693 of 719 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2008
I upgraded from the Neat Receipts 3.0 scanner to the Neat Works 4.0 scanner package recently. I like the Neat Receipts 3.0 scanner, but the upgrade is really worth it.
For starters the quick scan center with the new version takes less system resources and it allows the user to enter receipts in batches, which is efficient. I was able to scan a pile of 277+ receipts in one night, while watching television. Pretty painless and easy to do without requiring a lot of attention, so you can make good use of downtime while you're watching TV / relaxing, etc.
The best part of this is not the physical scanner, it's the software. It allows me to look up previous receipts in a jiffy, and lets me shred / toss old receipts. The physical scanner is nice too though. It's definitely not photo quality, but that's not why I bought this package. The scanner works fairly well / quickly for most receipts, a bit better than the silver version even though they're supposedly the same hardware. I find with the older version the USB would fail to be recognized by Windows XP, but no such problems with the new version.
If you want to organize your receipts and keep good records, I highly recommend this package! It's the one of the few products that actually does what it claims to do. Excellent product.
Future improvement wishes would be speedier scans, but that is limited by the scanning technology and hardware specifications.
FYI - yes it will sometimes have difficulty scanning very light receipts, but that is to be expected with a scanner like this. If one expects photo quality scanner this is not the one to buy. A photo quality scanner will take too long to scan receipts. This scanner captures receipts information pretty well but it does not produce a photo replica of the receipt.
Also, the other reviewer mentioned problems with USB. Quite often that is a problem with Windows, especially on a Windows system that's been run for quite sometime and with a lot of other accessories installed. I installed this on 3 of my windows XP systems and they all worked fine. If I ever have a problem I would reinstall Windows as Windows tends to get cluttered with hardware profiles and have problems with USB devices.
516 of 544 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2009
The ratio of bad reviews to good reviews here on this NeatWorks scanner was dubious so though I desperately needed a receipt-scanning solution, I really hadn't taken the plunge until I visited Costco and must've been riding a wave of positive-ness because I walked in, wasn't looking to buy anything, but when I saw only 2 left of this product on the shelf, I took one.
Got home, inserted the set-up CD as instructed and nothing. I'm running a new (1yr old) Dell with very sufficient hardware/memory running WinXP. But I figure sometimes the CD set-up is wonky, so I ejected then reinserted and it worked; brought up the set-up initialization screen. It asked me to check online for a version newer than what was shipped; I did, and there was. So after 10 minutes of downloading a 200mb file, I was done. Clicked the file, set-up was a snap (took 10-12 minutes) and off I went. Connected the scanner by USB cable and everything worked; no crashing.
Tested a batch of 15 receipts to see if it could handle the crinkled, faded, potentially illegible imprints on what seemingly is the standard thermal paper being used by all merchants. Alas, this product worked fine; and it worked as promised. Scanned all receipts, and was able to make not only the correct (99% of the time) OCR function for amounts, dates, retailer, and sales tax, it also was able to be relatively correct in judging which sector of retail (general receipt, food, etc.) it should categorize my purchases.
So the initial test was done; I was pleased. So now I wanted to dig deep and scan roughly 6 weeks of receipts that I'd amassed -- roughly 200 receipts. This would've really been a test, since half of these receipts were nearly 4-6 weeks old, they were crinkled from being shoved into my pocket or folio while on the road, and some were teeny-tiny receipts like taxi receipts from Manhattan.
Result? Got through it all, and except for roughly 5 receipts out of my total 197, the scanner and software were both able to recognize most receipt fields and categorize them correctly. Oddly, and I think this is because of the clarity of the receipt vs. software, some receipts were ported into the "Documents" category vs. "Receipts" area. That was remedied easily by dragging each image from "Documents" to "Receipts."
"Areas," you ask? The software gives you 3 distinct areas that it will move your raw scans into; those are RECEIPTS, DOCUMENTS, and BUSINESS CARDS. I'm guessing the software takes ques from the content plus the size of the scan to determine where images should go. Like I said, the software was mostly correct except for a few faded receipts, but when I moved those stray images from "Documents" to "Receipts," the software kicked-in and was able to read the proper field information (amount, etc.) correctly.
From these areas, you can then file your raw scans into varying folders that you can create, or into document types if you'd like to export as PDF, etc. It's pretty simple, and I have never used a product from NeatWorks, so I have no way to compare previous versions with this 4.5.2 version that I'm using.
I looked at negative reviews and can say that I have neither had the software or hardware cause crashes, reboots, stalls, freezes, or any other degradation of my laptop from working as it normally does.
Also, I had no real OCR problems with the scanner or software recognizing figures or names. In fact, the only constant problem I had was with drugstore chain "Longs Drugs" which uses only a logo and not typewritten version of its name on receipts, so the software took to recognizing the first item in my receipt as the name, so I had numerous prescription receipts filed as "Hallmark" since I had bought cards with those purchases. What amazes me is the software is able to decipher through all the cr*p that's listed on receipts; these days, surveys, serial numbers, and other gobbledy-gook are all listed and yet the software was able to filter through that and report the correct field information.
A couple cautions: 1) Handwritten numbers have never been recognized in any of my scans, 2) Export data to Quicken in groups based on the accounts you use in Quicken.
As to #1 above, those who have a lot of written-in totals at restaurants for tip, etc., will find this problematic. Every receipt I'd gotten for a meal (which were a lot) I had to correct with the tip included vs. the software recognizing only the subtotal before tip.
And as to #2 above, I found that importing into Quicken was a snap (as QIF file), but since Quicken will only dump all data in a QIF file into a single account, you need to filter this BEFORE the export. For example, if you use multiple cards like I do for various clients and you keep track of each account separately in Quicken, then you'd better categorize those purchases in NeatWorks accordingly, and then selectively export those transactions. That way, your import into Quicken is done per account. It's easier that way, than having to use the "Move Transaction" function in Quicken.
I'd say 4 stars because I had no elements of surprise and no hiccups in service. I'd rate it 5 stars after about 3-6 months of ownership if this flawless experience keeps up. I'll be back in September to report.
1,480 of 1,574 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2009
(NOTE: see my update on NeatWorks ver 5 below)
I have been using NeatReceipts for a couple of years now. I generally like the product, but I am now using BOTH the 'Classic ver 1.5.9" and the new Ver 4.0 software because NeatWorks broke a covenant with its' early adopters. They broke two of the cardinal rules of product development (1) never, ever, under any circumstances forget your early customers and their data and (2) never remove vital features from the product.
First, they "forgot" their "Classic ver 1.5.9" users. Versions of the software from 2.0 up thru the current ver 4.1 cannot recognize or import any of the receipts or documents scanned into the earlier version. I have personally talked to them about this for almost 2 years. At first, in early 2007, they repeatedly stated that they were hard at work on a migration solution. We depended on that statement, telling them how important it was for us to be able to access our archived data - for inventories, insurance and tax records.
But they finally just abandoned this effort and offered everyone a discount to upgrade to a later version. How is that going to help with restoring archived data? The data and file formats for their .elrec and .eldoc seem fairly simple - a scanned image and some recognized text fields. Why can't they import those formats like they allow for jpeg and tiff images?
They offered no acceptable reasons beyond that we are no longer working on that feature and "would you like to upgrade?". They seem oblivious to the frustrations they have caused a large number of their early customers. We even communicated with Rafi Spero, one of the companies owners. If he couldn't make it happen, you know they don't care about you as a customer. BEWARE THIS COMPANY.
Secondly: The "Classic" version allowed users to create folders and subfolders, etc. This was a fantastic way to organize receipts for cash, various credit cards, checks and debits, by year and then by month. Or to organize a copy of receipts for an inventory by broad categories and then further by store, year or vendor. So the initial features of both subfolders and the ability to copy receipts from yearly tax records to inventory folders was extremely useful and helpful in elimnating paperwork clutter.
The new ver 4 software does not support nested folders or copying receipts to other folders. Every time you scan a receipt, it goes into a folder. But all folders are on the same level. You can show and hide folders, but this is an extremely clumsy process and causes users a lot of extra work in trying to organize their invoices and receipts. If you want to copy a receipt, you have to scan it AGAIN. How brain-dead is that?
Bottom Line: This company has proven that, at their convenience, they will ignore or abandon prior versions of the software and remove vital features.
To fix some of their current short-coming, as mentioned above, it would not surprise me to see them create a new version of their software that is incompatible with what they are selling today.
DO NOT TRUST them with any vital data that you may need in the future.
UPDATE: 2-11-2010 - I have been given a preview of the new NeatWorks ver5 software. I don't know when it will be released but it seems to have (finally) added back in some of the features that went missing with ver 2 and onward. Now they also have a chance to allow for importing old receipts (".elrec" files) from their "Classic" users. If they do Import ".elrec" files many Classic users will be happy that their data is no longer "orphaned". I will then change my opinion and rating of NeatWorks and their products because they did admit to these past mistakes, listen and respond to their customers and "the true test of your character is how you respond to those mistakes."
314 of 337 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2009
Neat Receipts is a great idea and concept. But the moment you start to really use it disappointment will set in.
The portable scanner works fine. You have to feed the receipt in with a loving delicate touch. I can live with this. Here is the problem. Initially when you do not have much in the library, you can scan and process receipts as fast as you can feed them. Great. BUT, once your library starts to build up, it can take up to two minutes for the program to open and I average about one receipt scan per 1.5 minutes. No kidding.
When you read the Neat Receipts' response to the army of pissed off Mac users they simply acknowledge it doesn't work well when you get more than 900 items scanned and it is our responsibility to not have more than 900 items in our library. Come on Neat Receipts. Any average consumer or average business person makes more than 900 purchases in a year. They expect you to split off your library and create a multitude of sessions. This is a lame diversion from their software engineers fixing the problem.
So, what is their solution, just like the PC vs. Mac ads where PC spends more money on promoting/advertising the product instead of fixing it in R&D.
Mac users, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Stay away from this sinkhole of a money pit.
I am now looking at Mariner's Paperless software. Their features and compatible scanners are listed below. Most scanners are already compatible with this software.
105 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2009
I've eliminated mountains of paper from my desk using this product. After installing the software and calibrating the scanner it took me little time to record and store my documents electronically. The key is to read over the manual to expose the more useful features of this product such as dragging pages of a multi-page document together to form a single document and how to properly edit a reciept after it has been scanned. Also make sure that if/when you backup your database that it goes to an external media such as an external hard drive, flash drive, or cd.
Reading in an arbitrary document and extracting information from it is a DIFFICULT computer science problem (I'm a CS Grad Student) and this program does a pretty good job of pulling info from what are now commonly cluttered receipts. Follow the instructions carefully for setup, watch the video they provide, read over the manual [....], check out the video tutorials [....] and you'll discover just how useful this software can be.
95 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2011
Long term user of NeatReceipts (then NeatWorks, now just Neat). Have endured through all the upgrades from Version 1.something, some easy, some not. Have always found the interface very poor, non-intuitive, restrictive, and just plain painful to use. Always been a bit nervous about the included corrupted database repair tool. What is that warning me about? But N/R could scan directly to PDF when nobody else could, so we have stuck with it. Have awaited the promised Version 5 upgrade for more than 2 1/2 years. If you check for updates from Version 4.9.+.+, it declares no updates available. At the time of this writing, you have to find the upgrade to Version 5 under Downloads on the Neat website yourself. Then the fun begins.
You must "purchase" the free upgrade for $0.00 through multiple screens/pages. Then it is off to your e-mail account to wait for the download link. But, wait, what arrives is not a link; it is just the acknowledgment that you have purchased the free upgrade, and instructions to wait more for a future e-mail that will tell you how to proceed. Oh, and if it never comes, please e-mail Customer Service. Eventually the e-mail with the link arrives. But wait! Link is not a link direct to a download - link is to screens where first you must type more info into more little boxes on more screens. Hey! Aren't we here because we are already a registered purchaser of an eligible previous version? Lots of keyboarding and mouse moving and mouse clicks, and we eventually we get to a real download link - a 132MB download. Fortunately, we have truly fast internet, so not too long a wait. Except!...the download never completes. The old let's get to 99%, hang there forever, then stop responding trick. Alright, cancel this download and start again.
Okay, the second download attempt succeeds. We are now 52 minutes into something that should have taken 1 minute and 52 seconds. We find the downloaded .exe file and start the actual upgrade. But the install app first launches a conversion of your previous databases to the "new" format. Yikes! we do have back-ups, don't we? Oh well, at last begins the actual program install. Lengthy install with lots of non-movement on the progress scroll bar - includes an un-install of the previous version. Remember, it is 132MB before unpacking, so have patience. Sure hope this works - since our databases have already been "upgraded". No going back now. It does eventually finish. Hooray! We hope.
Click the desktop icon and let's see what's new. Wait, wait, wait. Hard drive is running, something is happening. Like the versions before it, this one seems to need some considerable time to gather itself together before making a screen presence. Okay, we have been here before; we'll wait. Ahhh, here's the opening screen now.....well, uhh, no, not actually. It's a REGISTRATION screen!!?? A registration screen where we must chose the registration key we will use for this installation from a (non-functioning) drop down box that lists only the registration key that we have already typed in twice before. Plus we are required to 'name' this computer and name its 'location' - okay, let's try 'Bob's Desktop' on 'Bob's Computer'. That seems to work. Now we click on the hugely over-sized Registration button and we are done. Right? Yeah, no, what? Nothing. Yeah, nothing. No Internet activity, no flashing modem lights, no nothing. Click, click, click, clickity click, click, click. Yep, nothing! And this is taking place in a small FIXED size box in the middle of a 24" widescreen monitor. You can't re-size the registration box - it is fixed in size and it is too small for its own contents, so you have to scroll up and down and left and right inside the box, and it is apparent there is more to the underlying screen, but you can't get to it. Great coding, NEAT guys. Is this the new interface you have been trumpeting?
Okay, try to close the little box - can't; dialog box presents itself to scold me for not completing the registration. Override the objection and close out anyway. Re-boot the computer. Click on the NEAT icon and wait for the program to open. But, instead...a REGISTRATION screen! Now it shows that Bob's Desktop located on Bob's Computer has been registered with the original registration key, but before you can proceed, you must name and place and register this very same computer (Bob's Computer) using the very same registration key from the very same non-functioning drop-down box as before. And, of course, clicking on the huge Registration button (suspect something is really amiss here!) produces the same nothingness as before. Are we relishing and reveling in NEAT productivity yet?
Ring! Ring! Ring! Hello, NEAT Support? What? Oh, HAL the NEAT computer is saying their working hours aren't the same as mine. I should call back when it is convenient for them. Or stay on the line if I would like to hear them say that again. Endlessly.
So, here I sit after 396MB of downloads, two obviously failed installations, multiple registration attempts, growing angst about converted databases I can't access, one dead-end tech support call, and a missed dinner. It is now dark outside. I started this ultimately pointless exercise in broad daylight. I am slowly understanding that NEAT software did indeed take me to a previously unattained level of productivity as promised. I can't recall such a frustration-filled absolutely zero-productivity day before. My failed installation aside, NEAT's hugely overly complicated repetitively multi-stepped upgrade process alone should warn you away.
Follow-up: Finally succeeded in completing an installation on a Win 7 laptop over an existing version 4.7. Discovered that many of the earlier version's unique and useful features have been dropped. Forward in complexity; backward in usefulness and features. Still, I conducted another WIN XP SP3 Desktop installation attempt. Started with a complete un-install, then attempted a clean installation. Upgrade refused - said it was already installed! Did a registry search to remove fragments, then tried again. Now it says that this is an upgrade and it can't find a previous version installed. Okay, that's fair and not unexpected. So I did a full installation of version 4.7 SP8, then attempted another Version 5 upgrade. As I said, just a repeat of above debacle. Shampoo, rinse, repeat. It's time to get out of this shower.
If you think this is a long review, think of the long hours I spent trying to upgrade. NEAT tech support had been absent through all of this. Can we give negative stars? Lots of them?
Compare the large number of negative customer comments for any and all of the NEAT products with the astonishing almost 100 percent positive comments for the Fujitsu ScanSnap. Wow! Guess that's where I'm headed now.
SAD SAGA UPDATE Nov 9, 2011 - Received from NEAT Support
Response Via Email(Doug) - 11/09/2011 02:31 PM
We have reports from customers with similar feedback and we do apologize for any
inconvenience this may cause you, but the developers are currently working on an
update to the software as a resolution, which will address the issue; as we do
see this is as a high priority.
Remember, this update has been more than two and a half years in the making, longer than the development cycle of most software. Now that we have abandoned the product, we get an e-mail from Product Support. Go figure.
72 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2008
I bought mine from Costco.
I had my frustration with the calibration. But after the 2nd calibration, everything works fine. I figured I didn't push the calibration card all the way in enough on the 1st try.
I didn't have any of the connection problem with the USB port. I immediately scanned in my piles of receipts that I've saved up for a few years, mostly Costco & Home Depot.
It scanned all my Home Depot receipts beautifully, everything was captured. Ironically, the one that has the most problems are the Costco receipts. It won't capture the vendor's name and the date. But it allows you to manually put that in. 90% of the receipts didn't have that problem.
To my surprise, it can scan in any form of receipts, not just the skinny ones. For example, all the 1-page repair receipts from the auto dealership and mechanics, it can scan it with no problem at all.
The best part is - now I have peace of mind, knowing that I can find my receipt when I NEED to. I know I can throw away my Costco receipts since they have very liberal return policy but I'm not sure if I can throw away the Home Depot ones since they are such a pain in the )( to deal with.
The only disappointment I have is that it only captures the total expense and tax, it doesn't give you the break-down.
All in all, it's a very useful product - it does solve one of my headaches in life.
54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2009
This scanner is very small and does a pretty decent job.
In the box, you find:
- The Scanner
- Cloth bag
- USB cable
- CD manual and install disk
- Various cleaning and calibration materials
Put the CD in your computer, run the install program and read the instructions. Takes less than 5 minutes to get up and running. Be sure to calibrate your scanner when the install instructs you to. I have Vista on my PC and the set up went flawlessly.
Note: When you scan, put the documents face down - the scanner is on the bottom.
The good stuff:
- Scanner is very lightweight and easily slips into a laptop bag
- Scans quickly for it's size. First the document is scanned, then it takes another minute to process the data. Still much faster than I expected.
- It actually can accurately read and process the information on scanned receipts, even the beat up, wrinkled receipts that I kept in my pocket for a week before scanning.
- Will also scan and save documents as PDF files.
What could be improved:
- When I scanned color pictures to pdf files, the white areas had a very faint blue and the colors were slightly off.
Overall, this scanner works very well for what it's intended for - receipts. It would be great if the colors were better on picture and document scans.
79 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2009
Update 3/09 Much improved with software updates since I wrote this review. Still a little uneven but gets OCR right more often, better field customization, etc. I tried to change the rating to 3.5 stars.
Earlier I said:
Two main problems:
1. uneven character recognition--for example, will sometimes record purchase price as $51.00 instead of the actual $51.53. Will often recognize total purchase price but not sales tax. Only recognizes name of store if it's in a "normal" type style, something few stores do.
2. no field for sales tax in the summary section. When I contacted their support staff about this, they suggested I use the "comments" section (which I had been using for other things). The date of the purchase is an important piece of information which should be included in the summary section.
98 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2008
I received an advance-release of this product at WWDC08 in June 2008, and I've been playing with it ever since. It is top notch in every regard. The hardware is small and only uses the USB port [no need to find an A/C plug!]. The software is even better, as it grabs data right from the scanned receipt; no need for retyping in most cases!
This is a high quality product, and feels like something Apple has made, as even the packaging is tidy and well organized.
I highly recommend this over the currently offered shareware solutions. The software is really top notch, and the scanner is portable enough to fit in a laptop bag easily.