Epson WorkForce ES-580W is a touchscreen wireless desktop document scanner that will be a a welcome addition for those interested in taking charge of organizing and managing document work flow better than with paper only.
**WHAT’S IN THE BOX**
- ES-580W with 4.3” touchscreen
- Power cord, power adapter, USB cable to computer
- Quick start guide & Warranty, with instructions to download Mac or Windows software packages
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Epson WorkForce ES-580, about $380 today at Amazon.
**FEATURES & BENEFITS** (from the manufacturer)
- Easy wireless scanning from desktop, works with Epson Smart Panel mobile app, direct from scanner LCD display to computer, online cloud storage, smartphones and even tablets. Wireless capability allows placement anywhere within the home network, though direct wired connection to a single computer is available with the provided USB cable.
- Seamlessly integrates with most document management software through TWAIN driver
- Scan everyday documents including extra-long receipts up to 240″, business and ID cards, contracts, virtually any document up to 8-1/2 inches wide
- Ultrasonic Double Feed Detection helps prevent missing pages
- Other features include blank page deletion, auto crop, dirt detection, background removal, and paper-skew correction
- 100-sheet Auto Document Feeder (ADF) accommodates multiple paper types and sizes in one batch; scan up to 35 ppm/70 ipm (Inches per minute), capturing both sides in one pass
- Share and collaborate by saving directly to a USB drive with built-in USB slot in rear: no computer required
- Email or upload to popular cloud storage services including Dropbox®, Evernote®, Google Drive™ and OneDrive
- Instructions to download Epson ScanSmart® software; once installed, preview, email, upload to cloud and more; automatic file naming saves time or use custom file naming and storage location
- Convert scanned documents into searchable PDFs using Kofax OCR (Optical Character Recognition) engine. Then, send those editable PDFs to Word and Excel® files
- Downloadable Presto! BizCard® 6 OCR Software for creating or adding to existing database of scanned business cards, populating preset or custom fields in popular smartphone address books and contact manager software.
**WHAT THIS SCANNER IS NOT**
This is NOT a film or photo scanner though this and other desktop scanners can also scan photos. What, do you think they are that smart? Desktop scanners that are also optimized for photos come with a carrier sheet into which a single photo may be placed and protected while it passes along the scanner’s rollers and through to the output tray.
If photo scanning is what you need and you have a pile, perhaps hundreds or thousands of photos to scan, consider a photo scanner. Currently, the most popular batch photo scanner is also from Epson, their FastPhoto FF-680, $600 from Amazon. Be sure to get only the 1200dpi, Wi-Fi 2nd generation model. This scanner can easily be substituted for the ES-580W and do double duty as a document scanner and photo scanner, and comes with one protective carrier sheet.
How is the ES-580W different from the FF-680? For about $220 more, the FF-680 is capable of scanning at double the quality of the 600dpi ES-580W and a bit faster. In addition, the FF-680 software package includes what is needed to scan photos in addition to documents. Photos need special treatment to deal with depth, colors and color correction, scratches and other specifics not a factor when scanning documents.
Batch photo scanning is not always as simple as it would seem. Experience has taught me that frequent cleaning using the supplied cleaning cloth is necessary to prevent debris that causes vertical lines on photo scans. As a preventive measure be sure to wipe clean all photos before subjecting them to the scanning process. Vertical lines are not the fault of the Epson scanner, but, rather, the result of the aforementioned debris. This cleaning regimen slows down the process, but helps assure desired quality results.
**SENDING OUT TAPES, FILM, SLIDES AND PHOTOS FOR SCANNING**
Though the topic is document scanning, in a related topic, if the volume is sufficient, it may be easier and may be more expensive to send out your old family photos, as well as video video tapes, slides, movie film (including sound movie film) for digital transfer. Check prices with services including Legacy Box, Memories Renewed, Scan My Photos and Legacy Digital (Legacy Digital uses the best methods and produces the best result of which I am aware for 8mm and 16mm film transfers, including sound film). Costco, Walmart and CVS use an outside service I cannot recommend called YesVideo. If there is sound on the film, be sure to confirm that the transfer service will transfer the sound along with the moving images. Not all of them transfer sound and I would not want you to find out the hard way that only images will be transferred.
Now that you know of some options if what you want is more than basic document scanning, let’s move on . . .
Epson makes this as easy as it gets. Following the Start Here guide in step 3 to, “Download the ES-580W software package” from the provided link, I let it percolate along. With the device plugged in and ON, the software was installed on a Windows 10 PC, found and connected the scanner to Wi-Fi and made it ready to operate. Then, it found and installed a device firmware update. And that was that. The software package was also installed on a new Mac, with the mobile software installed on an iPhone, iPad and two Android phones.
Before leaving the software installation on the PC, I accessed settings to tell scans generated by and through the PC where they should be stored, what resolution to use as default (200dpi) and other personalization each user may make. One setting of note – the scanner software can be set to start scanning automatically when it senses loaded documents AND with the launch of the desktop software. I chose not to select this option. I want scanning to begin when I am ready.
On the Epson ScanSmart PC software screen can be seen a choice for SCAN double-sided, SCAN single-sided and this one with a corner sash-type banner called, “TRIAL – Manage Invoices/Receipts.” Under the clickable are these words, “Automatically extract data form [sic] invoices/receipts and upload to QuickBooks, TurboTax, and Quicken.”
Underneath is a long oval with this text inside, “Click here for more details.” That would be nice, I thought. Intrigued, I clicked! This becomes a $100 non-subscription software add-on called, “Invoice and Receipt Manager.”
Without this package, users can save the images of these files. With the software, certain fields are recognized and data extracted, then automatically exported to accounting management software as listed above. What a time-saver for small businesses as well as individuals who regularly require this data for tax time! The 30-day trial was not evaluated.
For those asking for the opportunity to scan receipts and invoices and for the software to decipher the fields, putting the info in an accountant-friendly format, the $100 add-on is certainly worth the free trial.
My search for cost-effective alternatives to this added software was not successful. There are free and paid mobile apps, but then users are dealing with two data sources. This seems like more work than it’s worth.
I went into settings to permanently turn off the persistent offer for the optional software sales pitch.
Finally, I looked into the “Scan Settings” within the software. Under the Main Settings tab the following choices were available:
- Document size Auto Detect in addition to all the standard size presets
- Image Type, including Auto, Color, Grayscale and Black & White
- Stitch Images Off, top and bottom or left and right
- Rotate, from Auto to 0°, 90°, 180°, 270°
- Correct Document Skew, with options Paper Skew, Contents Skew, and Paper and Contents Skew
- Skip Blank Pages, On or Off · Detect Double Feed, On or Off
Under the Advanced Settings tab were the following choices, with others not available on this scanner:
- Image Option – None; Remove Background Standard or High; Text Enhancement Standard or High;
- Brightness – Default to 0, adjustable from -100 to 100 (useful for photo scans)
- Contrast – Default to 0, adjustable from -100 to 100 (useful for photo scans)
- Unsharp Mask – Off, Low, Middle, High (useful for photo scans)
- Descreening – Off, Low, Middle, High
- Edge Fill – None, White, Black
- Remove Punch Holes – Off, All Edges, Left & Right, Top & Bottom
- Watermark – Off or On
Users are encouraged to take the time to explore and become familiar with the full array of user settings for maximum enjoyment and efficiency.
All set up and ready for fun!
But first, this.
**IF YOU HAVE AN OLDER SCANNER NO LONGER SUPPORTED BY YOUR COMPUTER’S OPERATING SYSTEM**
It is likely that this next suggestion will be your savior. The “Swiss Army Knife of scanner software,” VueScan by Hamrick Software has been on my computers since about 2004, and I recommend it for every scanner and all-in-one printer owner. Ed Hamrick’s VueScan software often has more features and customization than any of the old standalone scanners’ software including the scanners on all-in-one printers! Even with a new scanner like this one, I still use VueScan for some scans, even if just to compare the output.
Buy VueScan it and own if for life without subscriptions or added fees and with free updates for life, regardless of which scanner you may have, now or in the future! VueScan is also optimized for film and slide scanners. Priced at $40 for the standard edition and just $100 for the Pro Edition that includes Optical Character Recognition, there is no better, more full-featured scanning software of which I am aware anywhere on the planet. VueScan is also excellent software to use with any desktop scanner with ADF to batch scan photos. Have a look to see why.
Download and try it for free! Really, try it. You will be amazed and pleased.
**PUT TO THE TEST**
The ES-580W touchscreen provides on-device choices similar to those in the desktop software; what to do with scans and where to send them. Plugging a USB stick in the port on the back of the scanner tells the scanner you may wish for scans to go there, bypassing the computer for scanned document portability.
Printed documents were scanned to PDF with OCR software that created searchable PDFs. Others were scanned, OCR read and sent to Microsoft Word (installed on my devices) where formatting was generally preserved. I tested the software’s ability to recognize and discard blank pages. Perfect! On some documents with particularly small font sizes, it was necessary to increase the DPI so the OCR could do its work. Users will become familiar with these subtleties through experience.
Interface note: Though there is the choice for single-sided or double-sided scans, with the auto blank page detect feature enabled, it makes sense to select double-sided scans and let the software figure it out. This way a mix of documents, some with two sides and some single-sided, may be loaded and scanned in the same batch.
Next up, receipts from grocery stores, bakeries, restaurants, home improvement stores and big box stores. These random receipts were unfurled, and stacked for loading in the ADF. One of the grocery receipts was particularly long. Then, in the PC software, I chose single-sided scan and clicked the on-screen Scan button. Artistry in motion! Though all went through as hoped, one at a time, some appeared not perfectly straight as they were drawn through the mechanism. Once all the receipts had gone through, a window opened on the computer screen with small representations of all the scanned receipts. Clicking on the first one, I could see clearly that the automatic correct document skew capabilities had worked perfectly, straightening the images on my screen. Watch it in action. Click the link below.
From there, I was able to enlarge and further organize each receipt any way I chose, by the store name or type, for example, and where I chose for them to be stored, be it locally for access on the PC only, or to the cloud where access is possible from all devices at any time.
After scanning, the user’s choice of what to do with the scans is presented.
Presto! BizCard® 6 OCR Software was not evaluated here. However, I have prior successful experience with this somewhat ubiquitous business card acquisition and management software, so I would expect users to meet with success.
Let’s go over maintenance requirements. According to information on the Epson Website, “Clean the inside of the scanner every 5,000 scans. You can check the latest number of scans using the Epson Scan 2 Utility”, with detailed instructions.
There are consumables that may require periodic replacements, though in my experience with similar products, these parts rarely require replacement, but regular cleaning is very important. Consumables include a roller kit. However, this is called for only “every 200,000 sheets,” so it is not likely to be needed for quite a long while.
The Epson WorkForce ES-580W is easy to set-up and use, right out of the box for Windows computers as well as Macs. Upon further investigation, fine-tuning settings allows even richer capabilities, all of which increase value to the consumer.
The scanner appears to be well designed and solidly built for long daily duty cycles over many years. Maintenance promises to be minimal beyond keeping the paper path free of dust and debris sloughed off from papers that pass through.
My experience has been great! There is everything to recommend this scanner at its price point, though it is not without competition.
The principal competitor in the desktop document scanner (image scanner) space is from world leading Fujitsu with the highest market share (1, 2, 3). Their newest model, ScanSnap iX1600, is similarly priced and sized for the basic, though full-featured model.
There are two elements determining the quality and benefits of a consumer or small business document scanner – hardware and software. After experiencing both Epson and Fujitsu, I am of the opinion that Fujitsu’s hardware and software are both more refined and more mature.
There are more expensive, more robust scanners, but most consumers, even small businesses should find this Epson is all that is needed. In fact, I suspect that most users will use only the basic features and touchscreen display without diving into the more advanced capabilities. Still, it’s nice to know there is more to this scanner than meets the eye.
One-year limited warranty in the US and Canada