Frequently Asked Questions
Scanning & OCR
What are electronic file cabinets?
Electronic file cabinets are a structured, quick-access way of storing files. They work just like regular filing cabinets. There's a row of drawers, and each drawer holds its own folders and files. There's no limit to the number of drawers, folders, or files. And there's no limit to the number of cabinets you can have.
The advantage of a cabinet approach is that you can get to a location very quickly – often with just a couple of mouse clicks. Cabinets also let you focus on one set of files at a time, reducing visual clutter, and they enforce more structured file organization. Good file organization is critical to an efficient paperless office.
Behind the scenes, FileCenter is simply overlaying regular Windows folders. Every folder in the "cabinet" is a drawer, and subfolders show up in the drawers. It's a very simple but extremely effective design.
Why do I need to structure my files? Isn't it quicker to just search?
Some consultants and software companies will tell you that good document search is all that matters, but document search relies on users typing in the right keywords when they save files and then knowing the right keywords to use when they search. And with some types of files, like digital photos, the only text you can search for is the filename. We've seen many, many cases of offices that have literally lost files in their system.
FileCenter is built around the belief that search and structure go hand-in-hand. FileCenter's structure is so consistent and efficient that you'll usually find you can get to your files faster without searching. But when you need to search your cabinets, FileCenter has a top-grade search engine that will scour the haystack for your needle.
Do I have to use the electronic file cabinets? What if I don't like them?
The electronic file cabinets are optional. FileCenter also offers a regular Explorer view. One nice alternative is to use cabinets but disable drawers. This will show regular Explorer folders, but only the ones in the cabinet path. So a cabinet becomes an isolated view to the slice of folders that are pertinent.
What kinds of files can I store in FileCenter?
FileCenter will store any file from any program. Double-clicking a file in FileCenter will open the file in its native application.
How do I save files into FileCenter?
FileCenter uses regular Windows folders, so saving a file into one of those folders puts it into FileCenter.
Better yet, FileCenter can optionally integrate with the Save function of most Windows programs. When you save from your other programs, FileCenter can pop up and let you pick the cabinet/drawer where you want to save the file. This feature works with the Microsoft Office suites, WordPerfect suites, Adobe products, OpenOffice, HotDocs, Internet Explorer, Outlook, Firefox, Thunderbird, Groupwise, and many more. We are constantly adding new applications to the supported list. Please let us know if we do not support an application that you need.
You can turn this feature off for individual programs or completely. Even when the feature is on, you can cancel out of FileCenter and switch to a normal Windows Save dialog.
Does FileCenter store files in their native format? Or do files get locked into a proprietary format?
FileCenter stores all files in their native format. This means, for example, that you can save your Word documents directly into FileCenter as Word documents and then retrieve them from FileCenter back into Word. This is a very important point. Many document management programs store your documents as uneditable images in a proprietary format. The danger of a proprietary format is that customers who buy those products become locked into them in perpetuity. FileCenter's philosophy is to keep users happy with a quality product and not with gimmicks and traps. If at any time you stop using FileCenter, you will be able to access all of your files through standard Windows browsing techniques and open all of your files in their native applications with no additional software or file conversions.
If I quit using FileCenter, what happens to my files?
Most file management programs store your files in a database, which requires complex import and export routines. FileCenter does not use databases. Instead, FileCenter uses native Windows folders for storing files. This means you always have total access to your files, even if you remove FileCenter.
Does FileCenter require any new hardware?
In most cases FileCenter does not require any new hardware. Because it uses the Windows file system to store files, it does not add any server load. In fact, it is generally not necessary to even install FileCenter on your server. Because FileCenter does not require any dedicated hardware or software, in most cases it is up and running quickly. The only exception is scanning. If you don't currently have good scanners and you plan to do scanning, you'll need to have good quality sheet-fed scanners that are TWAIN compliant.
How easily will FileCenter import my existing files?
In most cases, all you need to do is add a new cabinet in FileCenter and set its location to the folder where your files are. FileCenter pick them up automatically. There's no need to import anything. If your files are currently in another file management system, you may need to export them from that system first, then FileCenter can pick them up.
How long will it take to set up? Can I do it myself? Can I do it myself?
Installation is very simple. Even non-technical users can typically do the installation and setup themselves with no guidance.
What are the minimum system requirements for FileCenter?
Can I share cabinets on the network?
It's easy to share cabinets on the network. Just set the cabinet's location to a folder on your file server, or any shared network folder. If all users have a cabinet pointing to the same folder, they'll all see the same data.
If you have network permissions in place, FileCenter will inherit them seamlessly. So end-users only be able to access cabinets that they have permission to access.
Is FileCenter HIPAA / SEC / FINRA compliant?
In reality, no software can be HIPAA/SEC/FINRA compliant. Compliance comes from standard practices and security/privacy safeguards that your office must put in place and adhere to. FileCenter can be a valuable and integral component in an office which is HIPAA/SEC/FINRA compliant. 1) It limits access to privileged documents by inheriting all access permissions and restrictions from the Windows file system, natively supporting Windows NTFS and share permissions, 2) it stores electronic documents in a fashion that makes them easy to locate, access and retrieve, 3) it supports the archival of electronic files in their native format as well as clean, legible and accurate reproductions of scanned documents, and 4) in conjunction with an online backup solution it safeguards electronic documents against loss or damage.
Does FileCenter work through a WAN, VPN, or SharePoint?
FileCenter will work through a WAN/VPN/SharePoint as long as there is a drive letter mapped to the server. FileCenter will work with any drive it sees in the Windows file system, regardless of whether the drive is local, on the network, or accessed through a VPN/WAN/SharePoint.
Can I prevent a cabinet's contents from being deleted?
FileCenter provides a feature which, when turned on, prevents users from deleting a file directly from the FileCenter interface. The benefit of this is that users who are distracted will not accidentally delete a file. Files can still be deleted by carrying out an extra step, which requires the users to think about the process and therefore provides a safety net for those who otherwise may have deleted a file while distracted. This is a particularly useful feature for those who use FileCenter in a network environment, where a file deletion is irreversible.
Can I preview files without opening them?
FileCenter's preview window can preview almost any kind of document. This makes it very easy to peek at what's in a file without opening it – very handy if you just need a bit of information from the file or if you want to make sure it's the right file before opening it.
Does FileCenter work with WordPerfect products? OpenOffice?
FileCenter supports all WordPerfect and OpenOffice products.
Can I use FileCenter to manage my HotDocs answer files?
HotDocs answer files can be managed very elegantly within FileCenter. HotDocs users with many answer files will benefit from the ability to store a client's answer files alongside the client's other documents in a file cabinet structure, share the answer files on the network, and even use full-text search to find lost answer files.
Is FileCenter compatible with Windows 7? Windows 8?
FileCenter is compatible with all editions of Windows as of Windows XP, including Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
Is FileCenter compatible with 64-bit editions of Windows?
Yes. FileCenter is fully compatible with 64-bit editions of Windows, including the Save/Open integration.
How many licenses of FileCenter do I need on my network?
You need one license for every computer where FileCenter is installed. If multiple users share the same computer (not concurrently), you will only need one license for that computer. The exception to this is a Terminal Server environment, where each user who runs FileCenter via the server needs a separate license.
I'm looking for a PaperMaster replacement. How does FileCenter compare?
FileCenter is very similar in concept to PaperMaster, but even more flexible and easier to use. Like PaperMaster, FileCenter uses a "filing cabinet" concept with drawers and folders. You can scan documents into your drawers (as fully-searchable PDF files). FileCenter does not use a proprietary file format. In fact, you can save any kind of file into FileCenter. FileCenter integrates with the Save/Open functions of most Windows programs to make this easy. And best of all, FileCenter does not use a database, so your files are never "locked in".
Can FileCenter import my PaperMaster files?
We do have a PaperMaster export utility that has been able to assist some users in getting their files out of PaperMaster, ready to be used in FileCenter. The utility is built into FileCenter. Access it from the FileCenter Tools button > PaperMaster Export Utility.
I'm looking for a PaperPort replacement. How does FileCenter compare?
Many PaperPort users are switching to FileCenter. The features that PaperPort users appreciate most are:
Does FileCenter work with DropBox?
Absolutely. You'll have a folder on your machine that's the designated DropBox folder. Everything inside of this folder is synchronized to DropBox. When you Create a FileCenter cabinet, just make sure its location is somewhere inside of the DropBox folder.
Can FileCenter import my Lacerte DMS (or Intuit DMS or ProSeries DMS) client files?
Easily. Lacerte DMS will export your client files into a structure that seamlessly migrates into FileCenter. It will preserve all of your client data along with each client's folder layout and files. We have a guide that walks you through the process. Read it here »
Can I use FileCenter to view and edit PDFs?
FileCenter has a built-in PDF reader and editor. In other words, you can open PDFs, view them, edit them, and save the changes without ever leaving FileCenter. FileCenter can completely replace Adobe Acrobat Reader.
You can optionally designate FileCenter as your default program for PDFs, so anytime you double-click a PDF it will open in FileCenter.
Can I fill out PDF forms or type on a PDF?
You can use FileCenter to fill out PDF forms and save the forms with their answers. If the forms don't have pre-defined fields, you can still type on the form with FileCenter's typewriter feature.
Can I add comments, stamps, highlights, etc. to a PDF?
FileCenter has many tools for annotating PDFs, like sticky notes, text boxes, pens, highlighters, and stamps. You can add your own stamps to the library.
Does FileCenter support digital signatures? PDF security?
FileCenter has full support for digital signatures, as well as all of the standard PDF security and password options.
Can I save web pages, e-mails, or office documents as PDFs?
FileCenter comes with a PDF printer so you can print web clippings, office documents, etc. to PDF. Additionally, FileCenter has a Convert button that will make a PDF out of many kinds of files.
Can I delete pages from a PDF file?
Yes. FileCenter will remove pages from any PDF file. Just select and delete. You can also delete pages without opening the file. Just switch into the Enhanced Thumbnails view, flip to the page you want to delete, and select PDF Actions > Delete Page(s).
Can I join PDF files together?
FileCenter can join any PDF files a number of ways. This is sometimes referred to as PDF stacking. In the file manager, you can drag/drop PDFs on top of each other to join them. You can also use the Combine tool to bring many PDFs together into one file, or the Insert tool to bring one PDF into the middle of another one.
Can I split a PDF file into separate files?
Yes. In FileCenter, you can select pages and split them off into a new file. This is very useful for separating scans into multiple files. You can also split a PDF file without opening it. Just use the Split tool and enter the page where you want to split the file.
Can I move pages between PDF files?
FileCenter has a Transfer Pages tool which can move or copy select pages from one file into any position in another file.
Does FileCenter support PDF/A?
When you scan to PDF in FileCenter, you can optionally use the PDF/A-1b format, or Archival PDF, a long-term archival format which is designed to be supported for decades.
What kind of scanner will work with FileCenter?
FileCenter supports most TWAIN scanners. If you're not sure if your scanner is a TWAIN scanner, go to the Downloads/Drivers section of your manufacturer's website and look for a TWAIN driver.
Can I use a ScanSnap scanner?
FileCenter has a ScanSnap integration. You can use your ScanSnap to scan a document directly into the current FileCenter drawer/folder, a very fast way to scan and organize in one step. For instructions on activating the integration, see this Knowledge Base article.
Will FileCenter support a multifunction or network scanner?
For a scanner to work with FileCenter, it must be connected to your computer and it must have a TWAIN driver. If your network or multifunction scanner doesn't meet these criteria, use FileConvert to convert the scans to searchable PDF and send them FileCenter for storage.
Is there a scanner you recommend?
Our favorite scanner makers are Fujitsu*, Canon, and Xerox. They are well-engineered and, more importantly, have excellent drivers. FileCenter's ability to interface with a scanner is completely dependent on the driver, and some of the budget scanners have unreliable drivers.
*Note that the Fujitsu ScanSnap series, while excellent, lacks TWAIN drivers so you won't be able to use FileCenter's Scan dialog with a ScanSnap. But FileCenter does have a special ScanSnap integration which you can learn about in this Knowledge Base article.
Can I scan directly into FileCenter?
In addition to regular scanning, you can also scan directly to file. This is a very rapid, efficient way to scan if you don't need to preview the document as it's being scanned. Just select any FileCenter location, then click the Scan button. You'll be prompted for a filename, then the scan will go straight to file.
Does FileCenter automatically rotate pages while I scan?
FileCenter Pro has an automatic page rotation feature. After the scan comes in, FileCenter will look at how the text is oriented on the page and rotate the page until the text is upright.
How does FileCenter's scanning compare with other products on the market?
FileCenter performs scanning, converting, and routing functions which are normally only found in enterprise-class software. Some lower-end software products will do automatic document separation, but FileCenter's automatic naming, routing and saving to searchable PDF is without equal among competitors.
What file types will FileCenter output?
When you scan in FileCenter, you can save the document as a text-searchable PDF file (which includes the document's OCR text embedded invisibly behind the scanned image), image-only PDF, or TIFF file.
What are the minimum system requirements for scanning & OCR?
What is automated scanning and how does it work?
Automated scanning is FileCenter's ability to receive a stack of documents and automatically separate, convert, name, and save each document without any user intervention. This might sound complex, but it is not. Anyone who can use a fax cover sheet can use this technology. Simply overlay the equivalent of a fax cover sheet between the individual documents and then scan the whole stack. The FileCenter technology takes care of the rest. The benefit of this approach is that office staff does not have to sit and baby sit a scanner, wasting time with the mind-numbing scan-save-repeat tedium. FileCenter is the only product at its price point that offers this level of functionality.
What are Separators?
Separators are special cover sheets for scanned documents. They have two purposes:
Through the use of separators, stacks of documents can be scanned and intelligently named and saved without any user intervention.
When does OCR happen?
OCR is tightly integrated into the scanning process. When you scan a document, OCR will happen silently. This gives you a fully-searchable PDF file with just a mouse click. You can also manually run OCR anytime.
Where is the OCR text?
With a PDF file, the OCR text gets embedded behind the scanned image, word-aligned with the words in the scan.
Can I still use my favorite OCR engine with FileCenter?
While FileCenter includes a basic Optical Character Recognition engine, it also integrates with some third-party OCR engines – particularly the Microsoft Office Document Imaging (MODI) OCR engine. This lets you choose the OCR engine that is best suited to your documents and your needs.
Can I use ABBYY FileReader with FileCenter?
Unfortunately, ABBYY's strict licensing structure prevents FileCenter from integrating with it.
What languages are supported by FileCenter Pro's Advanced OCR engine?
FileCenter Pro's Advanced OCR engine currently supports the following languages: English, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Danish, Spanish and Portuguese.
Can FileCenter search a network cabinet?
FileCenter can search a network cabinet.
Can FileCenter search my scanned documents?
FileCenter can search for any scanned document that has accompanying OCR text. This is normally in the form of a searchable PDF document. But note that scanners which produce PDF documents do not normally produce searchable PDF documents. PDF documents produced by scanners only contain the image of the original document. They do not contain any machine-searchable text. FileCenter, on the other hand, produces searchable PDF documents which contain both the image of the original document and machine-searchable text. In addition, our FileConvert product can batch-convert your old scanned documents to searchable PDF files.
Does FileCenter support boolean searching?
FileCenter supports full Boolean searching. Anyone who has done a Boolean search on any major search engine can do a boolean search using FileCenter. For those not familiar with Boolean searching, FileCenter also supports natural language searching.
Does FileCenter support fuzzy searching?
FileCenter supports fuzzy searching, which allows users to find documents with slightly misspelled words or words which vary slightly from the search term.
Does FileCenter support stemming?
FileCenter supports stemming, which allows users to find related words that share the same stem. For example, search for the word "house" also return results for "houses," "housing" and "housed."
Can FileCenter limit a search by file type?
FileCenter can limit a search by the following file types: Word (.doc), PDF, HTML, Excel (.xls), PowerPoint (.ppt), WordPerfect (.wpd), RTF, Text (.txt), CSV, Outlook E-mail (.msg), E-mail (.eml), HotDocs Answer File (.ans, .anx).
Can FileCenter limit a search by file date?
FileCenter can limit a search by a file's creation date or modification date.
Can I find a file outside my cabinets?
Using the standard search engine that comes with FileCenter, all searchable documents must reside in a cabinet that has been flagged for full-text search capabilities. However, FileCenter also integrates seamlessly with popular desktop search engines. Using one of these, you can also search outside of cabinets, including e-mail and other system files.
Can FileCenter simultaneously search a local and network cabinet?
FileCenter can simultaneously search any number of cabinets, including local and network cabinets, allowing a user to quickly locate a document whether it resides locally or on the network.
Can FileCenter simultaneously search multiple cabinets?
FileCenter can simultaneously search any number of cabinets and return multiple results.
Does FileCenter refresh indexes automatically?
FileCenter indexes are refreshed automatically several times a day. This process is transparent to the end-user and uses very little of your system resources, waiting until the computer is idle to update the index. You will not even realize when it has happened.
When I save a file, does it automatically get added to the index?
When you save a file through the FileCenter Save dialog box, it is immediately added to the index and becomes instantly searchable.
Feature Highlight: Folder Templates.
Do you find yourself creating the same folders over and over – standard client folder layouts or months of the year for digital photos? FileCenter's Folder Templates let you set up a folder layout once and then reuse it again and again.
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