While ReadIRIS Pro 11.0 (reviewed here) is optimised for use with documents, PaperPort handles text and photos. After scanning a picture or document, you can carry out simple enhancements, such as rotating or removing red-eye from a photograph.
You can scan directly into PaperPort by selecting this option in your scanner's settings. The document will appear in the PaperPort window. From here you can send it to any suitable application on your PC, add annotations, carry out enhancements and organise your documents and photos in folders.
Unlike ReadIRIS, PaperPort isn't a dedicated OCR (optical character recognition) tool. This is just another string to its bow. Although it doesn't have as great a range of advanced features, it can carry out simple text readings. We found the results pretty good on clear, printed copy, even against a coloured background. It struggled with anything more complex, however, and can't handle tables or handwriting.
One of the problems associated with scanning in lots of documents and photos is that they can take up a lot of storage space. Nuance has solved this issue with PDF-MRC high-compression technology, allowing documents to be stored and shared as much smaller files. You can create PDFs from virtually any application with the PDF-creation and -sharing buttons that are added to your tool bar. Simply click on the document you're working on and it will automatically be converted into a PDF.
The bundled intelligent search software, Watson, doesn't require you to set up a search. Open an application and it will search for anything relevant on the web or on your desktop. But this feature is irritatingly tailored to the US market.
While PaperPort Professional could be useful for a single home user, unless you scan in hundreds of documents its appeal will be limited. While it allows you to easily create and share PDFs, there are other dedicated solutions, such as Nuance’s own PDF Create 3.0, which is a fraction of the price of PaperPort. And photo album packages, such as Adobe’s Photoshop Album and Corel’s Photo Album, can manage and edit scanned images for much less.
This software comes into its own in an office, allowing quick and simple electronic filing. It makes finding and sharing documents easy and can be used in a networked environment.