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ScanSnap S1500 Review


There are a number of reasons why I really like the ScanSnap.  It is a great value, especially when you consider the bundle Adobe Acrobat software.  It is small enough to be placed on the desktop and affordable enough to be placed on every desktop.  It is fast, scans in color and scans both sides of the document in one pass.  Finally, it is very versatile, allowing you to recognize text in scans and save the scans to just about any document management system you like.

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 is no longer “new.”  In fact, I have been using one for about six months.  I suppose that one good thing about this belated review is that I have really run the unit through its paces in a real-world setting.


ScanSnap S1500

ScanSnap S1500

The S1500 looks more a bit more modern than its predecessor S500.  The lines are a bit more angular.  Overall, it takes up the same amount of space as the previous unit.  If I was really into aesthetics, I would mention that the black and silver case with the blue button perfectly matches the Dell monitors on my desk.  The catch tray does look a little flimsier than the previous model but I have not experienced a single problem with it during the last six months.

My previous ScanSnap S500 had a tendency to double feed.  This meant that I had to babysit scans of multiple pages.  I never really minded all that much because the scanning is so fast.  Nevertheless, I am happy to report that my new S1500 has not double fed a single time – so far.

Scanning with the S1500

Scanning is incredibly easy with this scanner.  Simply insert the page or pages you wish to scan and hit the blue scan button.  The paper is pulled through and the scan appears in the default application you have set (more on this later).  If the paper was two-sided, the two sides will be pages 1 and 2 of your resulting PDF.  Different page sizes are not a problem.  The ScanSnap automatically detects this and adjusts the resulting PDF accordingly.  Similarly, it automatically rotates pages and removes blank pages.  If you scan a mix of documents where some are one-sided and some are two-sided, the blank sides of the one-sided documents are removed from the resulting PDF.

Did I mention how fast it was?  To give you some idea of the speed of this scanner, I inserted 10 sheets with printing on both sides.  Twenty-eight seconds after hitting the scan button the resulting scan appeared on my screen.  This equates almost exactly with the 20 pages per minute that Fujitsu states in the specifications for the S1500.  Inserting color documents or inserting some of the documents upside-down or sideways, does not add noticeably to this time.  The only thing that does at time is adding text recognition at the time of the scan, which I never do.  Why not?  For starters, I just do not need it on most documents.  Second, I can easily do it after the fact using the OCR features in Acrobat.

Bundled Software

ScanSnap Manager

ScanSnap Manager

Once the scan is finished, it can be displayed in one of several ways.  All of this is controlled by the included ScanSnap Manager software, which allows you to choose what happens when you select the Scan button.  There are seven choices including Scan to File, Scan to Folder, Scan to Email, Scan to Picture, and Scan to Print.  There are situational uses for each of these but most users will select either ScanSnap Organizer or Adobe Acrobat as their default setting.  The one you choose depends on several factors.  The advice I give my clients and personally follow is to select Adobe Acrobat if you will be saving each scan immediately and ScanSnap Organizer if you tend to scan a lot of documents and save and organize them later.

ScanSnap Organizer

ScanSnap Organizer

Because my typical scanning process is to scan a number of documents in quick succession, then save each of them once they are all scanned, my default is set to the bundled ScanSnap Organizer software.  In other words my scanning process is scan, scan, scan, save, save, save.  The ScanSnap Organizer is a software tool that will remind you of Microsoft Outlook or any other software that has a main display window and folders within which files can be displayed.  As you scan each document a thumbnail of the scan appears in the main window.  You can create folders and drop scans into those folders, or double click on any scan and open it in Adobe Acrobat.  The ScanSnap Organizer also allows you to right click on any scan and access the previously mentioned Scan to Email, Scan to Print, etc.  Personally, I open each document from the ScanSnap Organizer to Acrobat and use TM Save to save it to Time Matters.  Once saved, I delete it from the ScanSnap Manager.

The fact that Adobe Acrobat Standard has always been included with the ScanSnap is one of the scanner’s best selling points.  The S1500 includes the newest version of Acrobat, 9 Standard.  I often describe the ScanSnap as a “paper to PDF” machine.  It is the fastest way to turn a piece of paper into a PDF file and, as we all know, PDF is a nearly universal format that can be read by almost anyone and is compatible with every document management system used in professional office.  From a scanning prospective, PDFs are also more compact than some of the traditional scan to formats like TIF.

If you choose Adobe Acrobat as your default application, scans will appear immediately in Acrobat.  This is very useful if your scanning process is scan, save, scan, save, etc.  Simply use Save As in Acrobat and save the file with a name and location of your choice or, if you use a document management system, save it from Acrobat into that system.  For those of you who already have Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional, you can continue to use that application with your ScanSnap S1500.  Adobe also offers upgrades from 9 Standard to 9 Professional.  These upgrades are available for approximately $150.00 and are available via download from Adobe’s website.

I do not mean to short-change the other software bundled with the ScanSnap S1500 but I must admit that I am not all that familiar with these products.  For example, ABBYY FineReader is bundled as an OCR application.  It receives very good reviews, but I have not used it.  Instead, in the rare event I need OCR, I use the OCR Text Recognition function in Acrobat.


The ScanSnap S1500 has a suggested retail price of $495.00 but you can almost always find it for less.  Like earlier models, there are $50.00 rebates available and many resellers will sell if for less than the $495.00 list price.

Overall, the ScanSnap S1500 continues the traditions established by its predecessors – speed, accuracy, ease of use, loads of features, and great bundled software.  It is an integral part of my own office and a tool I recommend to all of my clients.

For more information on the ScanSnap S1500 including a Flash demo, visit my website at Krause Practice Management – Fujitsu Scanners.

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