Canon imageFormula R40 Document Scanner Receipt Edition Review
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Canon imageFormula R40 Document Scanner Receipt Edition Review

Jun 18, 2023

The prices for most high-tech hardware goes down, not up, over the years, but some niche gear can buck that trend and still stay competitive. Take Canon's imageFormula R40 Office Document Scanner Receipt Edition: At $399, it's $130 more than the base-model imageFormula R40 we reviewed in March 2020. The main justification for upping this new document scanner's cost is special software for gleaning, sorting, and saving financial data from receipts, statements, invoices, and the like. A direct competitor to the outstanding Epson RapidReceipt RR-600W, the R40 Receipt Edition scans everyday office documents, as well as financial data, reliably and accurately. It's also a solid value, with a list price $100 below the Epson's. Unfortunately for Canon, at this writing the RR-600W had been discounted to match its rival's cost, and retains a slight edge as our Editors' Choice among receipt and document scanners.

In most cases, upgrading a sheetfed document scanner to a document and receipt scanner is simply a matter of bundling a processing module or plug-in that digitizes, sorts, and archives financial data. We'll look at that in more detail momentarily, but first let's talk about the hardware.

The new imageFormula R40, like its predecessor, measures 9.6 by 11.4 by 9.9 inches with its paper trays closed, and it weighs 6.2 pounds. Like the Epson and most other scanners in this class, the Canon's desktop footprint doubles or triples when its input and output trays are open for business.

A few other competitors include the Brother ADS-3300W with BR-Receipts, the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600, and the Epson WorkForce ES-300WR Accounting Edition. Given an inch or two and a pound or so in any direction, these and several other low-to-medium-volume document scanners are similar in size and weight.

Some, however, are better suited to being worked from their control panels, which typically become available after you open their output trays. The R40's panel consists of a selection button for scrolling through profile numbers, Start and Stop buttons, and a manual-feed toggle that helps you adjust for thicker documents such as ID cards, plus a monochrome LCD for selecting numbered workflow profiles. You create and edit profiles using the bundled software, discussed shortly.

Compared to the two Canons' modest control panels, the color touch screens of the ScanSnap iX1600 and RapidReceipt RR-600W let you do much more in the way of configuring and executing scans, as well as creating and editing workflow profiles or shortcuts. Some entries such as the iX1600 and the Raven Original Document Scanner boast control panels not only capable of setting up and running scans but editing, saving, and archiving documents.

The imageFormula R40 Receipt Edition can scan documents as small as 2 by 2.1 inches and as large as 8.5 by 118 inches (9.8 feet). Its automatic document feeder (ADF) holds up to 60 pages and its daily duty cycle is rated at 4,000 scans, matching the ratings of the Brother ADS-3300W, the Epson RR-600W, and the ScanSnap iX1600. The Fujitsu's ADF capacity is a bit smaller (50 pages), while the RR-600W's is bigger (100 pages). With a 20-sheet ADF and daily volume rating of 500 scans, the Epson ES-300WR is a good portable-scanning solution.

The R40 comes with only one interface, a USB 2.0 port for cable connection to a single computer. As long as that computer is connected to the internet, however, the scanner can easily access cloud and social media sites, as well as local drives on your PC and drives on other systems on your office network.

Restricting connectivity to USB precludes scanning to handheld devices like smartphones and tablets. Unless you scan from the control panel or deploy the scanner into an existing document management system with its own software, you'll most likely use one or more of the utilities in Canon's downloadable bundle.

These include Windows and macOS TWAIN drivers for use with the many third-party apps (including Microsoft Office 365 and most Adobe programs) that support direct scanner input, as well as Canon's CaptureOnTouch scanning utility and document management software. Windows-only apps include Readiris PDF and Cardiris business-card scanning and contact-archiving software.

CaptureOnTouch is a fairly comprehensive scanner interface with essential document archiving features. You get a wide range of options that allow you to swiftly and effectively digitize hardcopy documents and save them in searchable formats according to parameters laid down in the selected workflow profile. It's also the utility you'll use when creating and editing workflow shortcuts for selection from the R40's control panel.

Canon rates the imageFormula R40 Receipt Edition at 40 one-sided pages per minute (ppm) and 80 two-sided images per minute (ipm), where each page side counts as an image. These speeds are about average for the class, with the Epson RR-600W and Fujitsu iX1600 slightly slower at 35ppm/70ipm and the portable Epson ES-300WR slower still at 25ppm/50ipm.

I ran my tests over a USB connection to our Intel Core i5 testbed running Windows 10 Pro and Canon CaptureOnTouch. First, I clocked the R40 as it scanned our 25-page one-sided and two-sided (50 sides) text documents, using the CaptureOnTouch software to save the scans to image PDF format. The Receipt Edition averaged 42.4ppm and 82.1ipm, a couple of pages per minute faster than its 2020 predecessor. Other document scanners rated at 40ppm/80ipm came in fractionally faster, but the R40 handily beat the two slower-rated Epsons.

Next, I timed the R40 Receipt Edition as it scanned, converted, and saved our 25-page two-sided (50 sides) text document to the more useful searchable PDF format. The Canon finished the job—from paper pages to editable text—in 39 seconds, which is one of the quickest times we've seen in this class. Only the Brother was a tick faster (37 seconds), with the others a second or two slower (except for the portable Epson ES-300WR at 55 seconds).

As for optical character recognition accuracy, it's rapidly becoming one of our more boring benchmarks, in a good way: Most modern document scanners do it almost equally well. The imageFormula read both our Arial and Times New Roman pages error-free down to 6 points. While the 2020 model and the Fujitsu got down to 4 points with Arial and the Epson RR-600W to 5 points, few businesses ever encounter type smaller than 10 points in real-world documents. In other words, most users don't need anything better than this.

I also scanned a few stacks of receipts and other financial documents. After some initial setup, the software did a respectable job of gleaning numbers, field names, and other pertinent data from the slips, and sorting and saving the data as required, without a lot of hand-holding and with very few errors. I had no issues with the Receipt Edition plug-in to the CaptureOnTouch interface.

When it comes to combination document and receipt scanners like this one, it's tough to beat the 4.5-star-rated Epson RapidReceipt RR-600W. Nevertheless, the Canon imageFormula R40 Receipt Edition is fast, accurate, and competitively priced, joining the Brother ADS-3300W as an excellent alternative for any entry-level-to-midrange document and financial scanning environment. We'd still opt for the Epson if the pricing remains close, but the good news is that your choices are many—and mostly solid.

Canon's imageFormula R40 Receipt Edition is a reasonably priced desktop receipt and document scanner aimed at home workers and small-to-midsize offices and workgroups.

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