This post is written by Megan Montgomery.
My name is Megan and I have a paper problem.
Okay, it’s mostly my problem because paper is just doing its job but it’s fair to say we have a love/hate relationship. I love the history and documentation that paper provides but does it have to take up so much space? I hate how much room even one filing cabinet takes up in my home office.
I knew there had to be a better way to preserve that important information and take back some desk space, and it turns out there is! The folks at the Neat Company sent one of their NeatDesk systems for my family and me to try. I have to tell you, I’d seen the infomercial and was pretty excited when I found out we were going to get to try one.
We’re mostly a Mac household so I selected NeatDesk for Mac (they do offer a NeatDesk for Windows too). Everything you need to help get your paper under control is in the box – scanner, power cord, USB cable, software, and calibration sheet are all safely packed for you.
I was excited to get started and the Neat people must get that a lot because they include a Quick Start guide to get you going in a jiffy. The software installation was quick and straightforward and before I knew it, I was clearing off my desk!
The scanner is so fast – and quiet! The NeatDesk will scan up to 24 color, single-sided pages per minute or up to 24 grayscale, duplex (both sides – at once!) pages per minute. The tray can hold 15 business cards and 15 receipts and 15 letter sized documents at once, or it will hold 50 letter sized documents alone, if you take out the paper tray. Once your document has been scanned, it is imported into the Neat Software, which is where I think the real magic happens.
The Neat Software is a digital filing cabinet, and requires even less effort than opening a drawer. When you scan your documents, the software reads each document. It first sorts the document into a category – document, receipt, or contact (business card). Then, it pulls keywords from the document to make it searchable. You can add details to each document, like sender, date, or subject, but even if you don’t, the software seems to be able to find what you’re looking for.
I scanned documents, receipts, and business cards to test it, and it had little trouble finding anything I asked it to locate. It did have a little trouble reading a few business cards (a vice president was read as wee president, for example), but that was quickly and easily fixed using the edit feature.
The software seems to get “smarter,” as it reads more and more documents. I noticed that some things I had to edit in documents I scanned early on were automatically fixed in similar documents later on.
Receipts can be categorized and flagged for tax purposes, and the scans can be imported into many tax preparation software packages. I definitely won’t miss the annual tax receipt hunt when tax season rolls around!
I was concerned that we would only be able to use the software on one computer but each copy of the Neat Software can be used on up to three computers, which is super helpful if there are multiple users in your household. The software does take up a considerable chunk of space on a hard drive (650MB for Mac, 1GB for Windows) and the storage of your new digital files will take up some room, too. My husband and I have already discussed getting an external drive to store all of the information we’re scanning.
Overall, I think the NeatDesk system is pretty incredible! I have already cleared off several stacks from my desk and that ugly filing cabinet is next. I have no doubt that I can quickly and easily find any document I’ve scanned, which is both a relief and a time-saver!
Enter to win!
Disclosure: I was given a NeatDesk to review.