Tame those stacks of paper with Fujitsu's ix500 scanner

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

I’ve been a big fan of Fujitsu document scanners for several years and use one almost daily.

I jumped at the chance to review their latest model, the ScanSnap ix500 Desktop Scanner ($419.99,, to see if they’ve managed to improve it.

The ix500 is a solidly built scanner about the size of a shoebox. It connects to your Mac or PC with a USB cable. It can also scan wirelessly to your computer, and you can scan wirelessly directly to your smartphone or tablet with Fujitsu’s new mobile app for iOS or Android.

To scan, you “unfold” the scanner by extending the document feeder and output tray, load up your documents and press the scan button.

The ix500 can hold up to 50 pages in its document feeder. It scans both sides of the page as it feeds each sheet through. It takes about 2 seconds to scan a page. The continuous feeder can scan 25 pages per minute, which could be as many as 50 color scans per minute.

I put through a 36-page two-sided color instruction manual, and the ix500 had it perfectly scanned in about 90 seconds.

The feeder can scan documents from 81/2 inches wide down to business cards. There is also an included sheet carrier to make it easier to scan newspaper articles or other delicate materials you might not want to send through moving rollers.

Want to make a scanned backup of the contents of your wallet? You can even feed plastic cards.

The ix500 is also a quick way to scan boxes full of photos. It has a maximum scan resolution of 600 dots per inch for color or black and white photos. It can feed stacks of photos, but it also works well if you feed them in one at a time. I like that it scans both sides at once, so if you have writing on the back of your old photos, it can be saved.

Scans can be saved as either PDF or JPG files. The PDFs can be sent through optical character recognition and come out as editable documents if you like. The scanner includes the Windows version of Adobe Acrobat X Standard. Macintosh users can just default to using their Mac’s Preview program to open and view PDFs.

Business card scans can also be recognized and the data can be inserted into your address book if you use Outlook or Apple’s Address Book.

Before a scanning session, you should check the scanner settings and make any changes to type of scan or file destination.

For the most part, I left it set for duplex scanning with automatic resolution and color detection. The scanner knows if your document has color, and it will scan accordingly. Also the scanning software can automatically rotate images and remove blank pages.

There are also options to optically reduce bleed-through of text on a two-sided page and to straighten any text that didn’t quite get scanned right.

You can save to any folder on your computer, a network share or directly to a cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox. You can also have the software automatically name each file according to your specifications, or you can have it ask you to name the document after each scan.

There is a lot to like about the ix500. It’s fast, small, quiet, very good at scanning everything I tried to throw at it and during my testing it never failed.

If I owned a business that dealt with a lot of paper, I’d want one of these on every desk.

It’s also perfect for those of us who want to get rid of the stacks and drawers full of paper at home.

It’s refreshing to find a device that is so well designed and does its job so competently. After using it for a few weeks, I can’t think of a thing I’d change about it.

Pros: Small, quiet, produces fantastic looking documents.

Cons: Perhaps a bit expensive, but worth it.

Bottom line: Every time I used the ix500, I was pleased. It’s magic.


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