At a Glance
- Scans searchable PDFs
- Easy document viewing and editing tools
- Complex features take time to master
Veteran document manager gets an interface makeover and more-polished tools.
Nuance PaperPort Professional 12 ($200 as of 10/15/09) is the latest upgrade of an electronic document management system that has been around for the past decade. Despite its age, however, this durable workhorse has never looked better. Thanks to a redesigned interface that replaces PaperPort’s old menu bar with a Microsoft Office-style tabbed-ribbon interface (licensed from Microsoft), as well as other improvements, it didn’t take long for me to scan, assemble, and organize a pile of documents that was cluttering up my home office.
I tested a shipping version of PaperPort Professional 12 in tandem with an Epson V300 scanner. PaperPort proved quite adept at creating searchable PDF files, and it included a new option for applying sophisticated compression to create more-compact color PDFs.
PaperPort has also added PDF Viewer Plus, a program window for displaying, editing, and annotating PDF files. I found opening and viewing assorted PDF files in this new viewer much faster than doing so with PaperPort’s previous PDF-viewing function. The new viewer’s tools for navigating and organizing PDFs were a breeze to use, and I found its annotation tools (including transparent and dynamic stamps) just as straightforward. The viewer also includes a useful forms-recognition capability (FormTyper) that automatically converts scanned forms into PDF fillable forms.
But version 12 also retains enough of the interface and features from previous versions to make veteran users feel at home. This edition includes the familiar workspace that houses your system’s file directory on the left and thumbnails of your documents on the right, and it employs the same useful utilities–such as ScanDirect for scanning items without first running PaperPort, and PDF Create Assistant for packaging existing files and documents into one PDF–that older PaperPort Professional versions offered. Professional 12 also adds a Microsoft SharePoint link for transferring files between your local computer or networked locations and the SharePoint document management system.
Novices, however, may still find that learning how to use PaperPort most efficiently takes time. For that reason, Nuance has wisely extended its free technical support from one phone call to a full 90-day complimentary period, and beefed up its online how-to guides.
If you need help organizing piles of documents and finding what you need in a hurry, PaperPort Professional 12 is a smart choice, and one that’s available at a fraction of the cost of a full-blown electronic document management system.