Do Handheld Scanners Really Work?

Neat Receipts and Neat Mobile

Neat Receipts is the portable version of the desktop Neat scanner. It’s about the same size as Doxie Go and it costs the same $199 but you have to connect it to your computer via USB because the Neat software drives the scanner directly (and you’ll want to pick the folder for each scan to go into).

Neat Receipts isn’t quite as portable as Doxie Go because you need your computer.

Despite the name, Neat Receipts scans much more than just receipts. Like Doxie, you can scan any kind of document; unlike Doxie, the Neat software recognizes both the text and the type of your document. Scan a business card and Neat not only gets the text of the card right, it spots that it’s a business card and files it as a contact. You can export one card or all the cards you scan as vCard files that Outlook can open and add to your address book.

You can scan more general documents (letters from your bank or pages from magazines). They’re automatically recognized as documents and you can export them as a PDF that has the recognized text as well as the image of the page (so if there’s a URL, you can click or copy it). If you know you want a PDF of a document, you can push the PDF button on the scanner and bypass the Neat software to get that directly.

One of the best quality scans and all the relevant information; Neat is a high quality scanner.

But what Neat is really good at is receipts. Scan a pile of receipts and Neat does an excellent job of getting not just the price and date off them, but also the name of the business and what category it falls in. A tiny noodle restaurant in Mountain View is correctly identified as a restaurant, even though Neat doesn’t put the name of the restaurant in the result. A receipt from an Arco gas station is tagged as fuel/auto. When it comes to doing expenses or taxes, lots of the work is done for you (and you can allocate receipts to tax schedules and expense types, then export to popular tax and accounting packages like TurboTax and Quicken).

Out of more than 20 receipts, this was one of only two the Neat software got wrong; the other was handwritten.

Neat is going to get more portable too; there’s a cloud scanning service on the way, called NeatCloud. There will be Android and iOS NeatMobile apps that let you take photos of receipts and have them processed by NeatCloud instead of desktop software; we expect to see those in the next few weeks.

Mary Branscombe is an experienced freelance journalist, editor and author, who has been writing for more than three decades. Her work has appeared in The Financial Times, The Guardian, Tom's Guide, and many more. She has also written several novels — including the Cassidy At Large technomysteries — and two IT guides alongside her writing partner, Simon Bisson.

  • blackmagnum
    They work... but not well.
  • Instead if trying to use weird apps that gives you crappy results you can use document scanning services like Kirtas at or .

  • CTRL + F ... click "Replace".
    Find "EverNote"
    Replace with "Evernote"
    THEN submit article. Even your screenshots show the application - which clearly says "Evernote".
  • The company and product names are "Evernote" not "EverNote"
  • Patrick Benesch
    A new app that creates high quality scans is Scandock