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Combine Evernote, a Scanner and Hazel to go paperless on your iPad!

Photo courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rvoegtli/

I wrote here and here about how to start using your iPad at work. The theme of the first post is to use Apple Notes to get accustomed to capturing information on your Tablet. The theme of the second is to transition from Apple Notes to Evernote as your library of notes grows on your iPad. This third post in the series has to do with paper, specifically how to efficiently utilize a non-Evernote-integrated desktop scanner, a Mac Utility called Hazel and some easy hacks to automatically store paper into Evernote. The resources I reference in this post apply the Mac, but I will link you to a resource that accomplishes the same process in Windows.

The biggest problem in going paperless with your iPad is all of that paper piling up in your office, your home, your car, etc. Your iPad is a great tool to interact with digital content, but it is only as good as the information you have access to electronically. And this is where all of the foundational work of going paperless comes in. The key to going paperless is to create process to easily and reliably get paper into an electronic form so that you can access this information with your iPad. And this is where David Sparks excellent book Paperless comes in. This post is not a review of his book, but rather an overview of one concept David writes about that has opened my eyes to the power of one-button scanning. David spends a lot of time talking about a few scanners that automatically scan to Evernote. Unfortunately I have none of the recommended scanners and no plans to drop the 200+ bucks to buy one. What I do have is a Canon MX892 multi-function printer I picked up at Costco for $100 a few weeks back. The beauty of the Canon like many other newer multi-function devices is that it has a multi-sheet loader capable of scanning a stack of paper. The Canon also has the ability to automatically store scanned documents into a defined location on your computer. David reviews this concept on Page 87 of his book. On this same page he references an excellent resource post written by Katie Floyd. Katies post details the exact process that I implemented for one button scanning.

Here are the requirements to use Katies process

  1. Mac
  2. Evernote
  3. A scanner that can be configured to automatically move scanned files to a specific location on your hard drive
  4. Hazel
  5. Katie’s script for Hazel

I varied Katie’s process a bit by creating a folder called “Actions” in my Dropbox account. The “Actions” folder concept is detailed extensively in David’s book on page 61. Check out this post for some other ideas on the “Actions” folder in Dropbox. You don’t need to name your folder in Dropbox “Actions”, but you do need to pick one folder that you will use to automate your scanning process.

David writes about Hazel!

Now that you have created the script you need to configure your home scanner to automatically store scans into your version of the “Actions” folder. If you can not find the instructions to do this on your own scanner you can replace this step by just scanning a document and then manually copying the file to your “Actions” folder.

Now that you have your system setup, here is the process to automatically create new notes in Evernote when you scan a document.

  1. Place document in your scanner
  2. Hit “Scan”
  3. File the new note in Evernote accordingly

That’s it! Have you used Hazel to automatically perform actions on your Mac?

If you do not have a Mac, Evernote has an automatic process that monitors folders and performs similar actions as Hazel. Check out this post on the Evernote knowledge base for more information.

Disclaimer: The link above to David’s book is an affiliate link. If you purchase the book after clicking my link I make a small commission, somewhere around $.50 or less. Conceptually this is no different than the margin a retailer earns when you buy something in a store. If you like the idea of Davids book, please click through and make the purchase.


[Quelle/Source (Link): tabletproductive]