Making use of Evernote, scanning and digitalization, the Trunk and changing PDF Reader

I have begun a (new) journey of digitalization, moving over the vast majority of the paper based household assets into a relevant electronic format. I guess we’ve all done this in spats, in the audio/visual arena – switching to CDs & DVDs  and going through the digitalization of photography too. But transforming household paper work into digital format, in a useful manner, I don’t think this has been really possible until recently (18-24 months).
Hang on, but scanners have been around for a lot longer. True, but where is the attraction or usability of having loads of files (pdfs – whatever) just stored one hard drive without, any useful meta data attributes, search function and with the vulnerability that if the hard drive blows (a higher risk than the house setting on fire) everything will be lost! So if you had scanned stuff in, I’m pretty certain the paper copy still stayed in the filing cabinet, and wasn’t introduced to the shredder.
When would you have a solution that provided a genuine opportunity to greatly diminish that aged collection of paper? But not lose that content, in fact increase:
  • its availability & accessibility (take it with you  – via mobile services, have it anywhere, sync with multiple devices)
  • its  usability (link it with other articles, context, through visible relationships across the documents)
  • its security (have your data backed up online, as well other security options (encrypted text) etc.)

But is this enough for you, to start to get rid of some of that paper you’ve got stored up? Or should I say, make it more useful and get some space back.

For me, this move has been made possible by having Evernote as digital repository and having decent scanner (it’s a printer too – HP Photosmart Premium All-in-one).  The key part being the software on the PC to interact with the device and then the application.
I’ve done a little research to find out what other tricks or tips there are about configuring scanning software to interact with Evernote.
1) This is a great post for Mac users : My scanning options don’t have the option of selecting another app – is that a Mac OSX thing?
2) @yorkie71 alerted me to this application – that seems to interact well with Evernote.
This is how I’ve streamlined the paper document > scan > add to Evernote process:
1) Set up import folders for Evernote via Tools > Import Folders
I have 1 root folder “Evernote” and then a sub folder by the name of each notebook
Therefore dropping files into that folder = dropping files into that Evernote notebook.
I set the import rules to delete the contents of the folder once imported into Evernote, so it keeps the hard drive tidy.
2) Configure the HP scanning software with a scanning shortcut (action) to place the finished scan into and Evernote import folder
It’s actually that easy! 🙂  Previously, I was cutting and pasting between folders as the scanning software dropped it elsewhere. Now I just      scan and then look in Evernote to add further details to the document (tags, adjust date of creation, author etc.).
Since Evernote launched “Trunk” I’ve been wondering if any of the additions would be useful or compelling enough for me to download and use.
This one caught my eye in the “Trunk” :
Nitro PDF Reader certainly got my attention.  I’ve used Adobe Acrobat Reader, as my PDF reader almost solidly throughout my involvement with computers.  I have had a brief dalliance with Foxit Software Reader but found (a previous version) to be buggy with the version of Windows Vista I was using at the time.  OK, they’ve both moved on, but impressions last.   However, I always been aware that Foxit continue to provide the PDF reader functionality within Evernote itself.  Though, with a lot of PDF partnerships, it makes me wonder if could change.
What impressed me about  Nitro PDF Reader? Well, that it has all these cool features that regular PDF readers don’t – see below.
But it also Evernote integration:
The integration is fairly basic at the moment – saves into the default notebook.  But as  Nitro PDF Reader can convert lots of electronic document formats into PDFs, with the annotation features, ribbon interface a la MS Office and Windows 7 jump list support – I’ve got a new best PDF Reader.
My tips for using Evernote:
  • Split your notes into as many notebooks as makes sense
  • I try and match top level tags, to each notebook, and keep tags unique within notebook
  • Don’t make the same notebook your default (delivery notebook) and shared publicly – unless that is your intention.
  • Make good use of the email-in functionality – evernote & email
  • Make use saved searches – I have today, yesterday and some choice tags
  • Learn the short hand, search codes.

Let me know what your tips are using Evernote?

Certainly this exercise in digitalization and growing use of Evernote is seriously making me consider moving to a premium account.
Download now or preview on posterous

Altered-Welcome.pdf (79 KB)


  1. Since the HP Photosmart Premium All-in-one is kind of a computer in a printer and is able to access the internet directly rather than having to go through a computer, wouldnt it be even better if you could scan to evernote without even needing a computer (or needing a computer to be turned on)?

    1. Hi, yes I would agree. Not sure if you have one? But there is already a “Snapfish” (photo printing) service built into the printer software packages. So it would only take the development of a software package upgrade to deliver the scans directly to Evernote. However, I find the import folder route perfectly acceptable, it means the document is in Evernote locally, and updated in terms of notebook | tags etc, before it syncs with Evernote in the “cloud”.

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  3. Hi, what is evernote and is it free to use. I noticed that I got evernote pre installed on my windows 7 notebook (Sony Vaio E Series). Would it be useful in any way. Can you please give a little brief about its uses, features and advantages of using it.

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