PaperPort offers more robust features

PaperPort will increase the productivity of many a paper pusher, but it can be hard to use

If you handle a lot of paperwork and need to manage it more efficiently, Nuance Communications' ScanSoft PaperPort Professional 11 should interest you. Paired with a scanning device such as a multifunction printer or a networked copier, this US$200 program lets you organize, search, and share large volumes of digitized documents. Version 11 adds a range of appealing features, but new users will need plenty of learning time.

PaperPort's primary workspace presents you with a customizable list of your PC's existing folder structure on the left; your files are shown on the right. From this workspace, you can access many of PaperPort's tools, such as those that allow you to search through your documents or combine multiple documents or pages into one PDF file.

In version 11 you can now assign a button on your scanning device to do capture using one of PaperPort's custom profiles. Other new features include a capture assistant, high-compression color PDF creation (for files up to eight times smaller), and a tool called DesktopDelivery. This feature can, among other things, automatically monitor e-mail attachments and network folders for new files, import any new files, and make them searchable. PaperPort's built-in All-in-One search tool and bundled Watson document/Web search utility are great for quickly finding something in a long document without riffling through a stack of paper.

Your first call to tech support is free, but, as is becoming common, Nuance charges a fee--US$20--for subsequent questions. What's more unusual is that e-mail queries cost $10 each, a policy that many users will likely resent. Still, PaperPort Professional 11 remains a powerful package.

Nuance Communications ScanSoft PaperPort Professional 11
Rating:78 -- Good
Verdict:PaperPort will increase the productivity of many a paper pusher, but it can be hard to use.
Price when reviewed:US$200 (US$150 to upgrade)

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