The Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 is a well built document scanner with duplexing facilities.

In these times of slick installation routines, setting up the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 seemed to require more effort than usual.

Software has to be loaded from three different disks (the Fujitsu utilities, Adobe Acrobat, ABBYY FineReader), and there are few prompts to take you through the remaining steps. Thankfully, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 has a printed manual to help.

The better news is that, once up and running, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 is a breeze to use. Simply load it with paper (the ADF accepts up to 50 sheets), tap the green scan button, and leave the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 to do the rest. To test its speed, we loaded it with a collection of eight different letters and financial statements. The ScanSnap has duplexing, so it can scan both sides of a document, in effect increasing the number of pages in our test to 16. Scanning took just 26 seconds.

The default option is to have the pages simply tacked on to the ScanSnap Manager. You can then in effect view these as image files. However, it's with the more advanced options that the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 really shines. Scanned documents can be exported to Word, Excel or PowerPoint using ABBYY. It doesn't take long to fire up this option - our 16-page test bundle needed a minute and 29 seconds to be exported to Word.

For most purposes, the best option will be to convert documents into searchable PDF files. A full version of Adobe Acrobat 8.0 Standard is included, with which you can retain styles, full colour pictures and fancy fonts, and still have the ability to search text and pick out key words. We found the results with the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 are superb, and could quite imagine going through large collections of financial documents and magazines, and turning the contents into advanced PDFs.

Simple letters and statements are clearly the easiest to work with, but we found the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 worked wonderfully with business cards, printed images and glossy magazine articles (full page photos lost little of their sparkle, and there were no problems working with documents that combined glossy pictures with text).

Even several pages of musical notation were carefully rendered. However, you should probably steer clear of intricate pages filled with tiny text. We put through a page from the PC Advisor Top 5 Charts section, and found the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 struggled. While the resulting Adobe PDF file was fully searchable, making out the words themselves was frequently difficult. And exporting to Word produced poor results, turning out many errors.

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 looks very nice on the desk. Small but cute, it takes up little of your workspace, but is sure to attract adoring sighs from passers-by. Its simple design keeps faults to a minimum too. Only once did we manage to get a page jam, and this problem was resolved simply by lifting the front panel and removing the offending document.