By Harry McCracken A scanner alone can't tame information overload--it just moves your paper stacks from the real world onto your hard drive. Enter ScanSoft's PaperPort Deluxe 8, the newest version of a venerable, ingenious personal document manager.
PaperPort's intuitive interface seems to resemble that of Windows XP's Explorer, with searchable folders showing thumbnails of scanned documents, photos, and other files. But this virtual desktop outperforms Windows' own. For instance, it has simple tools for annotating pages and tweaking snapshots.
Most important, it intelligently processes documents and moves them to the appropriate apps. Drag a scanned page to your word processor, and PaperPort's optical character recognition turns it into editable text. Scan a form, and fill it in on screen. And so on.
This upgrade isn't sweeping, but its interface has improved. It also handles photos better--for example, you can now download images directly from a camera. And for the software's price, you get a year's subscription to PaperPortOnline, a Web service for storing and sharing files.
PaperPort's OCR continues to have trouble deciphering elaborately formatted pages, such as magazine articles. And when I used PaperPortOnline to transfer scanned directions to my PDA, they arrived as a bitmap that was too small to read. Dragging the files to a word processor first helps to get around that. All in all, though, PaperPort is a slick tool that makes any scanner more useful. From the March 2002 issue of PC World magazine