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How do you locate software?

By CharlieSpencer ·
I have a project to replace an out-of-date software product we use with something else. I'm having trouble locating alternative applications. Obviously I could order the newest version of the same app from the vendor, but I'd like to see other programs that do the same thing.

How do you locate an application when you're looking for one? Yeah, I know you go to <<name of preferred search>>, but I'm having trouble separating the wheat from the cyberchaff. I have a list of required features, but I don't know how to pre-screen apps so I don't have to download and run them one at a time.

For those who want the gory details, the existing app is eCopy Desktop 7.1. We use it as a print driver to build .TIF ECO files from various original file formats and scanned images. We use it's Markup tool to indicate changes to originals, and it's Stamps tool to insert signatures and 'Approved' graphics. We also use it's integration with Outlook to forward the assembled / approved ECO in a rudimentary workflow system. We could upgrade it at $200 per user. I've tried MS Office Document Imaging but the Markup tools lack several capabilities we have in eCopy (no arrows, no boxes or rectangles, only free-form drawing, etc.) I looked at MS OneNote since I had a copy but discarded it as totally unsuited.

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Sounds to me like

by Dumphrey In reply to How do you locate softwar ...

upgrading your current solution is the ticket.
1)You know the interface.
2)Its part of the work flow.
3)You know it does the job.
4)$200 per person seems reasonable.

the only solution I can think of off the top of my head is Acrobat, but that would output PDF, and the Drawing tools are basic. Any other solution most likely will consist of several parts... the drawing and editing, and the output section.

At least thats my 2cent. You have specific needs, not outlandish by any means, but specific.

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Are you looking for an OCR type of solution?

by dawgit In reply to How do you locate softwar ...

or something else?

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Something else.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Are you looking for an OC ...

The eCopy Desktop tool we're currently using has OCR capability but we don't use it. We use it as a print driver to build one multi-page .TIF file from multiple sources: Word forms, scanned hand written forms, SAP screen prints, blueprints in .PDF format. Then we use the 'mark up' tools to mark up the .TIF pages with proposed changes to the drawings, text, or inserted graphics. Think of it as a cross between the Paint on steroids and the old Office Binder. The advantage to the .TIF format is I don't have to put eCopy Desktop everywhere or find a viewer app for users who don't have it.

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by dawgit In reply to Something else.

I was thinking of I.R.I.S. [ ] which is primarily OCR. It does do at least some (if not most) of that (that I know of) but, I don't know if it fits your uses or not. It can get rather costly though, it's sort of the Cadilac of OCR related Software. I remember seeing something from IBM, about them having the 'all' to do what you want. That would of course, mean buying into something rather big, I would think.

I know what you mean by useing .tif, It's great for getting CAD info out, as is .pdf. Which reminds me. At the last Exhibition here for Machine (and CAD) Engineering, the Solidworks Rep. had told me to look into Adobie, as they had a special Set-up for the CAD programs. (Acrobat 3D) but again, not the whole package you're looking for.

If I come up with some better and solid info, I'll let you know. -d
(spool-chucker at work)

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What about...

by CaptBilly1Eye In reply to Something else.

...using a free PDF virtual printer driver like PDF995?
Just a thought.

...just can't edit it afterward.

Other than that, I have used one good, inexpensive print-to-TIFF program that I could recommend - Joy Image Printer:

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.PDF files probably not useful.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to What about...

The .TIF file will be sent to at least three people. Each will indicate his approval of the proposed changes by using the 'mark up' tool to insert a .TIF signature "stamp" before forwarding it to the next approver. If rejected, the approver will use a text tool to insert a box with his suggestion for changes or reason for rejection. Additionally, each reviewer may need to add additional pages to the file. Editing is a requirement, so I don't think a .PDF format will work.

Regarding Joy Image Printer, MS Office Document Imaging will handle the "print to .tif" issue. I'm having trouble locating a tool to mark up the images. I'd like one tool to do both, but I'll settle for two if I have to.

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by seanferd In reply to .PDF files probably not u ...
Mmay have solutions suited to your needs. I didn't see DWG files mentioned.
edit for: ddidn't

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by CharlieSpencer In reply to Perhaps

The PDFMarkup product looks worth investigating. But how did you locate this in the first place?

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by Jaqui In reply to How do you locate softwar ...

I open the package manager and read the list for the area I'm looking to fill.
if nothing there suits, I hit freshmeat and search their database. Then pick the apps to download and test after reading the decriptions.

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Thanks, I thnk.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to me?

It would have been nice to know freshmeat only lists *nix software. I spent half an hour reading the "How to use" and other FAQs before I learned they don't list Windows software. They do mention why they don't, and that there are plenty of sites listing Windows software. I wish they would have included links to some of them.

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