My favorite (free!) document management system… just got discontinued. But it’s still the best out there, so grab it while you can!
Neat last month quietly announced that they were discontinuing their desktop apps, and focusing solely on their cloud product. In fact, they did it so quietly that they didn’t tweet it or even mention it on their OS X El Capitan status page. The only notice is buried on their support page. Thankfully, Neat didn’t yank the downloads at the end of March – so I just beamed them down for safe keeping.
You do not need a Neat scanner to use most Neat versions. This created a free rider problem, where many used their own cheaper scanner – and Neat for Mac’s free OCR and document management system. Rival solutions of this caliber cost around $100 to $300 when Neat debuted. Needless to say, I can understand their reasoning.
Since the links are publicly visible, here they are (I cannot mirror these, get them while you can!):
- Neat for OS X – 18.104.22.168 [El Capitan Final Release]
- Neat for Mac OS X 10.7/10.8/10.9/10.10 – 22.214.171.124 [Latest Pre-OS X 10.11 Release]
- Neat for Mac OS X 10.6 – 126.96.36.199
- NeatWorks for Mac OS X 10.5 or Earlier – 188.8.131.52
- Neat officially posted this product key to use freely with NeatWorks 184.108.40.206: NM2V4DDC-475C2-WN7Z9-MYFN9
- Neat for Windows 7/8/8.1/10 – 220.127.116.114 [Full Version] – [Update-only Version]
- Neat for Windows XP/Vista – 18.104.22.1683 [Full Version] – [Update-only Version]
Ahem, as I was saying before all the downloads… I can understand this change. It’s much better to charge per month for something, versus a one-time purchase that people may not ever upgrade. Plus Neat’s free rider problem was probably reaching epidemic levels.
A USB all-in-one scanner and printer is practically free at retail stores (since they profit from the ink). Many sub-$80 all-in-one’s now offer automated document feeders. Frankly, I’m not surprised more don’t use this solution – and I know a lot of people – particularly Mac users – who do!
Neat Could Fix This! (And here’s how!)
At the same time, I am completely uninterested in Neat’s cloud offerings – as I suspect most of their desktop customers are.
Neat offered the best desktop OCR-and-document-management solution I’ve used on the Mac. Worse, they never finished patching the app for El Capitan. Despite promising to do so, they still have only published a partial fix beta. For some reason, Neat has said they won’t code-sign the older scanner drivers, and thus people with those older scanners have to follow a second guide.
Clarification: Following criticism from this article, and elsewhere, Neat announced that the last beta release would be rebranded as a final free Mac release. It is unchanged however from their final, still-buggy beta release.
Here’s what I would do – Continue development of Neat Desktop as a paid software product. Break free from the Neat-branded scanners, but keep building the desktop apps as an alternative to the cloud. Many of us don’t want all their documents stored in the cloud, for various reasons. Despite its age, Neat still has one of the better solutions out there.
PC sales are not the same as software sales. My 10 year old Mac Pro could run Neat’s software with gusto. I want to pay for the software, I don’t want my documents in the cloud.
Maintaining Neat Desktop, and continuing its development, is probably the easiest route to take a depreciating asset, and turn it around into a profitable one.
I, like many Mac users, would pay $49 annually for major releases that improve performance, and add features to Neat Desktop.
Realistically, Neat is unlikely to take my advice. The call has been made, and their management would probably seem flip-floppish to investors to pull an about-face, even if it is the best corporate move for Neat Company.
So now, I have some decisions to make.
Plan A – Set up a Legacy Neat Desk (pun intended)
I have an old Mac Pro that I can dedicate to using as a document management system. It can still do other stuff, but it would basically sit with my NeatDesk scanner, forever running OS X El Capitan (I do have the partial bugfix working, but others have struggled… particularly with older Neat Desk scanner models).
My “Neat Mac Pro” would then PDF up documents and store them in an encrypted file server, so I could flow them where I need to via remote access.
Pros: I don’t have to buy anything new.
Cons: Much moving stuff around, having to dedicate a system to one task. Can’t update OS X on the dedicated system, because it will break Neat Desktop. Off-site document retrieval could become a hassle/challenge.
Plan B – Scrap Neat Desktop, use something else…
Honestly, there’s too much choice here. Long-time Mac developer Mariner Software has Paperless, which is a frontrunner – and it has a Windows version too. But I’m almost hesitant to even mention one, because I feel obligated to list over a dozen alternative apps. Abbyy, DEVONthink, and DocMoto also have highly-regarded solutions, but tend to be way too expensive for my use cases.
For example, DEVONthink has scanner integration, but only in its most expensive version. Same dichotomies for the others. Neat did all of this, in one product – Scan, adjust scan, OCR document, and store/search/manage.
Paperless is clearly my frontrunner, but as they note on their support site, unfortunately, it has the same major drawback as Neat Desktop: You can’t portably access your library across Mac and PC. That’s a royal pain for business users who have a mixed office. Plus there isn’t an iOS or Android integration beyond emailing photographs of receipts (which is more time consuming than one might think at first).
All the mobile-first solutions rely on the cloud, and while I get that, they all fail for that reason. It would be non-trivial, but logical, to set up something similar to what Banktivity (formerly iBank) does with Mac and iOS. I really, really wish there was a document management system that followed that workflow (preferably, with Mac and Android support).
Pros: Continued OS X update support, no fears upgrading OSes, Mac-Windows cross-compatibility (Neat Desktop never did that), and supporting small businesses
Cons: More cost, tons of time testing rival solutions
For now, I’m going with “Plan A” and will be moving many objects around tonight and tomorrow to prepare for it. I hope at the least this will improve my paperless-office efficiency by co-locating my NeatDesk scanner next to my Mac. But I’m on my second NeatDesk after scanning thousands of documents (and business cards, etc) with the first.
I am going to conserve its life by scanning trade show business cards on my flatbed in groups, and I don’t plan on buying another one.
Hopefully, someone will soon implement a desktop-and-mobile solution that uses NSD and Bonjour to allow people to scan remotely (with mobile devices) and sync over LAN to a secure workstation for OCR and sorting. Without costing a fortune.
In conclusion… Hey, Neat, you’re in the pole position to deliver this! With all the data security topics of this era, some of us do want to rage against the cloud… and rightly so.
Update: Do not attempt to upgrade to macOS Sierra if you are still using Neat Desktop. See comment(s) below for details.
Not a Mac user but just last night my Neat Desktop Software started to complain that I need to log in in order to sync. Also tried to sign-in on their web site and was told I need to pay for support. Many many complaints about their support. Your article is the only thing I could find regarding the announcement. The company, at the very least, should have offered to archive the last supported version for those of us that don’t hold the Cloud and the answer to all problems. I also think that the sync message that keeps showing up is meant to drive us to pay them money and go to the Cloud.
Hope someone will figure out how to stop the stupid message.
I upgraded to Sierra and am sad that I did. It totally trashed my Neat Desk software so then I decided what the heck and “rented” their web based software. It is HORRIBLE. I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours I have spent trying to make it work. I am not working, but it is slow and sometimes the scan doesn’t produce an image, but just the information.
Then I cannot scan over maybe 10 pages of a combined without it going into la la land.
I have contacted support for numerous issues and they are clueless. They send me back a link to the support page that doesn’t match anything I asked. Or they answer the question by telling me to reinstall the drivers and software which doesn’t work at all. And, when I call I get an East Indian who is reading from her PC and telling me to do all the things I have already done that didn’t work.
My old job was Project Manager for Computing development and I can tell you if any of my programmers/testers would have implemented this piece of crap software I would have fired them on the spot.
All I get from Tech Support is “I apologize for that”… and the just keep saying that until you want to spring across the line and strangle them. As you can tell I’m really really frustrated and unhappy that they took a really good system and trashed it like this.
can someone clarify how exactly sierra wrecked the software? does it stop you from using it or it just wiped out your storage or what
I use it with Sierra. It only wipes out items already in there if you try to Combine two or more receipts, and it crashes. In that case, it loses (totally) all the scans except the primary one. This has been a major issue for me so I just don’t combine anymore. My neatfile is pretty huge, and that could also be an issue (7GB single file). Also, cropping tends to crash regularly (75% of time) so I don’t do that either in Sierra.
Second, the scanner button no longer works, even with driver reloaded, so I have to use the scanner icon (or quick key) to scan. And it won’t let me scan another page until it’s almost done processing. Previously on PC version, I could scan as fast as it would feed (Neat portable scanner) and just wait for the processing to catch up. Now it is painfully slow.
Additionally, some things don’t work – like multi-page scanning and decent recognition of the info on the receipt (this is much better on the old PC version). I also ended up getting the “Lite” cloud version so I could scan multiple receipts faster. It’s not much better in recognition but at least I can scan one after another.
Note that the Cloud version shows the folders in a different order than what is on your desktop, but they are all there.
I almost got a cheap PC ($250) and used the old PC desktop version as standalone to save the $80/yr cloud fee, but for now this seems to work going between the two (cloud and Mac) and synching.
Wow I must have gotten Lucky I’m Using Mojave and still have the Neat Legacy Software and It is working just fine. But Now that you say that I should start thinking about Switching to Something else before it stops working.
I think it’s time we worked together to create a large system that could integrate with all point-of-sale devices and just email you all receipts for purchases. Seems like it wouldn’t be that challenging at point.
I agree with @Christopher as far as “be careful what you wish for.” And also, just because the POS systems ~could~ integrate with such a system, that doesn’t mean that they ~would~. Case in point is disqus.com as a central login for comment sites like this one. When I first signed up with a disqus user ID, I thought, great, I won’t have to come up with a user ID and password for all these sites that I interact with, I’ll just be able to use my one ID everywhere. No such luck. Some want to sync with Facebook account, or Twitter, Google+, etc. Very disappointing. I wouldn’t ever wait for anything that is going to be centralized that’s going to make it easier for us, the end users, because that’s not what companies are in business to do.
@Daniel – Be careful what you wish for. The moment such a system exists, there’s one organization in particular that would be interested in following (and scrutinizing) your every move, purchase, and transaction.
@Bud – This is partially why I emphasized the Mac version a lot more. The PC version relies much more heavily on serial numbers. Your Neat Desk or scanner should have come with one.
If you can’t find it, contact Neat warranty, since this is basically a warranty issue. My hope is that they are going to be more lax on the login/serial issues related to Neat Desktop now that it has become abandonware.
Great post! I too read the notification on the support page sounding the alarm on no more support for the desktop client. I have at least 3 years of data stored up. For me that is the real issue, when will I lose access to my data when the app no longer works? Looking for alternatives is becoming a priority and one I can export what I have filed away to. I was going to try the cloud offering but in checking I can’t tell where the cloud is (AWS, Google, AZURE, Russia) there is just no information. Then the lack of corporate information, you have to go to Bloomberg and facebook just to get a clue. The clincher are employee reviews on Glassdoor. They are not good and have a common theme. NEAT would be possibly be a great acquisition for Evernote, or Microsoft as part of office. But for now I feel compelled to move to another platform. The question is how do I take what I have with me?
@Dave – Neat Desktop stores documents inside the container folder as indexed PDF files. If Neat Desktop ever stops working, you can just upload those PDF files individually into a new document management system.
Since the files are indexed, you should be able to search through them completely, the OCR content is stored in the PDF too.
The only thing you might lose access to is the hierarchy view, so it would take some time to resort folders/containers in the new doc management system… but that is why I encourage people backup their system before doing an OS upgrade. You can then fall back and make that migration, should Neat Desktop stop working with a future Mac/Windows OS release.
Great post, thank you. So are you saying I can go into my ND folder and open files, save them as something else, then move them if they are not PDF? I don’t have their proprietary extension at my finger tips, so can’t post it here. I run Win10.
@Dave: – Thanks for the response but don’t understand the use of the serial number to get rid of the messages to sync. For those of you that have the same problem, their support site points you to the tools menu to turn the sync off. The latest version of the software doesn’t have such an option.
@Bud – Two different issues there. Are you using the latest Neat Desktop app, or the latest Neat app? The two are different.
If you “upgraded” to the new Neat app (that isn’t Neat Desktop – it’s their cloud app), it will ask for a Neat login to use Neat Cloud services. That’s the wrong app, you need to download and reinstall Neat Desktop from the links at the top of this article.
If you are using the Neat Desktop app, and it’s asking for a product key, you need to contact Neat customer service or warranty support. Provide them your Neat scanner’s serial number, and ask for a product key to be issued.
Christopher – I am using the latest version of the Desktop version. I have never used the cloud or the cloud app. As of the end of May the Desktop version, when opening and off and on while scanning and reading, will pop up the message “SIGN IN TO INITIATE SYNC”. You click “cancel” several times and the message goes away. It then pops up at random times. There doc’s for Windows says there is an option under “tools” to disable sync thus I presume disabling the message. Unfortunately there is no option in the latest Desktop version (5.7.1_474)
Close Neat. Run the Neat Support Center exe (Start Menu, under Neat folder), Advanced tab, click Disable Sync. Run Neat.
@Bud – It appears they added a nag mode to the final Windows version. The option to disable sync may be a registry key… so it may be possible to disable the nags in the final build.
Probably the easiest route would be to install the next to last version. I might be able to recover it, but I’d need the full build number of the next-to-last version to recover it.
If anyone has a Neat Desktop install with cloud sync disabled, I could probably A/B compare my way through their registry to hack together a .reg file that would kill the upgrade/sync nags.
Thankfully, none of this applies to the Mac build, including the “final” El Capitan beta.
Chris… FYI you can reconstruct the version-based download URLs by poking around at http://www.archive.org.
Also: I just got this in the update log. Update hangs on my machine, naturally, but at least we got the version history.
Starting the update
Registry reports Neat version 22.214.171.124
Registry reports Neat is installed in C:\Program Files (x86)\Neat
Checking that user is an admin
Checking if 126.96.36.199 is a compatible version
Checking against version 188.8.131.52
Checking against version 184.108.40.206
Checking against version 220.127.116.11
Checking against version 18.104.22.168
Checking against version 22.214.171.124
Checking against version 126.96.36.199
Checking against version 188.8.131.52
Checking against version 184.108.40.206
Checking against version 220.127.116.11
Checking against version 18.104.22.168
Checking against version 22.214.171.124
Checking against version 126.96.36.199
Checking against version 188.8.131.52
Checking against version 184.108.40.206
Checking against version 220.127.116.114
Checking against version 18.104.22.168
Checking against version 22.214.171.124
Checking against version 126.96.36.199
Checking against version 188.8.131.52
Checking against version 184.108.40.2063
Checking against version 220.127.116.11
Checking against version 18.104.22.168
Checking against version 22.214.171.124
Checking against version 126.96.36.1994
Registry reports .NET 4 Install value is 1
Registry reports .NET 4 Release value is 394802
Checking for running executables.
There’s a response to this on their FAQ, it says to use the username/password you created when you registered the scanner to sign in, and the message will go away.
You are probably right about nag mode. Have been searching for the scanned PDF/Images and can’t find them. Almost leads me to believe they are stored in the database. May be the only way to get them out is to export each PDF so you can load it into another package if Neatworks ever stops working. I am a windows user (windows 10). If anyone has information on getting the data out and backing it up for that rainy day I would appreciate it.
The PDFs are stored in the Neat Library. Each file has a GUID assigned. You won’t be able to recover the folders if you access the raw files directly… but the notes and other items you have assigned to the PDFs are stored inside the files themselves. Any capable importation software will be able to intake those taxonomies.
The easiest way to export is to always have a full system backup image (one with NeatWorks/Neat Desktop working). Then manually export from inside Neat to folders that represent your hierarchy. Finally, import each folder of PDFs into the new doc management software.
Mariner Software let me know that Paperless 3 is due out later this year, and they appear to be targeting Neat Desktop refugees with the new version.
Glad to have found this site. I felt like I was the only one out in the cold. Glad to see it is not only me that is unhappy. Well not glad exactly, but I think you know what I mean. I hate what Neat has done. I have been a Neat user on Windows for many years and had just recently installed on Mac because it was so buggy on Windows. I can’t stand the original syncing piece of the Neatdesk version and the new version is just horrendous. Any value the old syncing option even provided is completely gone w/ the new version. Support talked me into upgrading insisting that I would be a lot happier with the cloud software. But its worthless. I paid for the subscription this year so that I can work on getting my data back into my old desk software. I did a huge batch scan post upgrade to test it out. But truly at this point I am almost ready to dump Neat altogether. I will have to keep an eye on Paperless. I have high hopes that I can get back to a useful product again.
Ditto!!!!!!! I am so POed about the crap cloud version of Neat! I’ve also used it for years, and now am trying to export my info for taxes. What a joke.
I am also having problems with NEAT software! Last June I was “tricked” into buying a new scanner because of the flakey way NEAT worked (or rather didn’t work) with Mac OS Sierra. The new scanner didn’t solve the problem. The software continually closes down right after starting up. In December 2016, after multiple calls to NEAT customer support I was deceived into buying the cloud software for the MAC. Still having problems and having made additional contacts with customer support they finally admitted to me that the new software was not even compatible with the latest MAC operating system. What a way to treat customers!
Because of the age of my MAC computer I recently purchased a new PC (with i7 processor) and asked NEAT to give me the download link for the PC version of their software. I soon found that the 6 file cabinets I had in the MAC were not available in the PC version. I am now waiting for Customer “Support” to send information on how I can migrate my indexed files from the flakey MAC system to the supposedly stable PC cloud version. I don’t know how they are going to advise me yet, because I can’t keep the MAC version open long enough (before crashing) to do anything.
While the NEAT business plan may have been “ingeneous,” its execution was very poor and the deception used has been deplorable. I will be happy to get my files migrated to my PC and stored in a safe place so I can migrate them to a more reliable platform with a company having more business acumen and customer support reliability and honesty. I do NOT want my financial and sensitive documents stored in a cloud, let alone with a company that has already exhibited so much incompetence in executing plans.
Most document management solutions are not cross-compatible between Mac and Windows. Same problem with Paperless and other solutions. It is due to all these document management systems tying a SQL database to raw file locations – and Mac/Windows differ on file location hierarchies.
To migrate from Neat for Mac, to Neat for Windows, you need to manually drag-and-drop each cabinet of documents into a separate folder on the Desktop. Then, copy those folders (which should be full of PDFs) over to your PC. Finally, drag and drop the folders onto Neat for Windows.
You can also use a similar process to migrate away from legacy Neat Desktop. I’m afraid you won’t get any tech support from Neat… at this point, they are only assisting people with migrating to their Neat Cloud product.
I have had nothing but issues with my Neat system … I have had TWO scanners and now I am totally done with their lackluster software for Mac. Thank you SO MUCH for this article and pointers on how to get as far away from NEAT as possible. I literally have 1000s of scans that have to be moved and kept organized … right now this is done via folder structure in Neat. So, it’s going to be painful, but will give this a try – one folder at a time, going Paperless. Unless, of course, you have a better suggestion.
Just wanted to follow up on the “nags to sync”. I submitted a ticked to NEAT and this morning they answered. They admitted to making an error. This morning I opened NEAT and answer the sync messages and it now appears to have gone away. No “nagging” thus far.
Have also downloaded a copy of File Center. Does work with the NEAT Desktop scanner with a little adjustment. Only thing I have found is that the pages don’t get resorted by File Center so them come in in pars if you are using duplex. 3-4 1-2 if you are scanning a two page double sided doc. You can re-arrange them manually. Will contact File Center to see if there is a way to correct this when scanning. May wait and try Paperless 3.
Neat has issued a statement about the log-in nags. They blame it on a cloud-side change and say it wasn’t intended, and that it has been fixed:
Worth mentioning that there’s no clarification on a final OS X bug fix release, or if the El Capitan version will ever exit beta. Way to avoid the tough questions, Neat.
Sadly Neat doesn’t realize that they will be loosing many customers in this transition to Cloud only products. I too can not or I should say, do not feel comfortable uploading sensitive information to a cloud…any cloud. I don’t only use Neat software for categorizing receipts but I also use it for my real estate business. With other people’s sensitive information it’s my license that’s on the line since the board won’t cared how I got hacked so Cloud based services are a no-go for me. I agree with you and would be willing to pay for the software separate from the hardware even though in my case it’s a hard pill to swallow since I only bought that less than 2 yrs ago and now the $400 investment seems wasted.
You mentioned that it saved the files as PDFs. Is that still the case if you saved it under their nbak file system? BTW thanks for linking to those older versions, it was a life saver.
I haven’t used NBAK personally, what I do is backup the whole Neat Mac filesystem via Time Machine, which incrementally backs up the internal bundle changes (Neat for Mac containers are just a huge/hidden folder).
In the worst-worst case you could just reinstall Neat Desktop, restore the NBAK file, and then drag-and-drop the documents out as PDFs. Internally it’s all PDF no matter what, that’s probably the easiest way of exporting – while maintaining folder hierarchy.
So i’m trying to salvage my parents computer, my mom has parkinsons and her mind is all but gone, i didn’t know the software wouldn’t work with updated OS X, so now i have no idea what email they used, nothing is working for logging in, if i downgrade OS X will the software work without the email address prompt? Also, the link you gave for the el capitan beta seems to be dead, does anyone have a link to it? tips?
I’m so furious i talked them into spending the money on this thing now
Chris, I agree, great post! I have been a user of the Neat desktop application (on the Mac) for 10 years. I have nearly 10,000 documents scanned using it. Eight months’ ago I was forced to upgrade my (Neat) scanner to the ‘latest model’. My new scanner looks and feels just like the old one, but now it has a different model number. I have a nasty feeling that this was an unnecessary upgrade just to force me to spend some money with Neat. However, I can’t prove that. However, the latest software and the scanner driver do NOT play well with El Capitan. The software crashes regularly. The scanner cannot be found, etc. I could go on (and on)!
However, this is fundamentally good software. I don’t understand why Neat would suddenly give up on it? Neat are walking away from a loyal customer base for those looking for cloud storage. I am sorry, but I just don’t see the market for that? Why wouldn’t users just use Dropbox, iCloud, Tresorit, etc to store their Neat documents?
But the very worst part is that Neat are leaving their loyal customers in the lurch. The current software (Windows (apparently) and Mac) is just not robust. It just feels like they are giving up?
Oh, and my scanner that I expected to give me another 10 years’ of service, is just 8 months old!
Wow, great post. Came across this thinking that I was just not finding the correct way to upgrade my software. I was pushed to this because like the prior post buy Mark Pincott, I was needing a new scanner. Not because mine was bad, but because it was the wrong model number. I saw the obvious cash grab and have been using my own version of your Plan A to avoid getting a new scanner. I had no idea they were dumping the software support. Very disappointing. I really want to find my own version of a Plan B. What do you thing of just going with something like the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100, or the Doxie One? Good scanners, I’m sure but are the software suites not at all comparable? I want to find something that I can go to that is likely to keep getting support and import all of my Neat scans into. Again, thanks for the article. Kept me from taking the plunge and buying a new version of the Neat scanner.
@Chris Weddle – Personally I found an Epson WF-3620 to be better than the Neat Desk, and a heck of a lot cheaper. The ADF is very fast, and (with the latest Epson firmware), it works with (legacy) Neat Desktop over the network perfectly.
I’m holding out hope that Paperless 3 is cross-platform (so I can just copy my entire library to a Windows PC when traveling), then I’ll just migrate to that when it ships.
To keep Legacy Software working even as Apple upgrades Mac OS X past 10.11, I install Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server 10.6 each its its own virtual machine in Parallels Desktop, hosted on a Mac running the latest Mac OS X [currently 10.11 El Capitan].
I link shared folders on my Mac Host on the Virtual Machines so that their output is immediately accessible to the rest of my Mac – and even various versions of Windows in their own virtual machines [I use Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 10 simultaneously]
I suppose this way, Neat Desktop can live forever in a Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 Virtual Machine. Essentially it is frozen in time but completely usable.
Does the UI lag on Neat Desktop inside VMWare? How does the USB work with, say, a Neat Desk?
Assuming Neat Desk or a USB scanner can pass-through and communicate properly with the VM, and it doesn’t lag like crazy… running Neat inside VMWare might be an ideal solution.
I bought Neat Desktop for my home about 5 years ago and never used it much because the scanner kept jamming. I probably should have taken it back. Spent too much money on it to let it collect dust.
But, I happened to have a ScanSnap ix500 at the office that I love but never used it with Neat software. Well, fast forward to I just went through an IRS audit. I brought the ScanSnap home, hooked it up to my Neat Desktop Software and I’ve fallen in love. Wow! Neat/ScanSnap was a life saver! The ScanSnap scanner works so much better than the Neat scanner.
After scanning thousands of receipts and important docs, I was not a happy camper to discover that Neat was no longer going to offer the Neat Desktop software. What a mistake. I, like so many others, refuse to use the Cloud for sensitive documents. Besides, I don’t want to get sucked into the monthly fee. I’d rather purchase software and then pay to upgrade when I’m ready.
So, I did some more research and found out that the ScanSnap has a receipt software that comes with the software package. It has some pretty cool features. So, transitioning to the ScanSnap receipts software will be my “Plan B” when I can’t use Neat anymore.
1. I am a Mac user (El Capitan). I’m using Neat 4.1. Should I upgrade? Do I lose functionality if I do?
2. With Neat 4.1, there isn’t an easy way to do backups. I do have an old Time Machine collecting dust at the office. Maybe I should hook it up.
Thanks for your advice. And for the great post!
1. No, you shouldn’t lose any features. But many are having issues with the Neat Desk scanner itself, even with the final El Capitan version. These don’t seem to be a problem if you are using the SnapScan. I would definitely upgrade, as v4.1 is possibly unstable, it was meant for a much older OS X version.
2. Time Machine is by far the easiest way to back up, especially since Neat Desktop uses OS X containers – so the backups will be incremental, rather than re-backing up the entire file with each small change.
Great article! I too am one of the Mac users who feel abandoned by Neat after purchasing a very expensive scanner only to have the company drop it’s support for their product without ever fixing it. Their website still says they are working on a final release of Neat for Mac, but it has been months and we are still stuck with a buggy beta version of it’s software. I like many here refuse to pay a monthly fee to store my receipts in the cloud. It is so seldom that I would ever need to access something of this nature when I’m away from home/office. If I did need to, I would use something drop box or the numerous other cloud based storage that is already out there and free.
Neat, if you are watching this site, please know that you are leaving a portion of your loyal customer base by the wayside. If Cloud based services are your main goal, then at least provide a paid desktop software for the rest….and one that actually works. Thanks.
THANK YOU for these links. I just had to wipe my laptop and had moved my database to an external for storage not realizing that I could no longer download the software as easily as before and just re-import. You have saved me SUCH TROUBLE! Thank you thank you thank you! (i also love neat and have used it since 2010 when I bought my neat scanner and have been using the same device ever since – it is a great product)
Overall I’m also disappointed with Neat’s decision on desktop vs cloud software. First, I don’t want my documents stored in the cloud. I suppose I would be able to store them there and then painfully export each one to a desktop folder as a PDF (did you ever notice that there’s not even an “export” toolbar button available?!). But that’s kind of a pain.
Also, I’ve been pushing Neat to develop a more robust data architecture for several years that would be able to accommodate new data types, particularly checks. How can you have a financial system that can scan receipts and invoices and business cards but not checks? I don’t get it! And now they do make that available, but only in the cloud version. That’s just mean.
So yeah, it’s ok software, I don’t think the OCR is any great shakes (I always have a lot of editing to do), some user interface issues like the crop borders, can’t type dates with 4-digit year, and other stupid quirky things, and did I mention that there’s no export button on the toolbar?!).
But it basically does what I need it to do, which is be a compact desktop scanner. Because I am mostly scanning checks and other documents, I actually do NOT use the OCR engine or any of the intelligence built into the app. If it could process checks, I would have been very happy 5 years ago. Now, too jaded. 🙂
Just found your website this morning as a search for ‘Please sign in to initiate sync’. After a week of being unable to access my NEAT on my PC, I finally got it back yesterday (after buying their basic support plan-but I don’t think that had anything to do with it).
Regardless, I don’t want my sensitive information floating around out there in the cloud, so I have a question for you: Is there a way to use the NEAT program with a printer/scanner that I buy elsewhere, and ditch the NEAT?
(I loved my NEAT and think it was tacky of the company to abandon us after we became so dependent on it).
This article is on point and well done. I thank you for it. It has allowed me to see I am not alone in the way I feel Neat has treated me (all of us desktop users). Nonetheless, I had been searching for 3rd party software that could run the Neat scanners, and that is how I found your site. It is a shame we the consumers are left out on the cold. Because the scanner came with decent software, was the only reason why I purchase more than one scanner. Now it has proven to had been a mistake.
Thank you for voicing how we feel. Perhaps I should just cut my losses and tell Neat good-bye.
Great post. Thanks for the additional insight as to Neat’s lame idea for moving on. I’ve used their products for about 8 years now. First on the PC and now on the Mac. I get many of these comments regarding not wanting their data on the cloud. For me, I’m less concerned about that (maybe I should be…).
The last few months have been very frustrating because their sync process on the 4.5 desktop version just stopped working. I’ve got several years of archived receipts, and for the last year, I’ve now realized, their cloud has not successfully archived my data. My desktop is fine, but if I’m going to continue to have intermittent issues as I upgrade OSX, I can only imagine this is a ticking time bomb (and I don’t have another Mac laying around that I can install Mountain Lion on or something…plus I need to scan on the road when I travel to keep my weekends sane).
Yesterday, I spent about 4 hours on with their “support” team. Trying to get the sync to work. Trying to get the cloud up to date with my desktop. The support person failed to make it happen. The only alternative I was given was to export several thousand receipts (most of what I use the software for) to PDFs and then import them into the Cloud version. What a joke. First, the process of import is not only slow, it just stops working after a while! I started a folder with 600 items in it yesterday afternoon. It’s only on 175 now…and I’m not even sure if it is still working (in the background). In addition, ALL of the translated data is GONE. The fields are completely reset thanks the fact that it started from SCRATCH as if I just scanned the stuff in the first place.
Then there are my concerns about the functionality of the Cloud based product. I feel like I just went from Microsoft Word to Notepad. What a joke! No way to add/delete columns (at least it isn’t intuitive), no way to re-analyze a scan, no more selecting multiple items for update (like category, etc).
And the worst is how impossible they’ve made it to transition my data IF I want to do it. I completely agree with your assessment that they’ve really blown it. Major steps back in capability. Forcing people onto a platform that they are uncomfortable with. And a non-existent upgrade path. I’m going to LOSE a lot of data if I go through with this “port”.
Finally upgraded my main workhorse to Sierra. I can see why Neat decided to pull the plug.
Neat for Mac may appear to run on Sierra, but you start getting NS errors right from launch. The OCR and document import processes totally crash. The frontend makes it look like everything’s processing properly, but the backend apps all choke, walling out one CPU core.
(You can observe this in top or Activity Monitor, NSDK-i386 is the process and it just hangs at 99% CPU).
And then… it crashes.
So, don’t upgrade to macOS Sierra unless/until you migrate away from Neat. Fortunately my MacPro3,1 was abandoned by Sierra (despite working fine via a simple GPU upgrade – PCIe cards are so un-Apple these days, sigh).
So my personal plan for now is to just leave the Mac Pro on El Capitan and wait for other options (like Paperless 3) to debut.
I went so far as to install a VM with El Capitan and Neat, import my library, then upgrade the VM to Sierra to make sure everything still worked properly. It did, so I upgraded my primary desktop and tossed the VM. Things generally work, but as you’ve pointed out the application just crashes randomly, a LOT more than it used to…. I’m looking to bolt as soon as I have time to figure out how to migrate everything to a new system. I can’t use cloud-based solutions for security reasons as many others have pointed out, and need something robust – I went completely paperless a few years ago, including all history for the last ~15 years.
The other bug I’ve seen for several of the last patches in OSX is that when you import multiple documents (e.g. from several PDF files on your desktop), then combine them to a single document in Neat, everything looks fine, but if you quit and restart Neat, it only keeps the first page of the combined document. I found this after losing several months worth of expense report receipts! Support was no help; they filed a bug report which will now likely never be fixed, but that was it after ~4 hours on the phone with them. My workaround is to combine the imported documents, export the newly combined document to a PDF, delete it, then re-import the freshly exported single PDF. That seems to keep the multiple pages. What a hassle…. and it sure doesn’t build confidence that my data is safe and secure. I constantly worry that the analyzer or indexer is going to just lose stuff at random. 🙁
After years of using Neat desktop, with all of my business and personal receipts scanned, two days ago I discovered that the legacy app has a bug that prevents me from seeing past page 1 on multi-page receipts (ie bank statements)
What is worse, this bug affected the last 8 months of receipts.
Neat Support admitted this is a bug, that there will be no further updates to the software, and that I’ve lost access to 8 months of receipts.
End of story for Neat for me – and it should be for all other Neat users.
Now I’m looking for a replacement application.
The Neat software had the right features, but I can’t find a replacement. Any thoughts?
I found the same problem and they filed a bug report, but nothing else has been done about it. My workaround:
1) import multiple individual files from PDFs I’ve scanned with camscanner
2) combine to a single document in Neat
3) EXPORT that single document to a new PDF on the desktop
4) DELETE the single document from Neat
5) IMPORT the freshly exported PDF from the desktop back into Neat
If you quit or Neat crashes between steps 3 & 5, you’ll lose the data. Sure doesn’t build confidence in the safety of my data!!!
I and the rest of the members of my company have been using Neat Desktop for years. We also have the cloud version, and have the Desktop version syncing to the cloud account. Several days ago, the Desktop version stopped syncing to our cloud account.
For us this is a critical event in that we work on a global basis, and while in countries such as China, we cannot access the cloud. Also, while in China and many other countries, we don’t want to sync to the cloud since this opens us up to hackers. And I can tell you that this is a real threat.
By using the Desktop version but with the syncing function not turned on, we were able to keep up to date with our receipts. Then when we got back to the States we were able to sync to the cloud.
Discontinuing the Desktop version and only providing a cloud version, is shortsighted and for us dangerous. And for Neat, it is stupid in that they are forgetting the customer and their needs. Clearly in this case, they have not thought out all of the ramifications, both short and long term, for themselves and their customers.
I used to be the head of high tech lending for a major national association bank, including handling loan workouts. In one case, a company took this similar path and didn’t think out all of the security functions which they could have taken into consideration if they had talk to the customer. This failure led to the government recommending that everyone drop the software including all of the subcontractors that worked with the government.
But for now, I need to “Decide and Act” and find another Windows Desktop alternative. Any suggestions?
Misery loves company. I started having issues last week with the software and thought an uninstall / reinstall might work. When I went to download the file was when I discovered it was now a cloud only solution. Just no. I want my documents local and with in my control. I archive off past years and have a backup service. This signifies that Neat has no concern for home / small business users.
I’ve just now started the search for an alternate.
This also happened with my home financial software earlier this year.
Great post – I’m also a huge fan of the desktop software. I started with neat mobile on windows, went to neat desk and now use neat connect. I still have all three scanners, but rely mostly on the connect at home, and mobile while on travel. I’m managing an account of my own as well as a separate Neat cloud account for my father-in-law. The neat cloud and neat connect allows him to scan receipts and bills which I can easily pull down and access via the neat cloud with my desktop software signed into his account.
I’m actually running both the neat desk version on OS X 10.12 and the cloud software side by side on my mac book pro with both accounts. The cloud based software allows me to see whats in the cloud, while the desktop software allows me to better manipulate the receipts and data, at least while the synch works. That has been the primary problem.
The neat cloud software, however, is slow, poor, and has lost functionality. I can no longer combine receipts, delete pages from receipts, or duplicate receipts. These are functions I routinely use to manage my archives. Even zooming in to view receipts on the cloud based software is difficult to manage and view. The cloud synch in the desktop software, while not perfect, provides a much quicker process. I can synch/pull down receipts and documents from the neat cloud, then review/update and file those in the desktop software and synch the changes back to the cloud.
My problem has been synch errors which essentially lock out the synch process. There is no way to recover without contacting customer support, and it usually involves building a new local library. My library is currently over 20GB which takes quite a bit of time to rebuild. Although all the support reps state no support for the legacy software, after checking my account and status I’ve still been able to get support. It gets even more challenging when I’m trying to resolve problems on both accounts – and explain that I’m running both legacy and current software platforms. Usually there’s something in the synch log which corrupts the process and locks out the synch. Although I can reset the synch log locally (I’ll post how to do that at the bottom), it doesn’t seem to clear the error in the cloud which causes the synch to error out in the first place.
To reset the synch in the legacy MAC desktop software, with the software open and preferably logged into the cloud account, press CTRL-SHIFT-R-S all at once. You’ll be prompted to clear all synch data, and the software will shut down when you confirm the selection. Then when you log back in you’ll have to log back into the cloud account, at which time it will begin synching again.
This process seems to work to get the process moving again, but again, it doesn’t appear to fix the problem which created the error to begin with. Even going back through the cloud to delete/remove or change receipts which may be causing the fault doesn’t seem to help as the synch changes are kept serially. I believe tech support is able to reset the cloud side to an initial synch which then just replicates the cloud to the desktop library. It would certainly be helpful if Neat provided that option by logging into your cloud account online.
I’ve provided significant feedback to Neat through their tech support as to why I’m not happy with the current cloud based solution. Not that I’m seeing any progress in that area.
Finally, while I’ve been continuing to run the neat desk (ver 4.5.0) under OS X Sierra 10.12, other than the synch problems I’ve not had too many other issues. Actually I’ve had the cloud based software (ver 188.8.131.52) shut down more often, but I just open it back up and it works fine. The only issue I’ve seen is that the ability to reorganize PDF pages within a single receipt from the table view no longer works. While before you were able to select the page to view in the bookmarks to the right, you can no longer select them or move them. In fact the only way to view pages after 1 is to actually open the receipt/document and flip through the pages.
Hope this helps, and if anyone out there has any other assistance to share regarding legacy synch issues, I’m open to suggestions.
Great article and thanks for doing this… Finally, someone else is going through the same pains as I with Neat. Bought the basic support package just to tell me yes the desktop doesn’t work. 30 days after I have given them the dump, the log and all necessary data… still no answer from Neat… All I get is the rhetoric. Just bought two Neat desktops from Staples to give to my sons as they need to get their bills organized. This is not the way you treat your customers or clients….
THIS IS THE END OF NEAT. Because they are not a trusted source ….Still looking for an alternative!!!
History does repeat it’s self, Anyone remember PaperPort? I lost a lot of old documents locked into a format that nothing would open.
I did your Plan A for awhile but time moves on and it breaks down and becomes impossible to maintain. All you manage to do is get more documents stored that you will possibly lose access to.
I didn’t get pulled in to the Neat world. I learned to avoid App’s that store the files into one database like Apple’s current Photos App.
I blame this all on Adobe for pushing this Cloud idea and making people pay every month and never really own your software.
Thanks for the great resource for Neat Desktop users! I’m on OS X 10.12 and using the ancient 4.1 software, but with a Fujitsu Snapscan S1500M and not really hitting any new issues from recent OS X upgrades. Had to abandon their scanner hardware years ago after every document was skewed left or right by a bit due to the sloppy paper feed (but I still have the scanner if anyone needs an extra).
All my issues are with the quirks in the software, such as the very slow OCR speeds. But these are minor because I am not a heavy user of the product. I was just curious why the software had not offered to updated itself like most modern Mac apps do.
Since I am a software engineer, I am tempted to start an open source replacement project, although replicating all the functionality would be a huge undertaking. I am curious what features are most valuable to others, but in any case I suppose the first task is to reverse engineer the database schema of the NRMData.nrms file, which is thankfully a standard SQLite database. Then potentially the folder & document hierarchy could be recovered so we didn’t have to manually deal with the crazy PDF file names, perhaps easing the import process into Paperless or other alternatives that have a better future.
To follow-up on my own post, I ended up reading through the “Take Control of Your Paperless Office” ebook (at https://www.takecontrolbooks.com/paperless-office), and decided to go with DEVONThink Pro Office.
The integration with my Fujitsu Snapscan is seamless and the built-in OCR seems like a step up from Neat Desktop, at least in performance. However, I do not think it is tailored for tabulating receipts — it seems more for general purpose document management. Paperless might be better for receipts.
It just so happens that DEVON Technologies is having an anniversary sale (May 1-5), so it is a good time to buy. I have no other affiliation with them except as a satisfied customer.
I am also nearly done writing a script to extract & rename documents out of the original Neat Desktop SQLite database. The goal is to make it easy to drag-and-drop the resulting folder structures into tools like DEVONthink and Paperless. I will post again when it is ready on Github.
I have noticed a general theme with most of the comments regarding having documents in the cloud. I don’t want my documents in the cloud either but my reasons today are different than they were a couple of years ago. My original reasons were for document security (but that faded once I realized the futility of my aims), low latency access, and availability (no internet service means no document access). Now my reasons for the latter two; low latency access and availability. Both are still very important to me. However the first concern: Security, is no longer reasonable to fret about because my security has already been compromised by everyone else. It’s kind of like email. You don’t want spam so you don’t give your email address to anyone but close friends. A close friend has your address but he also has a really bad password so your address gets stolen when his machine (or address book in the cloud) gets compromised. The security is only as good as the weakest link in the chain, your good buddy who doesn’t think having a complex password with a number, a capital letter, and non standard characters, that’s at least 10 characters long, is necessary. So because of their carelessness YOU become the victim.
Most people do not realize that whether they like it or not, they are already in the cloud. A majority of businesses have already shifted their customers’ accounts to the cloud in some way, shape, or form. Local businesses such as Electric Companies, Water Companies, Cable Companies, Internet Providers, Local Banks, Schools, Retail stores, and many, many more are all in the cloud.
They were forced to do so in order to compete with similar businesses in their area of focus. So even if you aren’t storing your documents in the cloud, many of the businesses that maintain your account data are. So you are already in the cloud whether you like it or not. You had no choice in this matter. They decided for you. Since they all must comply with local and national laws regarding maintaining your privacy and protecting your personal information, for them, it’s better to turn over the responsibility for storage and security to a company whose full time job is just that or has someone on their staff that spends their entire day working on and thinking about network and data security. Most cloud providers have someone whose job is to secure the network and data resources. So believing you are safe because you keep all your documents on your own personal computer is erroneous.
I had an interesting conversation with a partner in a company that provides services for a well known social network and he said. It’s over. They already know everything about you and have for more than ten years.
Another interesting conversation I had was with a temp employee who was working for a major bank scanning Mortgage Loan Documents. (This bank is huge and you’ll know who they are because they are so big). He indicated that he was scanning loan documents and uploading them to a storage site where clerks across the ocean in India would verify and correct and/or do any required manual data entry on the documents so they could all be digitized. Just imagine going to a country where the average salary is $4,000.00 a year and finding a struggling clerk and handing them a USB drive and saying: “If you can grab me a copy of all the data files you process, I will give you $50,000. This would be too tempting for someone who was vulnerable and the truth is this has already happened in the United States with server administrators or individuals who have access to a server admins credentials.
See: “Who Profits From Spam, Surprise” http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3078642/
Let’s suppose though that you are on a Mac and are diligent and decide to place some documents in the cloud but do so using an encrypted .dmg file. You create the file. Password protect it. Then copy it to the cloud. When you open it in the cloud you are prompted for your password, the disk image opens on your Mac and you are able to access your documents knowing that no one else can read them in transit because not only is the .dmg encrypted the connection is too. (To a small extent). In this case you would still be relying on and trusting that the company that created the technology didn’t have some back door keys they keep and also provide to your government. While we are told the encryption is secure, how do we know for sure? We have to trust them. The reality being that if they did give additional keys to law enforcement or government, do you think they would admit it? Especially now when it’s really bad for business to admit such things.
So worrying about the cloud because of document security is probably pointless.
Now on to the bigger issue that concerns us all… What to use next or how to get the Neat Corporation to listen to it’s customers who want a desktop product to continue to be offered. As far as Neat Corp. goes, write them a letter to their corporate officers. They are listed on this page:
I would start with Michael Crincoli the president of the company but I would also send a copy to the other officers listed on the page. These are the guys that need to hear from you. This might be the only way to get the company to address your concerns.
As it is in the world leaders always emerge and soon acquire smaller players and sometimes competitors. I think we are a couple of years away from that happening in the consumer document management business sector. However, you might also want to send copies of the same letter to their competitors in this area. Doing so reminds them they are competing against other worthy companies and the other companies might just decide to create a product that does exactly what Neat Desktop Software does and not only that, they may design the software so that it will directly import the Neat Software database library file. So you win either way. That’s my two cents.
I have 4 years of receipts in Neat Desktop, each in their own Cabinet that I store on Dropbox. I’ve run Neat on 3 Macs since 2012 and it’s alway been a simple process of syncing Dropbox and installing Neat and pointing it at the Cabinets stored there. I bought it with the small bar scanner but eventually upgraded to the Scansnap S1300i which is great for Neat and a whole bunch of other uses (found box of old photo snapshots into iPhoto? – DONE!).
Neat has always given me reason to question their business practices. There was the shutting down of the forum a few years back when it became an echo chamber of complaints that they weren’t addressing. I signed up for the Cloud solution as some of the features seem attractive but I haven’t used them much and I really don’t like having everything in one giant library and a menu bar with maybe two options in it.
The final straw was when using the legacy desktop version, I would dump in a ton of receipts, analyze them and then go to clean them up. Normally I would go by Vendor and hit enter to go to the next entry but every time I tried that it would switch out from “text entry” mode to “highlighted item selection” and I would have to click on the next item’s vendor to make the next edit. I can’t say this was intentional on their part as a way to get people to move to the cloud software but there’s no way to see that interaction as a feature so at the very least it’s a work slowing bug and there would seem to be no chance of that getting fixed so I am getting out of Neat entirely.
I’ve tried Paperless once before and I don’t mind it. There are a few things that bug me in the UX but it’s better than Neat in many ways and more solidly a Mac app. Neither Neat or Paperless are REALLY good apps in that they make what should be a straightforward proposition too complicated. I work in TV/Film and the standard in the apps I use there (FCP, Premiere, AVID, Resolve, Fusion, AfterEffects) is much higher for operator efficiency and customizable workflow.
I did a quick check of the ScanSnap Receipts and it is straightforward and simple. It looks like a simple database app with a quickly sketched front end. I don’t know about committing to something that is clearly an afterthought for a company interested in pushing hardware. The data is stored in a database file in the library/app support folder as far as I could tell. I’ll give it a few more looks before I give up completely.
Paperless does offer a discount if you move from another solution to theirs. You have to email them for a code or something.
I have a pre-touchbar MacBookPro running ElCapitan and before I upgrade anything to Sierra I am going to have to get all the data out of the old Neat Cabinets into something I can move forward. Ugh!
Don’t suppose you have a link for my version MACOS Sierra Version 10.12.2?
Thank you for the article
No version of Neat Desktop works with macOS Sierra. Running Neat Desktop on Sierra can corrupt your imported documents. You need to install an older version of OS X onto a USB/Thunderbolt hard disk and use that to install the old version of Neat and export your documents.
Hi, I’ve been using Neat desktop on my computer, which recently was upgraded to Sierra. It does occasionally crash, but other than that it seems to work fine.
I had been experiencing problems with my Neat scanner for some time, but I also use SnapScan (which I prefer)
My desktop quit syncing, however. I also drag copies from the Neat folders when it is open, into dropbox and on my HD. I am ready to cancel cloud as it’s so difficult to use …can’t make my own categories, nor get a decent report. I detest using cloud.
Thank you for all of the information
So to be clear, Neat’s new cloud app does work fine with Sierra. The older versions of Neat have potential corruption issues when running on Sierra. Everything may appear fine… but the database corruption can happen without warning.
At a minimum, run Time Machine before and after each use. I highly suggest people move Neat to an El Capitan (or preferably, Yosemite) install on a USB/Thunderbolt/FireWire hard drive or SSD as soon as possible.
How can you determine if it’s corrupted? Does it remove the PDF’s from the library, or just not display them in the app? What a mess this is becoming….
Corruption can be random, because these document management software all use SQL/SQL-like databases, once the app has an OS-crashing error, corruption can range from missing entries to failing to open.
Bottom line, Neat officially says not to run legacy Neat Desktop on Sierra and based on my tests… I totally agree.
Christopher, just wanted to add my two cents based on personal horrors with Neat software and having read through some but not all of these posts: the Neat Cloud-Powered solution HAS been a problem for me on Sierra (and earlier) from day one!!! The cloud app crashes after 5 or 10 seconds, every time, since late 2016 — it is completely unusable for me. I’m now am only able to use the neat.com web app for basic maintenance and haven’t really scanned using the Neat Desktop hardware since January.
I became so frustrated with the hours of troubleshooting and horrendous Philippine outsourced tech support and three months of deaf ears from Corporate Customer Service in Philadelphia, that I finally lodged a Better Business Bureau complaint immediately after leaving two voice mails for The Neat Company President, Michael Crincoli. Miraculously, I received a personal e-mail response from Jeff Gove, VP Customer Operations within 2-days! We arranged to speak the following week and I had a lengthy 30-minute conversation with Jeff on March 20.
Long and the short of it, following our conversation, Jeff had the FAQ for Neat for Mac and Mac OS El Capitan and Sierra and updated (note 3/20 and 3/24 posts) to prominently highlight the app’s crashing issue. He said that a solution resolving the issue was in regression testing and would likely be released by the end of March. He also committed to dealing with the broader poor customer service issues.
Jeff appeared genuine in his concern and commitment to resolving this particular issue but now only time will tell as we are at the end of the month and I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of this automatic update to the Cloud-Powered app.
I wanted to thank you for such a good post. I’m kind of in the same boat as you but I’m looking for a neat type solution that allows me to scan using Windows, Mac, or iOS all the while syncing using Dropbox. I have a mac at home, a Windows box at work, and when I purchase things out and about, the only tool at my disposal is my iPhone. I don’t mind at all the cloud sync aspect. I’m currently web surfing hope to find the best solution for my needs. Thank you again for sharing your insights.
Ran into an issue trying to install on my Windows 10 Pro machine. Any help or suggestions?
Component SQL Server Compact 3.5 SP2 has failed to install with the following error message:
“Fatal error during installation. ”
The following components failed to install:
– SQL Server Compact 3.5 SP2
See the setup log file located at ‘C:\Users\Brett\AppData\Local\Temp\VSD460E.tmp\install.log’ for more information.
Windows 10 sometimes uses helpers to install older software not built for Windows 10. Have you tried installing the SQL Server Compact 3.5 SP2 runtime from Microsoft as a standalone installer first, and then re-running the Neat installer?
The resident expert on SQLCE (an excellent standalone database product now unfortunately discontinued by Microsoft) is Eric Ejlskov, better known as ErikEJ. His blog is here: http://erikej.blogspot.com/
What does the install log have to say? Any errors indicated?
From the Neat Desktop v5.7 application’s main screen:
Neat 5.7 is the fastest way to transform your business and personal receipts,
business cards, and documents into organized digital files that you can
easily store, search, secure and report on.
I’d like to propose a couple of minor edits:
Neat 5.7 is the slowest way to transform your business and personal
receipts, business cards, and documents into organized digital files that you
can—with much difficulty—store, search, secure and report on.
Aside from QuickBooks, I don’t think I’ve encountered a more poorly authored piece of software. In fact it’s worse, if that can be possible. It’s absolutely maddening.
So what’s the alternative to neat for mac?
Currently I have a two-step solution. I use an older Mac with Yosemite/El Capitan to scan documents using Neat. This gives me OCR’ed PDFs that I then send over the network to my MacBook with a drop box folder. I then catalog them in Mariner’s Paperless.
While Paperless today is not great for scanning, it is excellent for archival and sorting documents. The system works for me, I’m up to scanning 100 pages a day in my backlog.
Tried Paperless. Much to like but doesn’t let me edit fields in the list. (I’m used to entering the date, hitting tab, entering the vendor, hitting tab, etc.)
ScanSnap Receipts doesn’t let me edit multiple items.
Getting a little desperate here.
Personally I’d stick with Paperless. Mariner is working on Paperless 3 right now, which is a major rewrite. You might want to send feedback to Mariner asking for the feature… they have a very high/fast email response rate.
Mariner certainly sees the market opportunity with Neat’s departure.
Neat created a monopoly in the semi-premium offline document management market. It will take awhile for the other solutions to fill that void.
Thanks for the reviews of Paperless Juliet and Louis. I am trying to be patient waiting for the next Paperless version in order to start testing a new solution. I am disappointed that “Paperless’ OCR isn’t as good as Neat’s was.” but I already realized I was likely going to have to buy the Scansnap anyhow I just wasn’t happy with the other solutions of what to use in place of the Neat software. I have friends that Scansnap into Evernote but I wasn’t happy with that solution at all.
I unfortunately have been the “proud” of frequent database corruption issues that I don’t find out about until many months after their occurrence and crashes. I also went back to my old version that I had still installed and have stopped syncing online entirely, despite the fact that I paid for the year. Thus far its only crashing which I am thankful for but I need to start moving off Neat before something catastrophic happens. I am just thankful I stayed with my Neatdesk and I didn’t upgrade to the NeatConnect so I don’t have additional invested money in hardware that won’t be usable soon.
Anyone want to offer a suggestion on which Scansnap they have been happy with? There are so many versions that its a little confusing. I want something that works and doesn’t make my life harder by putting more money into hardware that doesn’t work well enough to stick with.
Thanks everyone for the great discussion and Christopher for creating this so we can help each other find a solution.
I bought the iX500 a while ago after I started having issues with Neat. (of course, that was after I bought a replacement Neat scanner, thinking I had a hardware issue, then learned it was a discontinued support issue…) It was much more expensive than the portable Neat scanner I had been using, but wowie wow wow… does it scan! If I could go back and add up all the frustrating minutes and hours I spent using the Neat scanner… Anyway, quality of life – worth it.
Now I’m out to replace the desktop software, which is why I am here. The Scansnap software is a bit scrimpy. I’m going to check out Paperless.
Neat… would have paid for a desktop subscription. Sad!
Hi, Chris. I’ve just struggled with the same issues, and have gone the Paperless direction.
Paperless’ OCR isn’t as good as Neat’s was. To work around that, I replaced my Neat Desktop Scanner (which was getting sort of cranky anyway, with misfeeds and bad scans now and again) with a Fujitsu SnapScan.
The SnapScan has its own quirks, but the driver includes the OCR and saves searchable PDFs. Paperless then imports those PDFs and allows you to search them.
The Fujitsu also came with a version of Abbyy and several other tools, which I haven’t even explored. It will also scan straight into a number of apps, including EverNote and Photos, as well as to a folder or Google Drive.
Since the SnapScan is making searchable PDFs, you could theoretically just use the file system, letting Spotlight do the searching. That actually seems to work surprisingly well. It did with Neat, too.
There’s a way to export from Neat Desktop and keep more of your metadata. You have to do it once per folder, so it is a little fiddly not to lose all your folder structure. (This did not used to be the case, but they “fixed” it.) Then you have PDFs that are easy to import into Paperless or anything.
This was not a cheap move – the Fujitsu scanner is expensive. OTOH, it does seem to be remarkably awesome, with improved paper handling and better color matching than the Neat Desk scanner. It’s also faster. Paperless is not free, but not expensive. There’s a “competitive upgrade” pricing for a few bucks off Paperless that doesn’t hurt, either. You might skip it and try the software Fujitsu bundles, too.
So far, it has worked well. And having a company who will actually respond to you when you have questions about the software is excellent, as will be ongoing support for future versions of Mac OS.
Glad to hear I’m not alone, and that Neat has made a real bummer of a support choice with this.
I’m not sure if this can be replicated by others, but I have a stable instance of Neat for Mac working in Sierra. My story: After I upgraded to Sierra (Mac 10.12.2, currently) Neat did not work. I upgraded to Neat 4.5 and 4.7 without luck, and then managed to downgrade to Neat 4.3.0 (build 430036), which I had available from a prior download. It works on Sierra 10.12.2. Some quirky issues/bugs I have observed in this configuration: (1) Neat is missing the ability to re-order pages. (2) It is missing the ability to select a page (other than the first page) from the sidebar to view it in the preview window (in fact the little page number for the thumbnails images is missing–the thumbnails themselves are still there). However it is possible to select the document from the list by double clicking it, and in the pop-up window flowing from page to page behaves normally. (3) Neat doesn’t automatically update the thumbnail images if you delete a page in the pop-up window, as it used to. For example, if you have a four page PDF and you delete page 4, the thumbnails in the sidebar will show 4 of them, even though the document has only three pages. (4) The app crashes when attempting to rotate page images, however the page usually (but not always) is properly rotated when Neat is re-launched. (5) Sometimes on launch, Neat will spawn two identical application windows of the same default library–one exactly on top of the other. And you tend not to know that there are two of these windows until you close the first window when you are done with your work (but there doesn’t seem to be any data spoliation). This problem is avoided if I close the last Neat window before selecting Command-Q to quit. If I just quit the application without closing all Neat active windows, it spawns two Neat instances the next time Neat launches. Aside from these 5 odd buggy behaviors, the application still works. But this is not a long term solution if Neat has abandoned all of us desktop users. It is time for all of us to find a new choice.
My standard boilerplate for Neat hacks to run on Sierra applies – Time Machine backup before and after each launch/session.
I think this is the first report of someone downgrading to Neat 4.3 to run on Sierra. My first glance at it, is that it may still have the same underlying risk – SQL table corruption that you don’t see, until it has run wild.
If you have a machine that runs Sierra well short-term for migration, install Yosemite in VMWare and run Neat inside that.
I begrudgingly have used Neat for about 5 years with the NeatDesk. The scanner is a phenomenal piece of hardware but their software has consistently sucked. No matter PC or Mac, which I’ve used both, and now more recently the cloud connected software, there are productivity killing crashes, slowness, and confounding UIs abound. It’s a shame. Every year or so I look for viable alternatives but haven’t found anything to rid me of the pain working with Neat software is.
Just found this post – so the question may be redundant, but, I have 10.8.5 and Neat software 4.1.0(410187). If I go to the newest OSX – will this run?
If it does run, you risk data corruption. It is highly advised that you not attempt to run any Neat Desktop version on macOS Sierra. That is not just my opinion, it’s Neat’s opinion too.
Either update to 10.9 and migrate off Neat, or install a copy of OS X 10.8/10.9 onto an external hard disk, and boot off of that when you need to use Neat Desktop.
or switch to Mariner Software’s Paperless. Windows & OSX support, same type of sqlite3 database for metadata, and better layout on disk of the PDF files. One time cost, everything’s stored locally.
That’s all true, but unfortunately Paperless is not cross-platform. The same engine is used on both OSes but SQLite tables won’t load.
I suspect this is because Paperless uses hard paths for the file structure that don’t work across platforms. Which is also probably why Neat was never cross-platform compatible with their databases either.
Ok , March 22 2017 I purchase a neat receipt scanner portable pro with the intent to scan receipts to my desktop , well much to my surprise they want cloud based subscriptions. Nope sorry not with my data, so before I send it back, what are my current options for the options to scan and export these receipt scans to quick books?
I am looking good for something simple. I am not a tech save person..
That’s not an easy or straightforward answer, as this article (tries to) explain, Neat created a virtual monopoly. Apps like Paperless are now getting much more attention than they anticipated.
If you are on Windows, you can continue to use older Neat versions. They work fine with Windows 10 after some installation workarounds.
On Mac, you may be better off using a combination of Paperless and possibly ABBYY.
Where can I find the legacy software download ? There is nothing on the neat website . This is my main issue.
The links are near the top of this article.
I will try the links thank you.
Below is the reply from Neat on my request for desktop software:
Subject: Legacy Software
MAR 30, 2017 | 09:35AM EDT
Nicole B. replied:
Thank you for contacting Neat. Unfortunately, we will not be able to fulfill your request. Legacy versions (non cloud versions) of Neat are currently only available as a courtesy to previously registered Neat customers.
You can download the latest version of our software on our website (http://www.neat.com/support/download-neat-software/).
Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns in a reply to this case.
-Neat® Customer Care
Christopher, Thank you for this page and information. There are times when the internet can be a enemy or a friend. Yesterday trying to locate the information I needed on the Neat website it was my enemy, But late yesterday after my last attempt at googling I stumbled on this page.
I want to thank you for putting this together. I now have a chance of making my Idea a reality!
Where can I find information on scanning receipts to quick books?
I have encountered ” Neat has stopped Working”
a problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close program and notify you if a solution is available.
What is the fix ?
I was able to fix it as a scan was in process I rebooted a few times and deleted it and that solved the problem, I apologize if i come to you with issues but you are the expert and I am fumbling around in the dark ,
Thank you for allowing me to ask questions
I am sooooo screwed – need help… a couple of weeks ago I scanned in all of my receipts for my 2016 taxes. I have to go to my accountant tomorrow morning so I was going to put the report on a Zip drive. Now I can’t open the Neat Program. I go to the Cabinet itself and try and force open – no luck. I am not a computer person and a newbie on MAC. Running OS Sierra 10.12.4
Can anyone please help.
I have reloaded the neat desktop software and also new driver – no luck…
First, you need to stop running legacy Neat Desktop on Sierra. Please read the thread, I can’t keep repeating this!!
You need to install an old version of OS X (preferably 10.10 or 10.9) on a USB/FireWire/Thunderbolt HDD (or onto another Mac) and run Neat from there. Depending on the level of corruption, you may need to recover from a backup.
P.S. For Neat Cloud users, Neat has acknowledged a corruption bug on Sierra too, so even using Neat’s monthly paid store-all-your-docs-in-the-cloud version also has problems. Neat just announced last week the fix for that has been “delayed” by weeks.
To all, out of safety, I will no longer approve or post comments that boast/note/claim that they got Neat working on macOS Sierra. I almost never do this.
It is simply creating too much confusion, and giving people a false sense of security with running Neat on Sierra. Just because it launches, doesn’t mean your data is safe.
By Neat’s own admission, running *any* version of Neat (Legacy Desktop or Cloud) on Sierra today has known data corruption issues, which can happen at any time. Neat has said they will only patch the new cloud-based version of their app, and Legacy Desktop versions will never be fixed.
If you have already updated, do what I note above, and install an old version of OS X (preferably 10.10 or 10.9) on a USB/FireWire/Thunderbolt HDD (or onto another Mac) and run Neat from there.
Isn’t there a class action suit here?
For those of us who purchased Neat to use local, “not Cheap” now we have a product that does not work or will not work, my windows 10 crashed with the legacy software so I am S.O.L.? They need to offer something in return.
Thank you very much for your $$ but you cant use it anymore?
As someone that has had to perform pivots and kill apps in the past… I can tell you the answer is probably not.
Neat Desktop still works fine on the platforms that Neat touted they work with. Namely, Windows 7/8 (as well as Windows 10, with some simple workarounds). On Mac, it works with the OS X releases they touted it would work on.
I’m not sure why you’re having issues with Windows 10. Aside from an installation issue (which can easily be solved), most people are not having major issues.
There is some wiggle room on El Capitan, as Neat promised a full fix – and didn’t deliver one. If you bought a Neat Desk when El Capitan shipped – and held onto it past the return period, on the premise that Neat would fix El Capitan bugs, you may be due a refund under the principle of detrimental reliance.
Everyone else though, isn’t due anything from Neat. They have a right to change their business. As much as I think it’s a poor decision, and offered alternative business strategies that (frankly) make more sense, they have a right to stop maintaining offline products when they see fit.
Thank you for your page… started playing around and downloaded 4.0 and then when in program i used update to 4.1…so far working not crashing and the icons on side don’t work…otherwise its working.
So, I thought I’d start the New Year off by biting the bullet and getting Paperless so I could put the entire 2017 year in the system. I had even tried a free trial back in the fall. So, I spent the money, bought the software and have had problems ever since with the OCR.
Numbers do quite well with the OCR but the text fields are another matter. Paperless has a “Library” that comes with a list of merchants, mostly travel. Because this is a Canadian co, it seems like many of the merchants aren’t even US based. So, you have to manually enter the Merchants into the Library Config area in order for the OCR to hopefully recognize it. So, I’ve added restaurants, etc to the config and it’s done a pretty pitiful job of recognizing them. After entering a dozen or so merchants tonight, the OCR recognized THREE of them. Ugh. I want my money back. And I’m crying the blues over the death of Neat. The only option I know is to use ScanSnap’s free software, ScanReceipt. It’s very simple but it does the job. And the OCR works a ton better than Paperless, even if doesn’t have all the bells and whistles.
In the meantime, I wrote to Neat, urging them to reconsider because I and thousands like me, refuse to put secure docs in the cloud. I welcome any advice!
I’m starting off new to all of this receipt scanning, haven’t used Paperless or Neat
My main issue is the data entry, not so much the receipt storage/archiving, that’s not much of a hassle.
Will Paperless meet my needs, and significantly reduce the amount of data entry needed? The fact I can archive and store PDFs is awesome too, but it’s secondary priority.
What scanner would you guys recommend to use with Paperless?
Thanks for all the comments on here – I had high hopes for Neat, but after reading this, I’m glad I avoided the nightmare.
Thanks in advance!
Bought a NeatConnect Scanner a little while back without realizing that they had discontinued it. I had been eyeing it for a long time and just thought I’d gotten lucky on a great deal (not very tech savvy). Never took it out of the box because I was planning on returning it but then I saw your article (Plan A) and it got me thinking.
I have a lot of documents I want to digitize that I don’t use on a regular basis but they take up a lot of space. Some of them are way too sensitive for me to feel comfortable putting them up in the cloud. All of which I would like to be keyword searchable.
What would it take to pull off your (Plan A)? I am totally willing to buy a laptop (which will probably run Windows X) to be totally dedicated to this task and this task alone. What are the work around/steps I need to take to make this happen? Remember I am not very tech savvy so really break it down for me if you’d be so kind.
Thanks for your time and consideration in advance.
If you’re a Windows user, “Plan A” is pretty straightforward. Just buy a used laptop running 8.1 or Windows 7 Service Pack 1, and install the last version of Neat for Windows on it.
(You probably can use Neat with Windows 10 just fine – there aren’t data corruption issues like macOS Sierra, I just don’t recommend it if you are buying a machine to dedicate for Neat use – especially since Windows 7 will be security supported to 2020, and Windows 8.1 to 2023).
The Mac use cases are more complex due to the partial/unfinished support for OS X El Capitan. The most direct route for Mac users is to stick with OS X Yosemite and dedicate a machine to that, though El Capitan can be made to work properly with most Neat scanners.
Thanks for saving me a ton of headaches. Managed to get my files backed up from a pc that was way past being replaced, but then discovered that I could no longer down 5.7 from Neat. You just made me day and saved 8 years worth of info for me.
Been following this post for quite some time. Stumbled across the following app by sheer luck:
And have been using it for a week. Works very well and has pretty good feature parity with Neat, plus there is a solid history of continued development. Hoping this works well for others too.
You sir… are a gentleman and a scholar. Don’t let anyone ever call you less. Thank you, thank you, thank you…
Neat was fantastic!! Right up until they decided to inflict the cloud on their customers. I cannot put into words how disgusted I am with the disaster that this company became in the space of month. ALL my accounting files dating back 6 years and across 7 different business entities were mixed together, part deleted, part simply invisible and as a result completely, 100% disorganised. The cost of fixing this mess has been in the tens of thousands of dollars. This is aside from constant software crashing on both their legacy software (which was great until they ‘updated it’) and Neatcloud. After months of trouble shooting I managed to limit crashing (not eliminate) by replacing a PC, changing physical scanners (from Neat to the excellent Fuji Scansnap) ONLY scanning a SINGLE page at a time and using a seperate folder to scan into, then drag and drop across to that once-great platform Neat. Different computers do result in different results (don’t know how, but they do) and one of my Neat scanners suffers much more from a random black stripe down the centre third of the page than others – again strange. I haven’t managed to troubleshoot anything other than ‘random’ with this black stripe issue. That’s the now atrocious products they sell. Now the ‘customer support’. I appreciate providing support to such a woeful (why are they doing this to me??!!!????) product must be soul destroying, however, trying to extract something sensible from Neat Support themselves is like dealing with an ex-spouse’s mother after a lengthy divorce. Absolutely horrific and infuriating. Nearly 18 months of wasted emails, I do admire their ability to say the words there ‘is nothing we can do’ as creatively as they do, but that is the ONLY area of expertise I can recommend Neatdesk on . You CANNOT trust their software and support AT ALL.
Putting your financial life in these people’s hands is EXTREMELY dangerous. PLEASE take heed of my warning.
How anyone could ruin such a great product so quickly, so maliciously and so destructively is beyond me. Tell me how much a working neatdesk is and I would have paid it twice over!!
Just wanted to leave my last few cents (and one question) here.
First, thanks Christopher for this article/your thoughts. If nothing else its good to know that I’m not the only person in the world disrupted by Neat’s fumbling of their software. My solution over the past year was to run Neat desktop in a VM that’s only on El Capitan. That VM had access to literally one file on the host Mac — the Neat Library database file.
It wasn’t perfect and the software is a little crashy (but lets be honest, it’s always been a little crashy and will never be fixed now). But then a week ago I noticed I only had the first page of a few (hundred) scanned combined documents due to the issue detailed very well by Rich Holland here:
Unlike Mr. Holland, this is a dealbreaker for me, I can’t work around potential DB corruption, and I’ve already lost a bit of data here.
So I’m completely sold on giving the final middle finger to Neat and moving on to Paperless. My only question is — has anyone else been able to get their Neat Scanner to work on High Sierra with Paperless (or just Image Capture in general or any scanner software?)
I have a NM-1000 mobile Neat scanner, and it would be nice if I didn’t have to buy new hardware here as well since the scanner itself always worked much better than their flaky-ass document management software.
Also, if anyone at Neat ever reads this — L O L that you think anyone would upload all their financial documents to an online cloud service, especially run by a company who has put out such buggy software in the past and reacts to new OS updates by dragging their feet for 6 months about supporting it (even though the OS has been available to developers as a beta for months). How does that inspire confidence that when there is a zero-day attack out there that could impact your site (and my data) that it wouldn’t take you months to patch it?
Thank you so much for the downloads! I had to move my neat scanner/library to another computer after upgrading to OS High Sierra, and was able to download 4.1 to my older mac, and then simply copy my existing library file from my High Sierra computer onto a flash drive and use it to replace the new empty library file on my older mac.
Any new conclusions after this very appreciated article? I like you like the desktop version but have been forced to switch to web based. Not quite the same. Thinking of switching to another system. I use PC. Any suggestions?
The only significant change is that I’ve begun using Adobe Scan as my scanner. Thanks to competition (probably from Office Lens), Adobe has made the free version more expansive. I now scan-and-OCR with Adobe Scan, which is good because it makes up greatly for the OCR shortcomings of Paperless.
While my docs do have to pass through the cloud, they don’t stay there, which I think is a good compromise. Paperless now is just a document manager, which is what it’s best at – provided you use Time Machine (Mac) or Macrium (Windows) in case its SQL table corrupts.
As of 20180107, some windows update really hoses the last standalone versions of Neatdesk and it’s scanning ability. The app locks up and shuts down. Interestingly it continues processing the quesed doc after you close it and restart it. I’m testing “paperless” today. I agree 100% with you views on neatdesk’s bad decisions. Not every one can have reliable internet at all times and frankly, the cloud is not secure.
We’re in 2018 and where’s the lastest Max OSX10.7 and on download? It’s not there. The El Capitan still there but, will it work?
Ugh – it appears that the links are now down! Did anyone download the Windows Update file that could post it somewhere for us to download? Possibly the full install version too in case the update version bombs out? Thanks!
Hi all, at the start of the year, Neat pulled all old downloads except for the El Capitan un-beta. This is due to them pulling the plug on their Amazon S3 CDN. Not a great sign, but worse, they didn’t re-host them.
After talking with legal advisors, I’ve decided I will self-host them. I am doing this in compliance with California law that requires device makers to offer parts and support for up to seven years, which Neat is not doing by pulling essential downloads that cause their scanners to stop functioning.
To be clear, I’m not accusing Neat of violating the law. However, multiple people have reported to me that Neat support is not complying with CA law, by failing to provide them with the downloads on-request. This is similar to the GNU GPL, which does not require public downloads – it merely requires that companies offer the code when users submit a request. If Neat offers a means to provide users with these downloads, I would be willing to take them down after a DMCA request. If Neat sends me a DMCA request now, I am inclined to potentially file a dispute of the DMCA on the aforementioned basis.
I hope to get them back online shortly. I will post a comment and update the article with the new links when they are back up.
Do you know if there’s any way to use the Neat scanner itself with a different software? Or do I need to buy a whole new scanner as well as switching software? My Neat is now scanning documents and rearranging page orders on me, which is entirely annoying. I hate to have a perfectly good scanner that I can’t use.
Any news about the download links?
I need the Neat-184.108.40.206-Release.dmg
Or can I use the Neat-220.127.116.11.dmg on OS X 10.10 Yosemite?
Found a link that still works: https://s3.amazonaws.com/legacy-installers/latest/Neat_v18.104.22.1684_FULL.sfx.exe
Thank You Maxxis! After browsing through all these posts and replies, I’d given up hope of finding the software you linked to.
I just purchased an ND-1000 at a thrift store that appears to be new in the box but the CD was missing. After finding out Neat went completely cloud based, I figured I had a boat anchor. There is no way I’d put any of my data “in the cloud.” I’d wan’t one of these for years for personal use but never could justify the expense. At least now I’ll be able to play around with it and see if the effort is worth it.
Here’s a good link for the v5 user manual to go along with the software.
I was working on Neat Lite and the web thing over the last few days (been a customer for several years). I came to a conclusion that Neat must have actually bought one of the other more expensive products so they have crippled Neat so people will move to their “competitor.” It is the only thing that makes sense to me anymore. They had a great product and now it is so slow, so convoluted, that it is nearly unbearable to use. Neat’s local backup consists only of a pdf for each and every entry you have made in Neat all stuck in a single directory. I have over 3000 files in one folder that if Neat stopped and/or I cut their service, it would take me days to re-create the information I had already organized. Got to find a better solution that is not going down hill.
I’m attempting to set up a new installation of Neat Desktop on my El Capitan Mac, and have never registered an account with Neat.
After installing Neat-22.214.171.124.dmg, I get the following error upon first run of the software:
“NOTE: The Neat software you are trying to access is no longer supported.”
“If you already have an account you can proceed to log-in below. If you are not a current subscriber, please visit http://www.neat.com/free-trial to try our latest software free.”
How can I use the ND-1000 scanner on a Mac without subscribing?
Error message: https://imgur.com/a/tM8iNLD
P.S. I tried the Neat-126.96.36.199-Release.dmg software, but that simply says it can’t connect to the internet (apparently it needs to ping Neat before opening the software, and whichever server at Neat isn’t responding).
I’ve found a version that is before Mac10.6-Neat-188.8.131.52-Release.dmg.
It’s “Mac10.5 and earlier-NeatWorksForMac-v184.108.40.206-Release.dmg”.
It was downloaded on 160305.
The size is 233 MB (245,131,186 bytes)
if your interested in getting it. I’m looking for a place to put it so you could download it…any suggestions?
While I subscribe to Neat Cloud at the moment, I have all the documents local on my PC, but dont know how to get them to another tool
Has anyone found a way to get the Neat details out and into another document archiving software without re-doing them one at a time?
I am looking for something to manage two small businesses and my personal details and am willing to use another software tool, but dont want to deal with all the additional work to move over.
THANK YOU for this post! I downloaded the last official version of the desktop software and it sees my mobile scanner. I’ll look into Paperless at another time. Right now I have HUNDREDS of business cards to scan and get them imported into a spreadsheet or some other type of file system.
Thank you for the initial –and any follow up– guidance.
Where are you in 2019? Any updates or recommendations?
I have stayed away from the cloud as much as I could. I feel the pressure growing as I updated my Outlook to a subscription, I feel the pressure growing and the cloud encroaching my space and sense of security.
I did manage to get an update of the legacy NEAT software on my windows lap top last year. My friend asked if I wanted to go cloud based and I declined. It wasn’t till TODAY (!), as I was trying to send/save some documents to NEAT, that I realized something was wrong. Your article was the only source that helped me make sense of the mess.
I am lucky I can still access my files and my scan still works, but I am mad as hell about being forced to move my most private documents to the cloud. I never intended to be in this position when I got neat ages ago. Again, I feel co-opted by technology monopolies.
A year after your last entry, do you have any new recommendation. (I want old private Neat!). I am willing to pay. Don’t want to be on the cloud. Is there anything else in the market that you actually recommend in 2019? Otherwise, do I have to review and then PDF every single document to make sure I can access and open?
Missing your presence….
After a lot of testing, I ended up switching from Neat Mac to Paperless 3.05.
Here is the major pain point and the workaround:
– Neat used to OCR documents and write the data back into the PDF. With Paperless, that does not occur any longer. Instead, Paperless OCRs the doc and stores it into Paperless database, but it does not write the data back into the PDF.
– To remedy this I have used brew to install OCRMyPDF. Then I wrote an automator script:
for f in “$@”
“/usr/local/bin/ocrmypdf” –jbig2-lossy –optimize 3 –rotate-pages –clean –mask-barcodes –deskew –force-ocr “$1” “$1”
– The script above, when added to automator (run shell script, shell:/bin/bash, pass input as parameters) now shows in the context menu under services (e.g. I can right click on a pdf file and invoke this command)
– My new workflow is as follows:
a) open paperless
b) scan a file using Neat Driver for Mojave (Kind Black and white, 300 dpi, duplex, JPEG, image correction=manual, move brightness and contrast sliders all the way to the right).
c) the scanned file appears in the Paperless, and the app OCRs the doc, now you can find the file by searching Paperless
d) At this point I right click on Paperless record of the file I just scanned, and select “Show in Finder”
e) Once the actual file in finder is shown, I right click on it and select OcrMyPdf automator action from the services menu
d) OcrMyPDF does an incredible job in compressing the file by a factor of 5-10, and embeds the searchable OCR info into the text, straightens the page, etc.
Thanks to Christopher for this post.
Here are some comments for migrating from Mac Neat with 10 years of document history to Mac Paperless 3.05.
By the way, if you contact Mariner software helpdesk and tell them you want to migrate from Neat (or any other software), they will give you a discount for the license of 20%.
I used the process below to ensure that I maintain coarse-level historical references in Paperless.
The challenge was that if you import your historical documents into Paperless, Paperless will stamp the import date of today to all documents that it can not find the embedded date for. Therefore I found that it is best to adjust the clock to some date in the past and import one year (or an arbitrary time period) at the time. Then in Paperless all the documents that do not have a year associated with them are now defaulting to the date set up on my Mac’s clock. The workaround below ensures that I do not end up with thousands of documents with the current date and unreliable historical doc date references in Paperless.
1) Open Neat
2) Select all the documents for a particular time range, e.g. a year
3) Export, selected documents, save them to a folder
4) Create structure such as folders for historical periods (e.g. 2016, 2017, or 2016-Q1, 2016-Q2, or 2018-Jan, 2018-Feb, 2018-Mar, etc. You can choose what makes sense for you).
5) After you export all of your documents based on historical periods you chose, go to paperless and import them
6) Open Paperless, create a new library if necessary
7) Change the Mac clock to the time period you want to import (you have to uncheck “automatically update” the clock)
8) From Paperless select import, select folder that contains your exported documents. If Paperless cannot detect the date associated with the document, it will default to the date of your Mac clock
9) Repeat steps 7 and 8 for all remaining folders
10) After you are done with all folders, restore your mac clock (set it to auto update)
11) In paperless you should have all the historical documents roughly ordered based on time periods you selected
Neat is working using Mojave OS and updated driver from Neat. FYI Using Neat 4.3.0