Getting Rid of Paper with Evernote
I am a long time Evernote user. I’ve been using it since 2006, back when it was only a Windows client and there was no online service component. One of my favorite uses for Evernote is to get rid of paper. In this post I’ll show you some of the ways that I use Evernote to eliminate paper storage.
One of the great things about Evernote is its ability to automatically index images for text - including handwritten text. Combining that with a little organization skill, and liberal use of tags, makes finding scanned documents a breeze.
Since I’m self-employed I’m looking for any opportunities I can to save money. I’ve been scanning all my medical records, receipts, prescriptions etc. directly into Evernote. This allows me to gather them back up quickly at tax time so that I can itemize them and deduct them form my taxes.
Evernote makes it very convenient to be able to look up and access in any of your records and documents while on the road using your iOS, Android or other device. I’ve actually been able to look up a record and email it to the receptionist while standing in doctors office.
Of course one of my most common uses is to use the Evernote clipper on Mac or Windows. I also use the plug-ins available in my browser to quickly take a shot of anything that’s on the page. One of my most common uses is to copy of web order receipts. Basically anytime the screen comes with the option to ‘print for your records’, I just hit the Evernote button and send there instead. I like to tag my orders with an ‘orders’ tag so I can easily find them later.
There are several documents scanning applications available for iPhone, but JotNot is my favorite. JotNot turns your iPhone into a full-featured multipage document scanner. It allows you to use the high-resolution camera on your iPhone to scan documents as easy as taking a photo of them. It has features for cropping, straightening and also cleaning up the text to make it easily readable. Scanning a receipt with JotNot for example will give you a much cleaner and better result than just taking a photo of it within Evernote directly. It also works great for whiteboards. My favorite feature of course is that it will upload the scans directly to Evernote.
You can use just about any scanner and scanning software to get images into Evernote. Some scanning packages will even allow you to upload to Evernote directly which is much more convenient. I’ve been using Scandrop on Windows with my flatbed scanner to scan receipts and other documents directly to Evernote I without having to go through any other steps. It looks like the Windows version of scan drop is no longer available, however you can get a copy of the Mac version from the Mac App Store.
One little known trick in the Evernote for Windows client is called import folders. You can set up Evernote to monitor folders on your computer and it will automatically import any documents or images that you drop there. You can even set it to delete the file when it’s done importing. This is a great way to use Evernote to capture images that you might scan with other scanning software by just saving those images into the import folder. A power tip is to create an import folder in your Dropbox folder. This allows you to send images and documents from any dropbox related application and have them automatically imported into Evernote. Since my Windows machine is always on and always running Evernote, this means that I can send stuff to Evernote from Dropbox anywhere, including from my mac by just dropping into that monitored folder in dropbox. I’ve mentioned this trick before as part of my Video Journaling work flow.
One of my most favorite ways of getting information to Evernote is by using the email address that is provided with every Evernote account. I created a contact for that called John’s Evernote in my address book. Anytime I get emailed a receipt or other type of information that I want to hang on to, I just forward it to my Evernote address. Don’t forget the power tips that you can use on your email subject line such as using the ‘@’ symbol in order to direct the note at a particular notebook. You can also use the ‘#” (hash) symbol to specify tags on the subject line as well to be automatically added to the note.