PaperPort 12You can tell from the number that PaperPort 12 for Windows has been around for a while. We first reviewed it more than a decade ago. What it does is sort your documents in a pictorial layout that lets you easily pull the pieces together into a single file. You can then email or print that file.

The latest version does what it always did, but much faster. And it lets you fill out forms. One user told us he used the new version to do everything necessary to refinance his mortgage, while the mortgage broker was still on the phone. He downloaded the mortgage application and filled it out online with PaperPort’s form filler. Then he dragged that and all the other documents he needed into a PaperPort window and combined them into one document as a PDF. He sent that about a minute after it was requested. The broker was stunned. (Hey! Who’s got the technology now?)

Documents can be brought into PaperPort from any digital source, like incoming PDFs, scans, digital photos, etc. This is the same software that powers the popular “NeatReceipts” scanner, made by Neat Co. ( Traveling sales people love that one for keeping track of expenses. Every time you get a receipt, you scan it and it gets added to a single PDF that can be emailed back to the office as an expense report. You can also do this with PaperPort and any scanner, by the way.

PaperPort is most useful for people who do a lot of scanning or photographing of documents, book pages, news clips, photos, etc. The software even lets you edit those photos and documents. It contains its own OCR (Optical Character Recognition) program, which makes a scanned or photographed document editable as if it were a text brought in from a word processor. Along with that editing power, you can make call-outs and add notes. (“Call-outs” are selections from a document that are copied and enlarged to emphasize some point. You see them often in newspaper and magazine stories.)

Though PaperPort is commonly used in business, over half of their customers use it for their personal files. The professional version of the program lists for $200 from the maker,, and the standard, which has most of the features, lists for $100.

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