ScanSoft OmniPage 15
- Workflows, Batch scanning, Accurate
- Slow, No powerpoint support
This feature packed offering from ScanSoft has something for both beginners and advanced users alike.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
The aptly named Omnipage Professional 15 from ScanSoft allows users to scan both images and documents, edit them as text and export them as a different file type. The program is designed to be used in conjunction with a scanner, or you can simply work with existing files.
Setup for us took around 20 minutes and three separate programs are installed - PDF Converter, PDF Scanner and Omnipage itself. After installation, you will be required to activate the product online. Version 15 is still similar to previous versions of the software, but makes several key improvements, especially to workflows and folder watching.
The Omnipage screen is split into four different areas. At the top of the screen are a set of exceptionally intuitive toolbars, used for loading, scanning and exporting documents. Under these are two separate panels, one which displays the source document or image and the second a text editor which allows you to edit scanned text or images. The last section is at the bottom of the screen and is used to manage the various files you are working on.
Scanning a document is simple and involved pressing the 'Load File' button on the toolbar. You can either choose the source as coming from a scanner or use an existing document or image. Once the file is loaded, pressing 'Perform OCR' will display the document or image in the Text Editor, where you can perform basic image or document editing functions. These include rotating, cropping or editing graphics and aligning, font changes and formatting for text.
Once you have finished editing the document or file, you can either save it as an OPD file to work on it later, or export it in one of the dozens of formats Omnipage Profesional supports. This includes common formats such as Word, Excel and PDFs.
The Professional Edition also helpfully includes direct document to document conversion, meaning that you can convert a PDF file to an Excel file for example. We tried a few different document conversions and for the most part, the data converted was accurate but the formatting wasn't always what we desired. In most cases this was easily fixed. One thing we did notice is that while the program does give you the option to convert files to Microsoft Powerpoint, the file format is RTF and the result for us was just gibberish when we tried this with a PDF slide.
As manually editing files can be time consuming, ScanSoft has included automated processes called 'Workflows', which are simply a series of steps applied to whole documents. There are several preset workflows included or you can customize these or setup your own. For example, by pressing just one button, a workflow can launch that scans a document, converts it to Word file and emails it.
Another example of the automation strengths of this package is the inclusion of Batch Manager. This functionality allows you to define workflows to be run at a set point in time or based on an event, without you actually having to be there. For example, you can set Omnipage to watch a particular file folder or email inbox and whenever a certain type of file is detected, the program will automatically scan, export and save the file in a format of your choosing.
One of the problems you may have when scanning and converting a document is the quality of the original. Omnipage caters for this, providing basic image editing tools such as cropping, rotating and brightness to allow you to improve the images. You can also 'automate' these steps by creating an 'Enhancement Template', which essentially applies the same editing steps to multiple photos. For more complicated editing, you can define zones within documents itself.
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