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ScanSnap Conflicts with Sierra Easily Avoided

In “ScanSnap Users Should Delay Sierra Upgrades” (20 September 2016), we warned users of Fujitsu’s ScanSnap scanners to avoid upgrading to macOS 10.12 Sierra, based on the company’s dire predictions of potential data loss. Happily, it turns out that Fujitsu was just playing it safe until its engineers were able to pin down the exact conflicts, and they turn out to be far more minor than previously predicted.

In its updated notice, Fujitsu (a TidBITS sponsor) now outlines three activities that ScanSnap users should avoid when running in Sierra:

  • Do not use ScanSnap Organizer, ScanSnap Merge Pages, or CardMinder.

  • Do not use Excellent mode when scanning A3 (11.7-inch by 16.5-inch) documents. Fujitsu explicitly says that no image data will be lost nor any blank pages produced when scanned content is saved in Letter (8.5-inch by 11-inch), Legal (8.5-inch by 14-inch), A4 (8.3-inch by 11.7-inch), or smaller sizes.

  • Do not use the following functions in either Quick Menu or the application: Scan to Print, Scan to Evernote (Document), Scan to Evernote (Note), Scan to Google Drive, or Photos.

For those looking for more information, Fujitsu has produced a detailed guide to all of the problems, complete with the operation in question, the color mode, the paper size, the image quality setting, and workarounds.

Practically speaking, if you use a ScanSnap scanner, you should verify that your scanning workflow doesn’t rely on an affected aspect of the ScanSnap software or A3 scans in Excellent mode. If not, you can safely upgrade to Sierra.


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Comments about ScanSnap Conflicts with Sierra Easily Avoided
(Comments are closed.)

Anonymous  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2016-10-03 19:46
Or "Do not use Sierra, macOS 10.2, etc.." until Apple comes to our demands and fixes beta after beta releases, before they are released, with a more hired paid beta testers. Not ever day Joes like you and me working under the slave Apple goggles ( Oh it almost like Ubuntu open-ware)!
B. Jefferson Le Blanc  2016-10-04 05:20
The issues here are not with Sierra but with ScanSnap software, something that's perfectly normal with an OS upgrade, Mac, Windows or Linux. Of course a Linux troll like you is looking for any excuse to blame Apple, even if the excuse is off base. That tells us more about Linux trolls than it does about Apple, and does Linux no credit at all. With friends like you Linux doesn't need enemies.

That said, ScanSnap has had enough time to figure out what doesn't work in Sierra. The only real question is, how long will it take them to fix their software?
Chris Williams  2016-10-06 17:29
Though Fujitsu takes pains not to say it, the issues here occur when viewing scans generated by ScanSnap software in Preview. Preview is bundled with OS X and is the default or "official" PDF reader software for Sierra, so it's construed as a conflict with Sierra. Since ScanSnap isn't having problems with other PDF reading or editing software, it's safe to say that the problem lies with Preview—and hence, Sierra.
The sad part is Fujitsu is providing guidance on avoiding/mitigating the issue versus just putting out a fix. What happened to real software development? Fix it and release the fix.
Peter N Lewis  An apple icon for a Friend of TidBITS 2016-10-03 19:58
Guidance can generally be done more quickly than fixes - in any event you have to understand the problem before fixing it. Fujitsu is simply communicating their findings - kudos on them for doing that, they could have remained silent, most companies would.
marshall  An apple icon for a Friend of TidBITS 2016-10-03 20:05
The best part of that article is: "A fix for the above problems is expected to be made available in the middle of October, 2016."
Chris Williams  2016-10-26 13:34
The official fix was released on October 26 with MacOS Sierra 10.12.1. Whether it's a real fix or not remains to be seen.
Seth Anderson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2016-10-03 20:08
That’s good news, thanks for following up! I’m guessing Fujitsu will fix this eventually, but at least I don’t have to worry about upgrading to 10.12.
instig8r  2016-10-03 20:18
The ONLY time I use my SnapScan is to Scan to print or scan to Evernote, so I'm gonna be a Sierra no-show.
James Katt  2016-10-04 00:06
ExactScan scans faster than Fujitsu's own drivers. It can be used to operate the SmapScan.
schralp  2016-10-05 19:22
That's $80 to replace the software that came with my scanner. Thanks, but not sure I need it....
Jim Warthman  2016-10-04 00:38
Last I checked, Fujitsu indicated that data-loss could occur when opening scans made on older versions of the OS. This article doesn't appear to address this critical aspect of the problem. Or perhaps they no longer view this as an issue...
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-04 09:31
I'm guessing that those previous warnings were overblown, because Fujitsu was focusing on their own software and was extrapolating to other apps for safety's sake. #4 and #5 in the detail document talk about that a bit with the ScanSnap apps:
ScanSnap reveals on their site that none of these issues affect scans into DEVONthink Pro Office.

Since I only use DTPO, I upgraded to Sierra and have used all the aforementioned "problem" features with no problems.

If not using DTPO, I reckon it safest to wait until their mid-October fix.
Dave Kitabjian  2016-10-06 00:35
Thanks for the heads up about ScanSnap!

You should correct "Photographs" to "Photos". There is no "Photographs" application. But the other source document says, unfortunately, "Photos".

I don't think we can say that the conflicts are "easily avoided" for the many of us who use their ScanSnap to scan photos. We appear to be dead in the water.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-07 09:17
Thanks, I've fixed the Photos bit. It's always hard to notice mistakes in writeups about software you don't have installed.
What I meant by "easily avoided" is that now that the problems are understood, you can avoid them. That may require not doing something you need to do, which would point toward avoiding the Sierra upgrade until Fujitsu updates the software, but the avoidance is still easily accomplished.
Dave Kitabjian  2016-10-06 21:09
Yea, I knew what you meant. I just thought it was a little misleading ;-)
Dave Kitabjian  2016-10-06 00:35
Does anyone understand the technical nature of the problem?

Does it affect PDFs on macOS Sierra created by apps other than ScanSnap? If not, is there something flawed in the way ScanSnap created their PDFs?

Considering most of use scan to PDF in the hopes of having a durable, long-term, "safe" archive of documents, this is unsettling. It also makes me wonder how a software update can fix the problem if the PDFs themselves are corrupt or malformed?
Dave Kitabjian  2016-10-06 21:25
Thanks, that's helpful and sheds a little more light.

ScanSnap appears to have created what I'll call "fragile PDFs". It sounds like they're okay as-is, but they can get corrupt or lose data as soon as you try to modify their content under Sierra.

We don't know if ScanSnap used OS X system libraries and APIs to perform their PDF rendering or if they used their own or those of a 3rd party. If the former, it's possible that this problem is not limited to ScanSnap generated PDFs, but will also affect other PDFs created on the Mac (eg, MS Office). But if ScanSnap "rolled their own" PDFs, then the problem may be limited to ScanSnap.

Their forecast for how they might fix existing PDFs is quite vague. I'm not sure how they could solve the problem without taking every PDF you've ever generated using ScanSnap and converting it to a new PDF without the "fragile" formatting. Would they have to scan our entire hard drive? Do the PDFs have signatures that will tell them which ones were created by ScanSnap so they don't try to process non-ScanSnap PDFs?


I have the same concerns. Why are ScanSnaps's PDFs files different than other PDFs and susceptible to corruption. If our PDFs could be damaged by any new or future OS our archives are certainly not safe!
Dave Kitabjian  2016-10-08 20:44
Yes, very disturbing. Like finding out your backups are unsafe. Except in this case, it's our originals. If anyone hears more news, please post.
Ronald Meinders  2016-10-11 06:48
Apparently files created by ScanSnap are not standart PDF files. So the only solution is that they persuade apple to make changes in Siera? This is very concerning indeed, for I want my documents to be future proof. I am afraid the only real future proof solution would be to open al PDF file’s in Captain,
select “print” from the menu and than “save as PDF”? This would be a disaster and completely undoable!
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-11 09:40
Let's wait until Fujitsu says more. They've been good about providing detail once they know it, and there are definitely some changes in the PDF engine in Sierra that other apps are running into as well.
David Price  An apple icon for a TidBITS Supporter 2016-10-09 23:45
I upgraded to Sierra a couple of days ago and my old 'unsupported' ScanSnap S510M seems to work fine. I even edited a few PDF files in PDFPenPro 7. Am using ScanSnap Manager Version 3.2 L71.
Craig Landrum  2016-10-26 15:47
The primary problem with Sierra with respect to PDFs is that Apple chose to rewrite the PDFKit framework in OS 10.12 and it broke a number of things that PDF-related developers relied upon (I write scan-to-PDF software and know other developers that were impacted). Software that uses third party PDF libraries probably runs fine, but those of us in the development community that relied upon Apple's PDFKit library were really slammed - and we have no way to fix the problems ourselves. There have been numerous bug reports sent to Apple on the several serious issues found with PDFKit and we hope Apple addresses them in an upcoming point release.
So now I am totally confused. A big part of my digital life is built around being able to use my xi500 to scan to Evernote using the Scansnap Manager. I have, fortunately, not yet installed Sierra. I did install the Oct. 6 xi500 "fix" in anticipation of someday soon being able to upgrade to Sierra. Is it now safe to do so? I can't risk corrupting the hundreds of docs that I've scanned into Evernote over the last couple of years because I've shredded the original hard copies!
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2016-10-28 15:51
Honestly, you should ask ScanSnap support, since it's unclear how macOS 10.12.1 plays in as well.
Anonymous  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2016-10-28 19:06
As seen on Fujitsu: Link below 10/27/2016.

How to fix compatibility problems with ScanSnap on macOS Sierra..
What is your experience with the final FIX. Have you loaded Sierra yet? And if so, is ScanSnap operating safely?