on January 2, 2012
I rarely write reviews, but this unit does not do what it says it does, and I'd like to save another potential buyer from going through what I did. If all you want to do is scan and organize papers, I think that this unit would be FABULOUS once you get it installed and start using it (this is not a quick or easy task). However, IF YOUR GOAL IS TO EXPORT, I would not buy this unit. Since that is my purpose, I'm returning it.
I bought this with the intent of scanning charge receipts from my business and exporting them into Quickbooks. The box and information say that Neat will do this. I hate this task, and I thought the money would be well worth the time savings.
Installation: The box comes with version 4 of the software. However, version 5 is out, so you are directed to the internet to obtain it as prior problems have supposedly been fixed. Their website is slow, freezes, and often links you to a non-functioning page. After multiple tries, I was able to download the software. It directs you to disable any internet firewalls or anti-virus software. Seems easy, but Firefox didn't have a pull down menu for this. Had to go to help and finally found out how to do this. (The time required for this was my ignorance and not Neat's, however, the same might be true of others as well).
Usual policy to close all other programs during installation of a new program was followed. Finally ready to install, and it freezes and crashes my computer (Windows XP) and my wireless mouse multiple times. I had to endure many restarts of my computer (most had to be without proper shutdown and by using the on/off switch on my computer), and unplugging and plugging the USB connection to the computer for the wireless mouse. Three hours later, it finally installed.
Starting: I'm pretty intuitive and usually start using a program and exploring menus without a problem. However, menus are not intuitive until you read the directions. Again, this is more time invested. Once reading the directions, I have to admit it was no problem using the machine, but it was cumbersome. The first thing is that although the scanning is pretty quick, it takes a while for the software to convert the data into a viewable receipt. Perhaps the best thing is to scan in a bunch of receipts, then go do something else while it works and come back later. I wanted to see if it exported properly before I invested a lot of time scanning. If you do have to go away and do something else while it is processing the scans, it takes away from the time saving purpose of using Neat.
The next problem is each time you export a receipt, you have to drill down to tell Neat where you want it to export. This involves many clicks from My Computer, All users, shared documents, documents and settings, shared documents, Quickbooks, Company, etc. You can't set any or preferable locations. Then, you have to choose the account from Neat software to the account in QB's each time. Takes a lot of time. Batching the exports is definitely the way to go to make things efficient, but still not as much of a time saver as I thought it would be, especially when you have to keep selecting the accounts in QB's.
Practical use: This is where the Neat fails miserably. I have an account in Quickbooks where all the charge receipts go. They are listed with the vendor, date purchased, and the account that they go into e.g. office supplies, hardware, software, etc. When Neat exports them, the accounts are all listed as accounts payable and not the account that I selected. To get that information, you have to then go to accounts payable. Therefore it is an extra step to go to accounts payable to see the detail to make sure it was correct as well as to look at it for analysis on another occasion. Although that's not the way I record I QB's, I could live with that if it meant that I didn't have to enter all those receipts.
However, the final thing that killed the deal was that the exported items all come in with the date exported, and not the date of purchase. I tried several different things, checked online forums, help, but there wasn't anything about correcting this. There is no live help; help and customer service are only available by email. I got an email back that says they will get to me when they can. Given that, I went through all the menus, help info, and user forums. My conclusion was that there appears to be no fix for that. If I have to go into each receipt to fix the date, I might as well just enter them.
Conclusion: The problems using this to export to Quickbooks make is such that it just doesn't do the job. There are multiple steps to define the program to export to each time, define the account to go to each time, then go to accounts payable to view the details of the export, and then to change the date on the transaction. This kills the whole idea to create efficiency and save time.
on July 9, 2010
Great product. Keep it plugged directly into your Mac - dont use a hub or it will crash. Great software for document/receipt management (versus PC version that's focused more on receipt expense reporting). doesn't optimize acrobat files well, so if you have acrobat pro, you can do it manually and that works just fine.
on November 8, 2013
I just waited over 2 hours on hold for someone to answer, when he did he was very rude and condescending, then when we asked for a supervisor he said to wait one second and hung up on us. He has my callback number and did not try and call me back. This product has given us nothing but trouble, and the customer service is appalling!!
on January 28, 2014
If you watch the neat commericals it claims it can automatically scan all these documents at once then sort them and it automatically knows what is what. It does not do that at all. It's a good thing I don't depend on this for tax purposes. I just use it to scan in Bills so I don't have to file and hold on to the paperwork for years.
Scanner works well, however the guides do not work well at all. You have to hand feed each document. Many times the scan comes in crooked or the paper gets stuck.
It works well as a filling system, but so would using a general scanner to scan in items as PDF.
If you scan in more than 1 document at a time it thinks all the documents are 1 item. You then have to separate each page. which means that it does not "automatically recognize" what the item should be and fill in the information.
The "automatic OCR recognition" does not work 75% of the time. I constantly have to correct at least one category if not all of them. I don't understand how it can be so off.
It takes me longer to correct the errors than it would to manually file it.
If you want to use the search, better be prepared to spend hours correcting the scan errors and entering the data to make it searchable.
What this item will do: Help clean up the mess of paperwork and files by entering it into a computer
What it won't do: save you any time, It may actually take more time.
I will continue to use it as a Virtual file cabinet for bills for my business, I will also hope I never have to find anything on it for an audit.
on March 15, 2010
overall the product is sleek, functional, and useful.
unfortunately problems lie in company support and backing of product. having to spend the better half of day resolving installation issues the effective cost for us was $900+ (and i own/operate a tech support company!)
as will most hardware, the provided software is 50% of the equation. in this case the software is decent but leaves much to be desired.
- nice form factor.
- scans cleanly.
- lack of adjustable width feeder causes many items (biz cards) to scan crooked.
- small cards (moo mini's) dont feed well at all and either jam or come out looking like a CAPTCHA.
- OCR does a pretty good job, but requires a once-over before accepting to make sure it got everything right.
- occasional docs give it trouble and take forever to be processed (if at all).
- lacks ability to have presets for different itmes (biz cards/receipts), thus it requires some manual intervention, and makes the auto-detect feature useless.
- leaves a lot to be desired for customization. only changes within the software's framework can be modified. there's no way to add your own field. for instance, i wanted a simple field for biz cards labeled "Date met" but couldnt create it.
Neat Co the Company and support:
- i was initially delighted to find an 800 number easily listed within the software installer- but calling it just burned mobile minutes. dead-end menus and no voicemail to be found anywhere.
- license key on software was not accepted by installer. after calling and hunting i eventually found a link on their support site to resolve this... but it wasted considerable time.
- upgrade release to 2.8 rendered my device useless. caused driver malfunction and necessitated re-install.
product is promising, but company does little to back it and provide support.
if doing it again, i might consider the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 instead hoping a better known brand might have better support.
on February 23, 2011
I've been a Neat Company Fan & Dedicated Customer for a long time. I had NeatReceipts for many years and then decided to upgrade to NeatDesk with NeatWorks Software on 9/16/10. I loved the faster scan times, scanning front & back, etc. Then, recently on 2/16/11, the software NeatWork lost all of my data. Luckily, I back up monthly so I was able to restore the data and only lost one month's of work. Then, I started noticing scanning problems with Wide Black Band Through Image. I immediately contacted customer service which is only available through their website by opening a case. A rep responded with some instructions to try and resolve the problem. I followed the instructions and the problem wasn't fixed. I updated the case by explaining this and I got the same instructions as a response. At this point, I figured out that customer service didn't exist. I asked why I was getting the same instructions after I reported the instructions followed did not fix the issue and then a different rep gave me different instructions. I followed those instructions without any success either. I updated the report and asked about the one year warranty since my purchase was within a year, and no response after that. I filed a compliant with the FTC, BBB and wanted others interested in this product to know before considering purchasing. What's funny is that the sales rep which is the only number provided try to sell me tech support annual fee. This is quite disappointing as I was a loyal fan. BUYER BEWARE!!! Customer service and warranty does not exist after purchase.
on March 26, 2010
Frequent Data Loss due to Crashes
False Advertising--No Live Support No Phone Support
If you actually do receive a response it is completely irrelevant to your issue
Actually had an executive tell me to just return the product without ever extending anything other than excuses
Do Not Recommend
This should go back to the drawing board clearly not operational on a MAC
No Quickbooks compatibility, marketed as a professional must have, falls far short!
System constantly crashes causes data loss, cannot remove Canadian tax fields, causing additional time inputting data. Advertised inside and outside the box Live support both online and phone--NEITHER IS AVAILABLE! Fail to address issues in a timely manner, offer no legitimate solutions. This was a waste of time and money. Actually received an email from executive telling me to just return the product. Clearly this product should not have reached the market it is far to buggy to actually work productively, maybe great for a soccer mom to keep track of personal bills, kids artwork and notes, nowhere near a professional user product. This product has far too many shortcomings for the professional user, it should go back to the drawing board and create software that actually works and is compatible with real accounting needs. Ashamed that this product comes from my home state.
on July 2, 2011
I run Windows Vista and here's how I setup and use my NeatDesk scanner with Evernote.
First of all, I never use the proprietary NeatDesk software filing system and I never open the NeatWorks desktop software application (the one that shows you the grid comprising Receipts, Business Cards and Documents). I only use their Neat Quick Scan Center.
First, on your computer desktop, create a folder to receive the NeatDesk scans. I call my folder "Scanned Docs".
Then, and here's the key, when you use the NeatDesk scanner, never, ever, press their "SCAN" button. Always use their "PDF" button. This rule holds for the scanner itself and the Neat Quick Scan Center.
Next, when you hit the "PDF" button, a dialogue box opens that is titled "PDF File Save Location". Now find the folder you just created ("Scanned Docs") and click it. Now, every time you scan something in PDF form on your scanner, the dialogue box will always default to this folder location.
OK....so now every time you scan something, the file will wind up on your desktop in the "Scanned Docs" folder.
So, how do we get these PDFs into Evernote? Easy. Open the Evernote desktop application (as opposed to opening the Evernote online cloud version). Next, hit "File" and then "Import". Click on the choice "File Import Wizard". When that dialogue box opens, click "Next". In the "Source Folder" box, click the browse button and find the file you just created on your desktop...in this case "Scanned Docs." (Computer>>Local Disk C>>Users>>your name>>Desktop>>Scanned Docs).
While still in the Import Wizard, you can specify a "Destination notebook". You can choose any existing folder you have created in Evernote or you can create a new one to receive the scans. I created a new folder called "SCANS" which means that every time I use the PDF button to scan something, it goes into the "Scanned Docs" folder on my desktop and then into the "SCANS" folder in Evernote.
Pretty neat, right? Now all you have to do is click on the "SCANS" folder in Evernote and drag the various scans that are in there into any other of the Evernote folders you think is appropriate. But wait....there's more...
Because Evernote has a powerful OCR program (OCR means it can read individual words in scans and find them for you), once you scan something into Evernote, you can find it just by using a keyword. So, you can, let's say, create a folder called "RECEIPTS" and drag any scanned receipt in your "SCAN" folder into it. Which means, if you are running Evernote on a mobile platform like your smartphone, you can, while shopping in a supermarket, open the mobile Evernote program on your phone, go to their search icon, type in "Folgers" for example, and see what you paid for it the last time you bought it. The possibilities are endless.
We are living in truly wondrous times.
on August 23, 2011
The scanner itself is an okay piece of equipment. Granted, it does need work on the guides for the documents, as they all get pulled in crooked. That said, my intention was to file this stuff away and not worry about it again unless I really needed some piece of paper.
The real issue is the software, i.e., the proprietary database in which the scanned files are stored. The software never installed correctly, despite multiple tries. What this ultimately did was ensure the database could never be properly backed up or exported. In short, once the paper copies were destroyed, I would never be able to back my files up, to include moving them to another computer. This is an absolute fatal flaw in any system designed to archive paper records. I tried working with customer support, but while I did have one person really work at it, I also was finally told to just take it back to the store. I burned a number of hours trying to make this thing work, and even with their guy on the phone, it never happened.
I was also told that a beta version of the software was out that fixed a number of the bugs; however, I didn't qualify to use that. Really!? They would rather see their gizmo go back to the store rather than work with me. This is another company that has a lot to learn about working with their customers. It goes back to the store tomorrow.
on May 9, 2013
DO NOT PURCHASE THIS PROUDCT NEW UNTIL ANOTHER VERSION IS RELEASED AND CAN BE TESTED BY THE PUBLIC.
Although the Neat for Mac scanners and software have historically been excellent products (I have been using two different scanners and the software for years on my Macs), they have taken a sharp decline since the release of version 4.0. At the time of this writing, version 4.0.1 is the most recent version. 4.0.1 suffers from regular crashes especially as it relates to syncing your data to the cloud and the sleep/resume functions of a laptop. If neither of those features interest you - Neat may still be the product to buy. But if you choose to use either of those features, do not run any version higher than 4.0. If you do not have the 4.0 software to install, I would not purchase this product at this time.
Unfortunately, to add insult to injury, the Neat support team has taken an interesting position of describing the problems as "normal operation of the software" (their words not mine). If you consider crashing to the point of requiring a "force quit" in OSX to be "normal" after every resume from sleep, then I feel really bad for you and your computing experience. Possibly Neat is just too proud to admit the issues publicly and is really working behind the scenes to fix the bugs - hopefully.
Below is an actual ticket I had with support. Although embarrassing that I became as angry with them as I did, I am posting it in the complete form in an attempt to shame Neat into fixing their issues. This is the entire ticket I had with Neat support - I have only modified the order (original thread was most recent to oldest), omitted last names for privacy, and I removed boiler plate superfluous text:
Customer By Web Form (Josh XXXXX) - 04/26/2013 02:44 PM
Neat software crashes after every sleep/resume cycle. It is new in version 4.01 - prior version did not have the issue.
sometimes I receive "Failed to open a session on the device" - other times I get a complicated error message basically indicating some sort of communications failure.
But every time after a resume, the Neat application is hung and non-responsive. I have to use "Force Quit" to stop it and re-open.
I have tried re-installing. But I have not tried deleting the application and re-installing.
On Apr 26, 2013, at 3:01 PM, "Neat Company Support" <email@example.com> wrote:
Response Via Email(Shawn XXXXX) - 04/26/2013 03:01 PM
Please follow the steps provided below to resolve your issue.
Click Neat -> Quit Neat in the top left corner of your software.
Select Finder and then GO in the menu at the top of the screen. Select "Go to Folder" from the dropdown and type the following:
Delete all the files starting with com.neatco or com.neatreceipts in this directory.
Launch Neat and sign in with your email and password.
You should be all set.
Let me know how this works for you.
Thank you for contacting us.
-Neat Technical Support
Thanks for contacting The Neat Company.
Customer By Email (Josh XXXXX) - 04/29/2013 11:26 AM
I performed the operations requested below last Friday. The error messages are no longer happening. But the Neat app did crash first thing this morning after waking the MBP from sleep and connecting it to a scanner.
Interestingly, I am able to scan to the app when it is "crashed". It appears as if just the UI is non-responsive - but the app isn't totally hung. Once again, I had to force quit and start the Neat app again.
On Apr 29, 2013, at 12:35 PM, "Neat Company Support" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Response Via Email(Shawn XXXXX) - 04/29/2013 12:35 PM
This may just be an issue with the way the Mac resumes from sleep and the way the program responds to that process. The best solution to this would be just to exit the program if you intend to place the computer in sleep mode.
Let me know if you continue to have any other issues or error messages.
Shawn@Neat Technical Support
Customer By Email (Josh XXXXX) - 04/29/2013 05:25 PM
Are you joking? Pardon me, but none of my other applications require me to open and close them dozens of times a day.
First of all, I already told you this is a new bug in your product - older versions did not have this issue and I have been a user for years. One would think the Neat development team is interested in fixing their bugs (but maybe not based on your response).
Second, you are asking me, the consumer, to go out of my way every time I open and close my laptop to workaround your application problems? I can tell you right now I'll light my "Neat" scanner on fire before I succumb to this so called plan - that will be "real neat" (and yes, pun intended).
I still have a few questions:
When did it become okay for Neat support to dropkick a ticket without resolving it?
How do I escalate this issue to someone who cares, because clearly you don't?
On Apr 29, 2013, at 5:58 PM, "Neat Company Support" <email@example.com> wrote:
Response Via Email(Shawn XXXXX) - 04/29/2013 05:58 PM
Unfortunately our software works with what is known as a "Live Database." This style of programming does not respond well to constant sleep and resume scenarios of any kind.
I apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing you, but the issue is with the program going from sleep mode to resume on and off. My solution was not an attempt to blow you off, it is just the only solution we can offer you for this particular issue.
If you would like, you can contact us directly with any further questions you may have.
Our number is 1 (866) 632-8732, option 3. We are available from Monday thru Friday, between 9:00am and 7:00pm EST.
Thank You Again,
Shawn@Neat Technical Support
Customer By Email (Josh XXXXX) - 04/29/2013 06:40 PM
doesn't explain why this used to work. Please escalate this ticket.
Response Via Email(William XXXXX) - 05/01/2013 12:49 PM
I do apologize however shawn was quite correct. Programs running live databases don't work well with the sleep\hibernate functions of Pc's
I apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing you, but that is the normal operation of the software
Neat Technical Support
Customer By Email (Josh XXXXX) - 05/03/2013 11:57 PM
I can't honestly believe that we are having a dialog about the Neat application crashing constantly and you think there is ANY logical reasoning that would make this behavior "acceptable" or "tolerable" to a user. This doesn't bode well for Neat's future as a company - I am not sure what to even say after that. Obviously none of my other "live database" applications crash after every sleep/resume cycle. There is a new bug in 4.01 related to sleep/resume - that is an undeniable fact and I prove it below:
I am attempting my own troubleshooting since I can't get support assistance. First I uninstalled 4.01, and deleted my database. Then I reinstalled 4.01and re-downloaded my database from the Cloud (trying to uncover any local database corruption issues). The clean 4.01 install still crashed every time I sleep/resumed. Then I uninstalled Neat 4.01 and installed version 4.00 (leaving the clean database version I downloaded via 4.01 as the default). I have not had a single crash on version 4.00 since the downgrade and I am using the same database as the 4.01 install did (which was crashing constantly). Since the only factor that changed from test to test was 4.01 downgraded to 4.0 and the problem went away, the code in 4.01 must have the bug as it relates to my Neat data / Mac OS setup somehow.
Maybe when Neat releases the next upgrade I'll give it a try and see if it is buggy like 4.01. Frankly I don't have high hopes for the next release though, since the Neat support organization seems bent on telling customers that the application is supposed to be broken.
Then again, Maybe I'll just post this entire dialog on Amazon reviews of Neat for Mac - just to do what I can to make sure no other customer gets this treatment.
Sincerely mystified - I am tagging out,