I purchased an Epson GT-S50 scanner (similar to Fujitsu Scansnap, but with TWAIN drivers). I am already using Evernote. I am not sure I want to flood my Evernote notes and code snippets with tons of receipts, business cards, and other paper clutter.

If you went mostly paperless with a similar scanner, please let me know what you are using and what software you like.

  • Does this scanner also create searchable PDFs? (So: does the software used with the scanner use OCR to put a "layer" of selectable text behind the scanned image?) I'm curious about the same for solutions given in the answers.
    – Arjan
    Jul 19, 2009 at 13:27
  • 1
    Aha, I see that Evernote does the OCR to allow for searching (on the computer which has Evernote installed, not from the PDF itself on just any computer): "We run all of your images through our recognition technology" -- evernote.com/about/what_is_en
    – Arjan
    Jul 21, 2009 at 9:32

9 Answers 9


I started using Yep some time ago. Check out this article about this topic:

Palimpsest: the guide to a (mostly) paperless life


I like DEVONthink. While I don't have a scanner, it has been highly recommended by folks who use it to scan and organize paper documents.

DEVONthink stores your documents, scanned papers, email messages, notes, bookmarks, etc. in one place. Access live web pages seamlessly from within DEVONthink to review, extract further information.

It does cost money, $50 to $150 depending on which edition you buy. I got a free copy of "Personal" through a MacHeist promotion, but I would definitely buy a copy of it if I had to. They have a download trial version so you can give it a go.

After revisiting this topic, it seems the common ground is DEVONthink Pro, and the Fujitsu ScanSnap (model 5500 is mentioned often for Mac users). Here's a blog post with some more information. You can probably find more information than you want by searching Google for "scansnap devonthink". When it fits in the budget, I'll be going this route.

  • 2
    DEVONthink + snapscan is, near as I can tell, the de facto way that people do paperless offices on the mac. Jul 18, 2009 at 18:43

Check out Yep.


I use Evernote http://www.evernote.com, just like you do.

With it's unlimited notebooks, tagging, sync'ing and text searching, it's really something like an external brain. I'd recommend it (I am a paying Evernote customer after I tried their free offering, no other affiliation).

The web and iPhone stuff are a nice extra.

  • +1 I recently started using it and it has made my live a breeze across work and home, and across my Windows and Mac environments. Having all these items synced to my iPhone is a bonus. At $5 a month both me and my wife use it and we get to share notebooks which makes live so much easier. Jul 29, 2009 at 16:03

Check out Paperless


PDFScanner for the Mac is $15 US, and works on Snow Leopard and Lion. It doesn't try to be a document management solution like Yep or pretty much anything else I've seen.

It does one thing: scans to PDF files with OCR'd text in a transparent layer. And it does it very well.

It also lets you open existing PDF's and OCR them; edit: I was wrong about needing to OCR each page individually; you can now select all and OCR the lot in one pass.


Evernote and the ScanSnap are the way to go paperless. Scanning receipts, bills, etc is a breeze with the ScanSnap and Evernote does synchronization across multiple machines as well as OCR, best combo... no question. To get the idea, take a look at http://paperlessmac.com/2010/01/evernote-ocr-and-availability-everywhere-on-the-mac/ or the article in the Wall Street Journal today which I couldn't include a link to in this post due to the spam prevention.


I did not like the available software - so I wrote my own. Check http://www.pdfscannerapp.com if you like.


You could create a second evernote. Then you can have one for tech stuff, and the other for business.

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