Doxie 2.3 software for Mac review: A smart app but there’s still some room for improvement

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Update 8th January: I have updated the review following some helpful information from those lovely people at Doxie.  Thanks Doxie!

I’d like to start by saying that I love my Doxie Go. Since I bought it in November it hasn’t been far from reach either at home or at work. On a daily basis I feed it all my paperwork and with relatively little effort they are transported into my Evernote account.

I have read a few articles and/or reviews online that mention the bundled Doxie software, but few go into any detail on how it works. Most refer to it broadly as “a great little app” or similar but do not go on to rationalise what they like or dislike.

So I thought I would take a little time to give you my thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the Doxie App (there are plenty of great reviews of the scanner itself, so I’m not going to attempt that).

Health Warning – I am reviewing Doxie 2.3 for Mac OS (Mountain Lion), which I’m assuming is similar to the Windows version. If anyone has provided a detailed review of the Windows version let me know and I’ll add a link.


“Cropping is a delight to do in Doxie.”


Doxie – the basics

Every Doxie scanner comes with bundled Doxie software, which is designed to help you get the JPEGs that your scanner has saved into the format you want to work with (usually PDF), to apply OCR where required and to push the document(s) to the destination(s) that you wish, such as Evernote or DropBox.

To get started, you fire up Doxie and connect your scanner. If there are images on the scanner or attached memory it will immediately spring to life and import these into a kind of ‘buffer’ area. The documents do not yet show up in Finder; you need to process them and ‘upload’ them to your specified destination (which can include your computer) for them to appear in any particular folder.

Once Doxie has imported the files on your scanner or memory card/USB device the documents will appear in the Doxie window for editing and review. Please note that Doxie will only import JPEGs that have been generated using the Doxie scanner. It will not import other images (such as pictures of receipts snapped on your iPhone) and is therefore not a suitable alternative to a more general OCR imaging tool. According to Doxie, this is for licencing purposes although I can’t quite fathom why a tool with OCR capabilities can’t also be applied to images I have created without my Doxie.

[Update] – According to Doxie, this is pretty standard and “no scanner of any brand includes OCR that will import any image.”  I still don’t really understand why this is the case, but it’s helpful to know that it’s not limited to Doxie!  I guess hardcore OCR fans will need to go with Acrobat, or its more attractively priced alternative PDFPen.

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Processing your scanned image

The first thing you’ll notice about the Doxie app is that it’s quite basic; My description would be ‘functional’. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it lacks the pop and crackle of other professional apps. The updated 2.3 app includes the ability to change the colour of the Doxie logo (presumably as a nod to the recently released Doxie Color Skins*), which oddly seems to make the app feel even more 90s retro.


“It lacks the pop and crackle of other professional apps.”


Double-clicking on a scanned image will take you to a detailed document review dialogue, which will include a preview of the scanned image. It does not seem possible to move or resize either the window, or to zoom the preview image itself. This is my number 1 bugbear with the Doxie software as on numerous occasions I have found myself squinting to read the date on a letter I have scanned (I like to add the date the letter was sent to the document name). The only workaround I have found is to use the inbuilt cropping facility to crop the document up to the date, which also results in the area being zoomed in. You then have to uncrop back to the full document; not an ideal solution by any means.

[Update] – Doxie have kindly pointed out that if you press SPACE when the document is selected in the main window, it will fire up Quick Look and you’ll be able to see a much bigger version of the document.  If the urge strikes you it’s even possible to fire up Preview from there to have a fully zoomable view.  I still think this capability should be available in the document editing window for ease of reference when putting information into the document name but this is a “would like to have” requirement and I’m looking forward to using Quick Look going forwards.  Score one for Doxie!

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Cropping itself is a delight to do in Doxie; you are provided with four sliders for cropping from any of the four sides of the document and it’s quick, easy and precise. The ‘rotation’ facility allows you to correct things if your document has gone a bit wonky into the scanner (as they occasionally do) or you can simply crop the edges of the document to a straight edge.

Doxie also provide the facility to tinker with the colour, saturation, brightness and contrast but I’ve never needed to use these as I have always found the quality of the images from the Doxie Go more than adequate.

Outside of the ‘detailed’ document processing window there are a few things you can do in the summary screen; the most useful of which has to be the ‘staple’ function. This allows you to quickly and easily combine multiple scanned pages into a single document. A button at the bottom of the screen makes this happen, or if like me you’re always looking for a shortcut the same effect is achieved by pressing CMD and /. You can select multiple pages at a time and the software rewards you with a satisfying little ‘cuh-chink’ stapler noise to let you know you’ve been successful. This aspect of the software is smooth, painless and dead easy when batch processing a chunk of documentation. I LOVE this feature!


“The software rewards you with a satisfying little ‘cuh-chink’ stapler noise.”


Other things you can do in the summary screen include deleting documents, rotating in 90-degree increments and renaming them. You can change the size of the thumbnails using a slider at the bottom of the screen but the size options are limited from ‘tiny’ to ‘barely legible’ and I can’t for the life of me fathom why you can’t zoom up to a view that shows a single page at a time.

Saving your processed image/PDF

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Once you’ve finished tidying up your scanned images you’ll want to put them somewhere more useful than Doxie’s ‘limbo’ holding area. Doxie offers the facility to save to a local folder, an application or cloud service (e.g. Evernote, DropBox) or multiple combinations thereof. You can even specify your own applications (I have added Nozbe).

Up until now I’ve been happy to send all my documents to Evernote so I’m afraid I can’t give you much insight into how it integrates with other services. In 2.3 the functionality to send scans via Messages and AirDrop was added, but I haven’t used this.

All you need to do is select one or more documents, click the ‘send’ button and select Evernote (or your service of choice). Depending on your Evernote settings the app will likely pop up with your newly created notes. The gurus at @doxiescanner have also advised me that you can specify tags and notebooks using the format FileName @notebook #tag when you name your document.

Once you’ve sent your document to at least one service a green tick mark will appear; the next time you close Doxie you’ll be prompted for whether you want to delete these uploaded documents or keep them for further processing.


“You can specify tags and notebooks using the format Filename @notebook #tag when you name your document.”


Summary

And that’s that! In summary:

I like:

  • The stapler function
  • The cropping/rotation sliders
  • One-click Integration with a wide variety of cloud services like Evernote

I dislike:

  • Not being able to zoom into documents to a legible level (or at least, not being able to do it from within the edit window)
  • The 90s retro feel, complete with pointless logo colour changes (but please don’t take away the incredibly value-add “cuh-chink” stapler noise!)

As I said before, the Doxie Go is never far from my side these days and the packaged software does what it says on the tin, giving you straightforward processing options and seamless uploading to your favourite cloud service. But I still hope that the folks at Doxie are beavering away on something with a ‘wow’ aesthetic factor more in keeping with its quirky brand.

 

What do you think? Let me know!


* Paid affiliate link. Unpaid links:

Doxie Colour Skins

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