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I'm looking for a receipt scanner which can scan very long receipts (up to 30 feet long) and produce a single image or PDF. Ideally it would have Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and produce a PDF with the text information (for example, you would be able to search for words when you open the PDF in something like Adobe Acrobat, or you could extract the text content into a .txt file using separate software).

Since I don't want it for the purpose of using with software like Neat, I'd rather not pay extra money for included software like that, if possible.

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I've done this with a common Epson multifunction that has a document feeder. Receipts are a legal relic because they're entirely dependent on the belief they can't be fabricated well, so you'll get stupid requests like being told you need to scan in the full receipt but not cut it into segments. Obviously, if given that limitation, you'd normally have to fold it and scan in each segment using the scanner bed.

Which is stupid, because then you get the same result, it just takes more time. Think about it; how would a 30-foot x 3 inch document look on a laptop display? The answer is, "like a white line down the middle of the screen". It will also take up a massive amount of graphics memory unless the quality is particularly low, in which case the text would zoom poorly and you'd have a new problem.

You can also obtain your own printer and print a receipt for anything anywhere, saying whatever you want, if you're that nefarious individual who keeps returning Nerf guns without the bullets or whatever.

My solutions have varied by demand:

  1. My ex-wife hid income from the IRS, and they demanded receipts for my deductions I took for that tax year because she moved out to the boonies and went off-grid after the divorce. My attorney wanted the uncut receipts scanned in. I cut them into 14-inch lengths, loaded them into the document feeder, and then Photoshopped them back together.
  2. I worked for a company that required we pay for a lot of things on our own and just reimbursed us. They wanted the original, uncut receipts, but it was honestly an awful job and they would claim we never sent receipts when we did. If we sent them cut or folded to fit in the envelope, they'd say they were invalid. Either way, we'd no longer have the receipt and couldn't say anything else about it. I paid for a cheap receipt printer online and got the thermal toner and roll for it. Then I did the trick from #1 and provided endless streams of "original but abbreviated-format" receipts until I stopped having that problem from the company, as I had convinced them I had contacted the other businesses involved to continually request copies that could fit into interdepartmental envelopes without folding.
  3. This one fits your OCR demand. I needed the receipts to come in and easily have values dropped into Excel tables. I wanted them to go straight in, not just get dumped into a Word file and leave me to parse (that would not have saved time at all). For that purpose, I used a product similar to (but not the same as) this Pen Scanner. It's tedious, but it worked.

In the end, it's a matter of "any scanner". The nature of receipts has rendered the need for a massively belt-fed receipt scanner relatively obsolete. The Fujitsu ScanSnap can manage up to 30 inches.

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  • So basically you're telling me this doesn't exist? May 9 '18 at 13:32
  • Correct. Even large format scanners don't go much over 17". This Link may give you options for scanners that will get you the OCR features you want.
    – CDove
    May 9 '18 at 13:36
  • @Marathon55 (Just so you get notification of the conversation) Maybe I'm missing something, but what I'm hearing is that any scanner that's not a flatbed might work but you don't know of any?
    – JMY1000
    Jun 23 '18 at 5:10
  • @Marathon55 My Brother portable scanner can scan up to 30" without breaking; so 17" is definitely too small an estimate. It also has OCR, and can produce a single PDF with several 30"-pages. Let me know if I should post that as an answer. Now then, I haven't tried any other scanners, this is just the one that I have.
    – Alex
    Nov 13 '18 at 13:16

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