Dec 18 2015

Review: FileCenter Professional v9

Lucion_technologies_FileCenter_Professional_version_9_thumb Review: FileCenter Professional v9

Last year, I did a review on FileCenter Professional. Prior to that, I had been an over extended period of time user of Nuance’s PaperPort, but before then, I had been doing document imaging in one form or another since 1996. Document Imaging is one of the technologies I’m personally interested in. Not just for me, but for everyone else as well.

This is a review on the latest version of FileCenter Professional. I encourage you to look over the previous review as I’m using it as a base for this article.


Where To Get The Software

FileCenter Professional is not going to be located in your local brick-and-mortar store. The document imaging software from Lucion Technologies is located on the website. The latest version is 9. When you download the software, the downloaded software is about 130Mb. If you’re downloading this over a broadband connection, it should only take a few seconds.

The installation of the software is pretty straightforward. The overall installation is pretty much all defaults. There is an option for creating a PDF printer. There’s a checkbox if you don’t want to install it. The software will ask you for your software key. If you’re doing a 15-day free trial, all you have to do is check the box.

In my testing, the software installed in about one minute. I didn’t get any errors and I wasn’t forced to reboot my system after the installation.

http://www.lucion.com/downloads.html

My Initial Impressions

From version 8  to 9 there’s not but much visual change to the user interface. If you’re using version 8 and you’re planning on upgrading to version 9, you should be very comfortable making that transition.

FileCenter_Professional_version_917_thumb Review: FileCenter Professional v9

The user interface for FileCenter Professional is basically the same. It still works on the basis of cabinets; locally or over a network connection [shared drive].

The logical tree structure on the left of the main form makes it easy to navigate the contents folders. The tree structure is directly related to the folder structure on the hard drive, so navigating the documents outside of FileCenter Professional is the same. Setting security for the document folders, is done to the Windows operating system.

Here’s a quick look at all some of the settings in FileCenter Professional.

FileCenter-Professional-settings_thumb Review: FileCenter Professional v9

Features/Functionality

Since last year, a lot of features have been added to FileCenter Professional. I can’t hit on all those in this one article, but I do want to hit on some high points.

The items are going to focus on having to do with streamlining the process of getting documents into your document imaging system. I have always maintained that the most difficult part of document imaging is the ease in which those documents are put into the system. You definitely don’t want to have a complicated and labor-intensive process for scanning documents.

Folder indicators

Folder indicators may not be much of a feature to some people, but for those individuals who use document imaging on a regular basis and use templates to keep track of documents; as an audit function, knowing which folders are empty just at a glance is going be very beneficial.  I think this is a good example of the developers of this application listening to his customer base and understanding why this type of feature is important.

FileCenter_Professional_folder_indicators_thumb Review: FileCenter Professional v9

In addition to having it folder indicators, I think [speculation] this may be building to something more in the future; referencing auditing again.

 

OCR Performance and Text naming of Files

FileCenter Professional’s OCR scanning abilities work very well [PDF and other graphics formats; like JPG]. I’m very happy to see this functionality in the application at a point where it can be the most beneficial to the users; importing and scanning documents.

Upgraded their OCR abilities to now allow for two pages to be simultaneously scanned and separate threads [threads meaning processes]. Currently, the application is limited to two concurrent processes, but I would look to see more in the future.

In addition to the application adding OCR and improving the performance of their OCR functions, the application now has the ability to read a particular part of the page when it scanned in to grab the filename that should be called.

FileCenter_Professional_OCR_zones_thumb Review: FileCenter Professional v9

 

Reading/Using Barcodes

if you’re working in a higher end environment that does document imaging, you’ll appreciate the ability of the application to be able to use and read barcodes. In FileCenter Professional, as your scanning and documents, if barcodes are located on those documents, they can be used as document separators and even routed to a particular path/folder. This saves huge amounts of time.

FileCenter_Professional_barcodes_settings_thumb Review: FileCenter Professional v9

Even more, time could be saved if you’re using the OCR function to auto name the document, with barcoding to properly file it away. If you’re familiar with document imaging, you can see what benefit this could be for your environment. Obviously, the configuration is required for the front end, but the time savings on the backend are huge.

Another benefit is that the documents are always processed and stored in the correct location; not becoming a mundane task that has to be done every time a document is scanned.

 

Image Handling and Using drag-and-drop

Sometimes document imaging is not just about scanning documents, sometimes it’s the ability to process other types of images and be able to store those images/documents quickly and easily. A lot of document imaging applications don’t have the simple ability to drag-and-drop images/files directly into their applications to be stored. This includes Microsoft Outlook emails.

Not only can images be put into the system using drag-and-drop, you can also use your clipboard to right click and paste images into the application.

FileCenter_Professional_paste_image_save_prompt_thumb Review: FileCenter Professional v9

When you go to paste the image, the application recognizes the function and when the images pasted, the application asks for the filename you would like to use. It’s an intuitive function that more document imaging applications should have. I think this would be an invaluable tool if someone was doing knowledge base construction.

 

Strong Points

  • Opens fast
  • User guides are right there on questions about the application; video library of how to’s [http://www.lucion.com/videos-library.html?utm_source=Software&utm_campaign=FileCenterEXE].
  • Program updates are checked automatically.
  • Refined user interface; all options are clearly available to the user
  • Considering all the features that you get with this software package, it’s decently priced.
  • As a strong number of features that streamline the process of getting documents into the system; barcoding, auto file naming/storage, OCR, creating searchable PDFs, scan workflows, File Agent, etc.
  • Logical tree previews of document storage
  • Quick previews of a wide range of document types; allowing for viewing of documents inside the application without having to open ancillary programs.

Weak Points

  • Can’t find a way to rotate documents, to make slight adjustments and make sure the documents are perfectly straight. The only options I could find for adjusting scanned documents was rotating a full 90°. Scanned documents are not always straight and it makes more sense to be able to fine-tune or slightly rotate documents for long-term storage.
  • I don’t see any options in the software for archiving for long-term storage. I would love to see an option in the software that recognizes documents are older than X date and then prompts/reminds the user to archive that data.

Conclusion/Opinion

FileCenter Professional has added some great features over the past year. In my previous review of FileCenter, I really liked the way the application handled the scanning workflow of getting documents into the system and I thought the file agent were great features.

Now with the addition of OCR, the additional OCR threading, handling of barcodes, document naming by OCR, you can clearly see that the developers are listening to their customer base and making changes that are going to benefit everyone greatly.

I continue to be impressed with the sheer amount of features and functions that FileCenter Professional offers, it’s easily worth the $199 investment being asked for it.

If you don’t trust me, just download and test the 15-day trial; fully functional.

Credits and Reference

Lucion Technologies

FileCenter Professional


If you have any thoughts or opinions on this, let me know in the comments below…


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  • Willie Janssen

    Looks great and a very useful computer tools gonna try this tools today and hope i can use this on my computer works.

  • frenchtoast

    I am evaluating FileCenter 9 Professional and I am impressed with the page separators that allows automatic naming of scanned documents. I also like the usage of the native Windows Indexing engine and the ability to seach PDF keywords. On thing missing is the ability to preset keywords for the page separators. Maybe in the next version? I already submitted this request. Let’s see how fast they react.