If you are in enthusiast that’s driven on productivity and being organized; and doing things the smart way— document imaging is the way to go. Whether you’re applying document imaging at home or at work, it’s going to be of benefit to you at some point.
As an individual who has been using document imaging since roughly around 1998, I can truthfully say that having documents in an electronic form, being able to search them very fast, or just being able to locate an e-mail information to various destinations is a huge bonus. But even more so is being able to convert printed textual documents into an electronic form that can be edited— this is where Nuance‘s OmniPage really shines.
It’s an absolute must-have for office environments.
OmniPage has the ability to convert paper into a digital form and automatically convert that digital form into something that can be indexed and searched. Images can be captured from scanners or digital cameras; this includes smartphones and tablets. Processed images can be converted directly into a searchable PDF, or you can scan in forms, to have them automatically detected to where you can fill them out.
From here, I start my techie review of OmniPage 18. My version of a techie review is a overall evaluation of the application, how it works and if the application is something you’d be willing to buy for your home or office. I like to dig into all the major features and options that are offered by the application and give my overall opinion of everything that’s offered.
Pricing and Availability
OmniPage 18 and OmniPage Professional 18 are available through Nuance’s global network of reseller partners. OmniPage 18 is $149 and OmniPage Professional 18 is $499 for individual users, with volume discounts available through the Nuance Open License Program. Upgrade pricing and support products are also available. For additional information on OmniPage features, pricing and volume licensing programs, please visit www.nuance.com/omnipage or call 800-443-7077.
The version of OmniPage 18 Pro, but I’m using was an electronic version that was downloaded from the nuance website. The size of the compressed file was 579 MB. On my system, it only took about a minute to extract all files to a temporary installation directory. Immediately after the files were extracted, the installation program started by itself. During installation OmniPage 18 installed some prerequisite software such as Microsoft Visual C++ 2005/2010 redistributable 64-bit [for my system] and .NET framework 4.
Early in the installation process, the customer is going to be prompted for their serial number for the application…
One of the surprising things that I noticed about the installation, as you go into the custom set up [if you choose that option], you’ll notice that Nuance has provided 10 digitized voices to allow recognize text to be read aloud and then saved as a compatible wave file. I can only presume how beneficial this can be to individuals with disabilities.
The full installation of OmniPage 18, from the time the installation application started to the time the application indicated that the installation was completed, only about 5 min. elapsed.
I only had one problem with the installation, the installer said that there were files that were in use, but didn’t indicate which files were in use, or which applications needed to be closed; so I closed all applications and continued with the installation— I didn’t receive any errors during or after the installation completed.
Nuances PDF create seven is included with the installation of OmniPage 18. You might remember my review of this application from little while back. But I can truthfully say that including this application with the installation of OmniPage is going to be a true benefit.
OmniPage 18 also includes Nuance’s Cloud Connector. If the software installation that creates a virtual drive on your local machine that points to a cloud/Internet location were files can be placed and accessed from virtually anywhere.
As you open OmniPage 18, the first thing you notice is how clean the interface looks and how Nuance has made an effort to simplify the recognition process. They’ve broken the scanning, recognition and export methods down into three steps.
I believe in simplicity, and I believe that this was a very wise choice to simplify the application because of all the powerful options that are available to the users.
As you click on the drop-down options for scan, OmniPage has already scanned your system tto find prerequisite compatible applications they can import images from; new options such as, SharePoint, Evernote, Dropbox and Nuance’s own option for the Cloud Connector. But the website says 20 other cloud solutions… I didn’t get that many, but I can see where this feature could be very important. While OmniPage is a powerful application, I’m really attracted to how the time has been taken to simplify the interface, to remove the clutter that could be and make the act of getting stuff done a lot easier.
One of the things that I’m noticing about Nuance products lately is there emphasis on information and helping the users. Getting help with the application is never too far away. OmniPage has links to the help index in several places in the application. The option for help has been conveniently placed atop the same section as you are going to be working with your scanned documents.
From here, it’s very simple to click on the help button, type in exactly what you’re looking for and then the help documentation is presented to you. You can read the instructions, see how things are done what you need to do, and then go back to what you need to complete; all without losing your place.
When working with images, with the image enhancements; I do wish that the application offered a more streamlined and simplified method of straightening documents. The application does have a deskew function, but it seems like a manual function at this point. It could be I couldn’t find the auto-deskew button…
[if so, I apologize]
Upon starting OmniPage for the first time, the application prompted me to download most current listing of supported profiles for hardware; thinking that this was the best thing to do, I went ahead and downloaded the updated drivers from the website. The profile database is a set of configuration settings for OmniPage or for PaperPort that have already been certified as to how that device is going to perform with the software.
I selected my printer/device [Canon MX320 series Printer/Scanner], which is a multifunction machine and has an Auto-Document Feeder [or ADF]. I used the WIA and the TWAIN drivers for my testing and found both to work just fine.
And sharing functions between applications like PaperPort, there seems to be the scanner Wizard, which allows you to test the abilities of the scanning device that you’re going to be using; to see if OmniPage is going to be fully compatible with what you want to do. PaperPort has the very same function, so I’m glad to see that the code is not going to waste in just one application.
The interaction between the software and the scanner seem to work very well. I wasn’t noticing that I was getting bogged down in a bunch of useless and repetitive clicks just to get something done.
This is the 18th version of OmniPage. Nuance has had plenty of time to improve on and work on the algorithms to help recognize the text on the page; not just the text but the formatting as well. This version doesn’t seem to disappoint. In the course of my testing, I used newspaper articles, books, magazines and handwritten pieces of paper to see how the software package would perform.
I found the recognition on a high level. Anything the software didn’t recognize, it was asking me. And during the recognition process, I saw options for training the software for special characters. I found this interesting if you’re working with special symbols on a regular basis.
Obviously, I found that the best performance was coming from documents that were preprinted, had formatted text or text that was written by hand fairly well. Unfortunately, my handwriting is horrible, therefore I don’t really hold OmniPage any ill will for being less than perfect on recognizing my handwriting.
What I found impressive about OmniPage is how it perfectly complements the PaperPort suite that Nuance offers. Combining this package with PaperPort would make for an unbeatable home/office document imaging solution.
Workflows; being able to scan these documents in, be OCR’d and then made indexable is where you really want to be with document imaging. Being able to find that information, or snippet of information quickly. And you can accomplish this with OmniPage’s ability to create workflows. Workflows are a specific set of functions that you want OmniPage to perform each time a document is scanned into the application, and you can create your own set of rules on how you want documents to be treated once there scanned in or imported into the system.
This process can be streamlined even more by using the batch manager. This is the process of putting images or documents in a specific directory and having the application process all the information later, possibly after peak hours. This is the best solution when you’re dealing with a large amount documents. Once you have created your workflows and setup the scanning/processing paths; the system can automatically do these functions without your intervention— there’s actually option this is ‘do not prompt’ once you have this set up.
Zone Templates; another fantastic feature of OmniPage is the ability to set templates for documents that have preset information on them. For instance if you have forms, with tables and lines and boxes of information; you can create a template saying this is an X type of document, and then you can set the areas for information like account numbers, dates, addresses and other pieces of information.
Once this is configured, it can be used to extrapolate information and apply it to the document as the documents are being processed and saved off. I really love this feature.
In trying out the text to speech, I thought it was okay. I didn’t see the ‘strengths’ of this application in proof reading everything; rather it being more of a fluff point, and being candid about it, I’m not sure how they could have really made it better. The voices that accompanied the installation are okay. The voice aren’t super smooth [I've heard better rendered voices], but on the grounds of what it does, and what it’s for; it works.
Once the voice option is activated the arrow keys are used to read line by line [sentence]. Surely, this feature will help with the proof reading process [and with those with disabilities], because the human mind doesn’t always read every word, and sometimes assumes words are there, when they’re not— [we're not defective, that's the way it is…]
I find this software package is outstanding. It has lots of great features and functions you would expect with a document imaging system; tools to help you import, process and index information. Any office could really benefit from this software package. Businesses that aren’t using software like this are losing money.
And having worked in the imaging field for the last 12 years, I know that having this information at your employee’s finger tips, and yours, is a huge benefit. With the level of recognition OmniPage offers, mixed with the workflow and template options; daily ‘batches’ could accumulate during the business day and process at night— ready for the next day. For the functions this software package allows you to do, this kind of of software can save you thousands of dollars over a small period of time.
Nuance has it right; when they said OmniPage is the perfect compliment to PaperPort. With the functions of PaperPort and the power of OmniPage this would make for a great solution for scanning, processing and research.
Here’s Nuance press release:
I would love to hear what you think…
Larry Henry Jr.