13/1/2013

Printing to Evernote

I’m a big Evernote user, using it a repository for many personal records that I need to have access to, but don’t want the paper clutter in my life (or my house or office). I scan most documents directly to a ScanSnap S1500M in my office, although when on-the-go I use a NeatReceipts scanner.

The PDFs generated are then moved on each computer (iMac in the office, Macbook Air on the go) using a series of Hazel automations to a Dropbox folder. From that folder, the files are then pulled into my Evernote Inbox notebook for processing. Sounds a little complex, but once setup it all happens seamlessly.

When I receive documents by email (including PDF attachments), I forward those documents directly to an Evernote email address that deposits the files directly to that same notebook. I also use Evernote’s Web Clipper to grab web pages I want to keep for archival records (not for later reading, which I simply use Instapaper for.

This gives me (almost) a single place to drop files for later filing. But I also get occasional other documents that I read on my Mac, but then I want to keep a PDF copy of in my records (regardless of the original format). In the non-App Store version (i.e. non-sandboxed) version of Evernote, I can simply use the Save PDF to Evernote option under the Print > PDF command. In the App Store (sanboxed) version of Evernote, you lose this option.

MacPowerUsers co-host Katie Floyd today made a post showing how this can easily be achieved:

The solution is simple, you need to create an alias to the Evernote application and drop it into ~/Library/PDF Services. (This is your users library folder for those of you unaware what the ~ means.) This can be a little tricky because is the ~/Library folder is hidden by default in OS X Lion and above. To see it you have to hold down the option key while selecting Go” in the finder and the Library will become an option. If the PDF Services Folder doesn’t exist, just create it but make sure you title it exactly that.

Another way to see the hidden files is to use the excellent TotalFinder app (recommended by Katie and co-host David Sparks in episode 106 of MacPowerUsers. Once you’ve installed TotalFinder, open up Finder Preferences, and go to the new TotalFinder pane. Then select the Tweaks tab, and check the Show System Files option. Then you’ve got permanent access to hidden system files. (Of course, with great power comes great responsibility). Don’t play around with system files unless you know absolutely what they are, and what you’re doing!

Ultimately, the goal is to capture your documents into an Evernote notebook. Once there, you can use your GTD processing step to move the documents into your reference folders, or of course, action them if there is an outstanding next action!


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