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Pagis Pro update can scan to beat the band
--------------------------------------------------------- ScanSoft's suite of OCR products also tunes up Windows interface

By Herb Bethoney, PC Week Labs
July 1, 1998

PC Week Labs Review Xerox Scansoft Inc.'s Pagis Pro 2.0 combines several companies' tools into an extensive suite of scanning products with impressive performance and accuracy.

The most significant feature of Pagis Pro 2.0 software--the new version is worth buying for this alone--allows users to convert any Windows folder to a Pagis Pro folder. These folders extend Windows Explorer's file management capabilities by providing a thumbnail view of each file in a folder for quick identification.

In PC Week Labs' tests of Pagis Pro 2.0, which shipped this month, it performed OCR (optical character recognition) on a par with Caere Corp.'s OmniPage Pro and Visioneer Inc.'s ProOCR100 OCR applications. Pagis Pro runs on Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT but, unlike Caere's and Visioneer's products, does not run on Macintoshes.

In Pagis Pro's list view, when we held the cursor over a file name, a thumbnail image popped up to help identify the file. Also valuable is the undo feature, which quickly returns a Windows folder to its original state.

Although Pagis Pro's tool bar can be launched separately from the application, allowing more flexibility in tool bar placement, we would have liked the option to select a less cluttered approach, perhaps by docking the tool bar to the main window.

The heart of the suite is the Pagis Pro scanning and document organizing tool. Pagis Pro has a clean interface design, and the program smoothly integrates a Windows Explorer-like file system for managing scanned documents.

Pagis Pro 2.0 works with just about any TWAIN scanner or digital camera. After a document has been converted to text, users can save the file to most popular word processor and spreadsheet application formats.

In tests, Pagis Pro did a good job of maintaining a document's structure, but, like Visioneer's ProOCR100, the application was not quite as consistently accurate as Caere's OmniPage in recognizing such page elements as graphics, tables and charts.

Using Verity Inc.'s Topic search engine, Pagis Pro's new search tool lets users assign a keyword to a scanned document or image for quick retrieval. Users can also index all of the documents on their local hard drive, network drive or removable media. With the program's natural-language search capabilities, we could retrieve a file from a 2GB hard drive containing thousands of documents within a second or two.

Pagis Pro 2.0 includes MGI Software Inc.'s PhotoSuite image manipulation program. Like Thinkstream Inc.'s Scan-o-matic, PhotoSuite lets users send photographs and documents via e-mail or from within PhotoSuite. Although PhotoSuite isn't as comprehensive an image editor as Adobe Systems Inc.'s Photoshop or Jasc Software Inc.'s Paint Shop Pro, it provides the basic tools to crop, rotate, sharpen and color-correct just about any image.

See the Executive Summary for Pagis Pro 2.0.