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which program should I use for scanning documents straight to MS Word, ABBY Finereader or Paperport?

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Last Modified: 2017-07-01
Hello and Good Morning Everyone,

          From a previously closed post, I found out I can scan a text document straight into MS Word by using either ABBY Finereader or Paperport.  At this point, I am interested in knowing which program would work best for achieving this goal.  Any shared thoughts, suggestions, or tips will be greatly appreciated.

          Thank you.

           George
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Commented:
Hi George,
I have both programs and can say that they both are good, but not perfect. Trying to create a Word doc from scanning has the same problems as trying to convert a PDF to Word. In both cases, creating the Word doc is tricky business — maintaining the formatting/layout is tough stuff! I haven't found anything that is perfect, and results vary from one document to the next. So my suggestion is to define a few test docs – your docs! Compare the resulting Word files to see which, if either, of those tools produces Word files that are satisfactory. There are also other products that can do it, such as OmniPage (which I also have), made by Nuance, the same folks who make PaperPort. If you'd like to post (or send me privately) a sample scanned PDF, I'll use all three products to create Word docs and you can compare the results. Regards, Joe
Paul SauvéRetired
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Commented:
hi George,

when i purchased my Brother all-in-1 printer (print/scan/fax), there was a CD with software, including Nuance PaperPort 12

i have found that i get better results scanning to a RTF document format which i can open with MS Word.

of course, as Joe mentioned, you lose most of the formatting but you get most of the text without all the *&?%? text boxes like you get when converting to Word.

for pdf documents, i have tried Calibre (free E-Book Management app) to convert to Word with fair results
Joe WinogradDeveloper
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Hi George,
Two comments to follow up on Paul's post. First, he makes an excellent point about not necessarily scanning straight to Word, but making an intermediate stop, and then doing a conversion to Word. The most common approach to this when scanning is to scan to a searchable PDF file (meaning it has text from an OCR process, not simply a bitmap/graphic/image), and then converting the searchable PDF to Word. There are many products that can do this, but, as I mentioned in my first post, none is perfect (I have a laundry list of such products — let me know if you want it).

Second, Paul mentioned PaperPort 12 that was bundled with his Brother MFC. As you can tell from the articles and videos in my EE Profile, PaperPort is a product of extreme interest to me, so I wanted to pass along a few thoughts on it. From other threads that we've been on, I know you're using Windows 10. It's important to know that PaperPort 12 is not W10-compliant. The only version of PaperPort that is W10-compliant is PaperPort 14.5 with Patch 1. If you'd like to learn more about PaperPort in W10, read this EE article:
PaperPort 14 in Windows 10 - A First Look

If, like Paul, you also have an older PaperPort version (bundled or not), I recommend buying PP14 from Amazon. Right now, the standard version is just $25 and the Pro version just $40:
https://www.amazon.com/Nuance-Communications-PaperPort-Standard-Download/dp/B00M7DCPEM
https://www.amazon.com/Nuance-Communications-Paperport-Professional-Download/dp/B00M7GQYDM

Both standard and Pro can scan directly to Word. The differences between standard and Pro are shown in the file "Comparison Matrix of PP14 Standard and PP14 Professional.pdf" at this PaperPort wiki:
https://sites.google.com/site/wikipaperport/files

Those purchases from Amazon will be for PP14.0. Read this EE article to learn how to upgrade to PP14.5 for free:
PaperPort 14 - Free Upgrade to Version 14.5

Then read this EE article to learn how to install Patch 1 for free:
How to install the Patch 1 update for PaperPort 14.5

At that point, you'll be W10-compliant! Then I suggest installing the PP14 Scanner Connection Tool to make sure you have no scanning problems in W10. That's free, too, as discussed in this EE article:
PaperPort 14 Scanner Connection Tool - Fix Scanning Problems in PaperPort 14

Regards, Joe
Paul SauvéRetired
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Commented:
Paul mentioned PaperPort 12 that was bundled with his Brother MFC. ... It's important to know that PaperPort 12 is not W10-compliant.
In fact, my version of PP 12 works under Win 10PaperPort 12
Joe WinogradDeveloper
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> In fact, my version of PP 12 works under Win 10

Yes, some users report that, many report no such luck. And even when PP12 itself works in W10, the PaperPort Image Printer does not work (in nearly all cases that I've seen). Try it — print to the PP Image Printer from any app that has a File>Print menu and let me know if the "printed" image appears in the open folder on your PP desktop. If it does, you are truly blessed. :)

All of that said, I wasn't even talking about whether or not it works in W10. My crucial point is that Nuance states that the only version of PaperPort that is W10-compliant is PaperPort 14.5 with Patch 1. This is the Nuance KB article with that critical statement:
Nuance PDF product support for Windows 10

Regards, Joe
Paul SauvéRetired
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Commented:
the PaperPort Image Printer does not work

i must be a lucky man:
PP Printyou can just make out the rtf filename
Joe WinogradDeveloper
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Commented:
You should immediately buy a lottery ticket!

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Commented:
Hello and Good Evening Joe and Paul,

          Thank you very much for your well thought out and detailed suggestions.   With respect to what I have already been doing, I have been scanning text documents, saving them as PDF files, opening each of these files using Adobe Acrobat XI Pro, and going to File then Save as within the menu.  From there, I have been choosing Microsoft Word from within the list of menu items.  As pointed out by Joe, my results have varied from document to document with respect to MS Word 2013 capability of retaining the original formatting of each page.  Overall, I have to say that I have been pleased with the results despite of the minor corrections which have to be made for each document within MS Word 2013.  

           With respect to what I had originally envisioned, I basically had the desire to do away with the intermediate step of using Adobe Acrobat XI Pro to convert the PDF to a MS Word document.  For example, my goal was to simply scan a document using either ABBY Finereader or Paperport which is compliant with Windows 10 and save it from within one of these two programs to a MS Word document format.  The rationale behind this goal was time efficiency.  I thought it would take less time doing it this way as compared to what I have already been doing by using Adobe Acrobat XI Pro to convert PDF files to Microsoft Word documents.   Acknowledging the imperfections  using both methods as pointed out by Joe, I am not sure if one method is any more time efficient than the other.

            In closing, I believe I will simply continue with using my intermediate program, Adobe Acrobat XI Pro, to convert each PDF to Word for purposes of editing.  As always, I certainly did learn a great deal from this post.  Thanks again for the great information.  It was enlightening and eye opening.

            George
Joe WinogradDeveloper
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Commented:
Hi George,
First, let me say you're welcome, and then send some thanks back to you for such a thoughtful closing comment. Based on that comment, there may be a way to make your process more efficient. You said that you are scanning docs to PDF and then opening them in Acrobat XI Pro. That seems to imply that you're using some other program to do the scanning, which obviously includes OCR, since your PDFs have text, then saving the PDFs in that other program, and then running Acrobat on them. Instead of that, you can do everything in Acrobat — scanning, including OCR, and saving to a Word file. In other words, you need to use only Acrobat and there are just two steps to the process:

File>Create>PDF from Scanner (use a Preset, such as B&W Doc, and make sure the Preset includes OCR)
File>Save As Other>MS Word

Here's what the Configure Presets dialog looks like:

Acrobat XI Pro scanning presets
Note the Make Searchable (Run OCR) check-box. By configuring the presets, you won't have to set the options each time you scan, so you can initiate scanning with just a few mouse clicks on the menus.

But a word of caution on this approach: it means that you'll be using Acrobat's OCR — the same OCR that you get when doing Tools>Text Recognition in Acrobat XI Pro. I'm not a fan of Acrobat's OCR — I much prefer ABBYY FineReader and OmniPage (the latter is what PaperPort uses — OP and PP are both from Nuance). So while the process is likely to be more efficient from the perspective of your labor, you may not be as pleased with the final product. But maybe you will be — it's worth some experimentation. Regards, Joe

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Hello and Good Evening Joe,

         Thank you very much for your follow up tips and suggestions.  To be perfectly candid, I did not realize I could use Adobe Acrobat XI Pro to scan documents.  I have been using the integrated software which came with my HP Deskjet 2543 printer for that function.  I have been merely using Adobe Acrobat XI Pro to open and convert each PDF to Microsoft Word document format.  Knowing that I can now scan documents within Adobe Acrobat XI Pro as clearly shown within your easy to follow illustration, I am certainly eager to give this a try.  

          Thanks again Joe for this wonderful tip.  Each time I carefully read a proposed suggestion to any concern from you, I always walk away with an extension of knowledge and skill that I did not originally have when starting.  Thank you Joe for being such a valuable advisor to EE.  You truly make a big difference :-)

           George
Joe WinogradDeveloper
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Commented:
You're welcome, George — and thanks to you for the ultra-kind comments — very nice to hear! I think you may like using Acrobat XI Pro for the scanning — it's very good! I don't use it myself on a regular basis because I've been using PaperPort for 20+ years and prefer it. But I've experimented quite a bit with Acrobat's scanning and, for folks who are already Acrobat users, it's a great way to go. I like to hide the "native" scanning interface, meaning the scanner's TWAIN driver, which you do by clicking the Options button next to the Scanner drop-down when configuring the Presets (see screenshot for that in my previous post). The dialog for hiding the TWAIN driver's interface looks like this:

acrobat hide twain dialog
This technique results in one-click scanning — well, two clicks...click the Create icon, then click the Preset (such as B&W Doc) on the PDF from Scanner fly-out. It's actually pretty slick! Give it a shot and let me know what you think. Regards, Joe
Joe WinogradDeveloper
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Commented:
Hi Paul,
To show you how lucky you are, this is the far more common result in W10:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/29041374/Paperport-14-5-printer-driver-not-available.html

Regards, Joe
Paul SauvéRetired
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Commented:
in see - maybe i'll buy that lottery ticket today
Joe WinogradDeveloper
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Commented:
Go for it!

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Commented:
Hello and Good Evening Joe,

           Thank you very much for your closing tip for configuring Adobe Acrobat XI Pro for scanning.  I feel much more reassured now about using this program for scanning my documents, thus, bypassing the step of using the integrated software which came with the HP Deskjet 2543 and saving some time.  In other words, I can use your suggestions to simply scan to PDF and convert that PDF file for later editing within MS Word 2013.  Thanks again Joe for your reassurance and encouragement.  

            I hope everyone has a good weekend and a safe and fun upcoming July 4th holiday.

            Take care

            George
Joe WinogradDeveloper
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Commented:
> simply scan to PDF and convert that PDF file for later editing within MS Word 2013

Exactly! And the "convert" step is as simple as File>Save As Other>Microsoft Word.

Best wishes back at you for a safe, fun holiday! Regards, Joe