I couple of weeks ago, I did a review on the latest version of Paperport v12 Professional. I was reviewing the product as anyone would if they were looking to apply it in the corporate environment or at home; what did it do? How did it do it and was it easy enough to use.
During the process of reviewing and dissecting the program, going through it’s various functions, I thought about all the programs I’ve ever used and does what Paperport does… With everything that Paperport does, could it be replaced it something else- an alternative?
The answer is YES.
One of the most attractive things about Paperport is that it attempts to put everything at your finger tips when the program starts. The tree listing of items on the left with the thumbnail images on the right; action option for those items are located at the bottom.
But my alternative to Paperport is very similar; it doesn’t have all the bells whistles, but I think we can account for what it doesn’t have right our of the box [download].
My alternative to Paperport is XNVIEW; it’s a free program for personal or educational use, but if you’ve to buy it- it’s an awesome value and all future updates are free; you can’t beat that.
And so the first question should be what does it look like?
Well that answer depends on you; there are several options for the program layout.
For me, I chose to make it look almost like Paperport, excluding the toolbar at the bottom.
XNVIEW has the functions, for emailing images, documents and pretty much everything else Paperport does. Obviously, the interface GUI is slightly different, but is not a mirror- this is an alternative…
The program offers a way to assign external programs to send the items to. So if you want to use your own editor or OCR or whatever you can do that and this really the strong point of XNVIEW. While XnView handles over 400 file formats natively, you can add more.
And while Paperport has ignored Thunderbird users for years on the issue of being able to email items using Paperport and Thunderbird; XnView does this with no problem. That’s right, this free program has out paced a commercial product on something so simple.
I haven’t found any thing so far that I couldn’t adjust for in XnView, coming from Paperport.
One of Paperport’s strong suits is the scanning in of documents. Being able to input/scan the documents and then organize them; XnView handles this just fine. You can scan in documents one at a time or you can handle the documents with batch scanning [scanning to TIFF or PDF].
Where Paperport uses a proprietary format, MAX, to handle their files to ‘stack’ images, this is a custom format and they only work in Paperport. I’ve never agreed with this option. In order for others to use MAX files the other party has to install a viewer. And while this may be the case, MAX files are not standard like a PDF file.
One of the things I like about XnView is that is uses TABS. They’re used to open new images, scan items or show new stuff. You can have open many images and still be able to browse the tree on the right- it’s a more productive GUI, in my opinion.
Paperport has some limited functions on image editing, but Paperport really can’t compare with some of the freeware alternatives right now. My suggestion for tools for editing images inside XnView is PhotoFiltre [there are many others], it has so many options for managing images or altering images. It covers just about everything you would want to do with an image.
One of the strong suits of Paperport is the integration of their OCR option. With Paperport you can select an TIFF and click WORD or Notepad and the image is OCR’d and placed in a text file of your choice. There’s nothing like this coming in to XnView, but there’s alternative; it’s called SIMPLE OCR. Documents can be loaded in to it and OCR’d with little effort.
Paperport 12 Professional has started using PDF as a more standard editing tool, but their PDF program/version is equal in a lot of ways to solutions that are considered free. For instance, I think that [and I use] PDF-XChange Viewer. The strong suit to PDF-XChange Viewer is that it’s small, it’s fast, it’s portable and it’s updated regularly. And the biggest reason, I can edit the PDF’s; I can add information to the PDF and print it or add information to it and save it with that NEW information. Essentially, being able to fill out forms [PDF], save them and then return them. It’s a huge convenience. And it’s free.
Paperport bundles a function for creating PDF’s; this is an EASY solution. PDFCreator has been my solution of choice for creating PDF’s. If you can print a document, you can create a PDF. It’s a small file and it’s an easy install. If you need something portable; look for doPDF. doPDF does the same functions, but can be portable. Very handy if your a tech…
I’d also like to mention that XnView is portable. It’s a simple exe that can be loaded on a jumpdrive and carried with you; as well as the PDF-XChange Viewer- I think SimpleOCR is too.
There are many other functions to make comparisons to, but I’m not going to list all of them here, but my point is there is a close option/comparison.
The performance has always been a big issue with Paperport. I don’t really know what all they do with Paperport when they’re working with just getting thumbnail items, but it’s consistently a point of irritation for me; Paperport v12 was an improvement over the previous version in the generation of the thumbnails.
A side note for anyone that does want to convert away from Paperport; make sure you convert all the MAX files from Paperport to a more standard format before complete move away from it. The Paperport MAX Viewer doesn’t have a batch processing function and is a nightmare for those who would need to convert. With Paperport you can select multiple files and convert them all at once; making it very simple.
Paperport is included with a lot of new scanners these days, and this makes it very popular, and it gets its fair share of attention, but as users become more acclimated scanning and start understanding things more; I thought I’d put this out there as an option and an alternative to Paperport.
I still use Paperport v11, I think it’s a good product, but I’ve done some searches for ‘alternatives to Paperport’ and this was my basis for this post.
Hope this helps.