folder that is not exposed to PP, so it won't have any of the PP hidden files. Your users will still use PowerPoint (or NADS2) to scan documents directly to a folder and will then still use PP14 Standard to manipulate the files (unstack, rename, etc.), but when they are done manipulating a file, they will move it to the folder that *is* synchronized with SharePoint. To do that, they'll simply Cut (Ctrl-X) in PP and then Paste (Ctrl-V) using Windows Explorer (not PP) into the folder that is synchronized with SharePoint. The users can't use the normal PP techniques for moving a file because the folder they're moving it to cannot be exposed to the PP desktop, otherwise it could pick up the hidden files. But doing the Paste in Windows Explorer (or other file manager, but not PP) will work fine — and no hidden files! Regards, Joe
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by:Brian Pringle
ID: 40350739
One of the requirements is for no extra work, so this is not an option.

As for the files, if they have one PDF file mixed in with five other files, they are getting confused and clicking the wrong file.  It is causing frustration.

Still no answer from management about getting Pro, so I am still looking for alternatives.
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 40351048
> One of the requirements is for no extra work, so this is not an option.

Well, it's a little extra work, but very little, especially compared to everything else they're doing. They're scanning documents, un-stacking pages, cleaning up the docs, re-stacking the pages, giving each page in each PDF individual names, etc. That's a lot of work! Seems that a few extra keystrokes is noise in the overall process — Ctrl-X, bring up Windows Explorer to the folder that gets synchronized with SharePoint, Ctrl-V. Not much extra work, but if it needs to be zero extra work, so be it.

> As for the files, if they have one PDF file mixed in with five other files, they are getting confused and clicking the wrong file. It is causing frustration.

OK, but it seems to me that it should be possible to teach them to access only PDF files and ignore everything else. It's so hard to imagine that files like maxdesk.ini2 and PP11Thumbs.ptn would confuse them. But, once again, if that's the case, so be it.

> Still no answer from management about getting Pro, so I am still looking for alternatives.

Doesn't hurt to keep looking for alternatives, but I'll be stunned if you find a product that does everything on your list — especially for less than $20 per seat. I've heard of some PP users switching to Lucion FileCenter, but its pricing is $100 per computer for Standard and $200 for Professional (multi-license discounts are available, but I don't think you'll get to the $20 range — or even the $55 range of PP14 Pro at Amazon).

There are plenty of excellent, free PDF products out there. Three of my favorites are:

(1) Foxit Reader:
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/downloads/

(2) PDF-XChange Editor:
http://www.tracker-software.com/product/pdf-xchange-editor

They also have a PRO (non-free) version, but the free version is terrific, and even has OCR capability. I don't know how many users you have, but the 100-user pack of PRO is $1,689, which meets your less-than-$20-per-user criterion. That said, even the PRO version may not meet all of your requirements.

(3) Nitro Reader:
http://www.nitroreader.com/

Although these are all excellent products, they do not do everything on your requirements list (except maybe #2, but I have only the free version, not PRO — you'll need to test it yourself to find out).

Another idea. You mentioned earlier that you do not have admin rights to SharePoint (which is why you're looking for an alternative on the workstation side), but somebody must have admin rights. Ask the SharePoint admin to create a timer job that monitors for changes and when it finds the unwanted PP files (.ppinfocache, maxdesk.ini, maxdesk.ini2, PP11Thumbs.ptn, PP11Thumbs.ptn2), delete them! Regards, Joe
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