Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a bit of a fanatic when it comes to Evernote
So this section of my website will be devoted to tips and tricks that I’ve learned or developed, or ideas that other people have written about that help to truly unleash Evernote’s full potential as a productivity tool. I plan to add to this section regularly, so check back periodically for new information.
There are 2 main sections. The first is links to blogs I feel give a lot of great tips for Evernote. Rather than letting this section grow to an unwieldy size by adding more and more links, I’m keeping it small and changing the links as I see fit.
The second section was initially intended to highlight hardware and software that also boosts the productivity of Evernote. But that’s not what happened. Any software addons that are great are discussed in Evernote’s blog…so it didn’t seem to make sense to write more here.
In the hardware realm, Evernote, through their marketplace tried to adapt or create hardware tools that complemented their core product. But, in reality, most of these never took off because they either had technical problems or their ‘added value’ just wasn’t significant enough to garner wide adoption.
I said most because there was one exceptional standout…the Evernote or Fujitsu scanner. There are 2 models of the scanner now and both are sold on Amazon. Both offer huge benefits, so the hardware section I’ve renamed to Evernote Scanner Alternatives.
I. Links to Blogs About Evernote
Evernote’s staff members are all enthusiastic users of Evernote, and can be great sources of information. Many staff members write occasional blog pieces on how to use various features of Evernote, or they share novel ways that they use Evernote to help keep their lives organized.
Here are links to a few of my recent favorites:
How Evernote Changed the Way I Work as a Historian Calum W. White is a historian student who’s studying for a DPhil in History at Oxford. In this post he demonstrates Evernote’s exceptionally robust document camera, which acts as a full-fledged scanner, but is unusual because it works quickly and easily right within the app, so it can be used ‘on the fly.’ It’s a feature I use often but have never been able to write about as well as he has in this article.
Passing Notes: Idea to Delivery, in a Single Note Jeremy Brand Yuan gives a great brief description of his daily work flow. He includes links to features and apps he uses in conjunction with Evernote.
Scannable: The Best Way to Move Paper Forward Jeremy’s blog above mentions Scannable, which is a relatively new Evernote app for scanning data easily and beautifully into Evernote. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this app so I thought I’d include a separate link for it as well.
I.V. (or 1 1/2) Evernote’s inApp Scanner
The ios app for Evernote includea a free tool which is perhaps the best mobile scanner I’ve ever used! So I decided to insert a little section about it too. What’s so awesome about the inApp scanner is that it’s all automatic…if you just stand still and point your cellphone at a document (and keep it still) the scanner fires off the camera and does an OCR conversion which tuns the photo into an actual document! It’s pretty amazing!
II. Evernote Scanner Alternatives
This is Evernote’s version of Fujitisu’s ScanSnap Scanner
Improve Evernote’s Productivity Using a High-Speed Scanner | 2 Good Alternatives
Links to Both Scanners Sold on Amazon…they are the same price now $400:
*A Comparison of 2 Similar Scanners:
Evernote’s dedicated ScanSnap Evernote Edition ScanSnap Scanner versus Fujitsu’s stock scanner (which has a broader range of uses) Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner. I was surprised to discover that both scanners happen to be the exact same one hardware-wise. What differentiates the 2 is the built-in software on Evernote’s dedicated version (and the Evernote Logo printed on the cover!)
The Evernote Scanner by Fujitsu, was introduced in 2014 through Evernote’s Market Place for the initial price of $495. Today (in Sept. 2016,) Evernote no longer sells this scanner directly…they’ve sold the rights to distribute it to Amazon and the price has dropped to roughly $400…although like everything on Amazon the price goes up and down a little frequently.
Evernote’s version is the scanner that I originally asked for for my birthday a few years back. I’d researched it a lot (mostly trying to cost justify the $500 price which seemed steep to me.) I decided that I really, really wanted this scanner. I researched the price aspect a lot too and surprisingly ended up finding it on Amazon for $420. That’s the scanner that I decided to purchase because it was $80 less.
Unbeknownst to me and apparently almost everyone who bought these at the time, this wasn’t actually the same scanner.
The Evernote scanner previously sold on their marketplace was, and still is, a special one made by Fujitsu specifically for the Evernote Corporation.
What I bought was an almost identical scanner referred to as the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner (it’s $399 in September 2016) which I paid $420 for.
My model ended up being the ‘non-Evernote branded’ version. This was Fujitsu’s own model and it actually had many more features available and a much broader range of uses than the Evernote version did…all for a lower price too! Mine came bundled with tons of great software like a full version of Adobe Acrobat which gave me all the creation and editing tools necessary for working with PFDs.
Buying This Scanner Began as One of My Most Frustrating Purchases Ever! But the End Result Was Well Worth It!
If you read through the following paragraphs you’ll learn what not to do. Below everything there’s a link to the correct setup* instructions for the Non-Evernote version of this scanner. This should save you a lot of time and confusion if that still surrounds the two alternative forms of this scanner.
How My Own Experience Setting Up the Scanner Revealed the Truth…I’d Purchased the Wrong One
Unfortunately at the time of my order, I didn’t yet know that there were really 2 separate products. Upon receiving mine, I went to Evernote’s instructions online for setting up the scanner. But I couldn’t follow their steps. I don’t remember exactly what the problem was that I encountered, but the scanners were just a little bit different, and Evernote’s steps told me to do things that simply were not possible with the options I had available to me onscreen.
After a frustrating few hours I finally figured out the problem…the Fujitsu scanner didn’t have the built in interface to Evernote that the Evernote dedicated scanner does…which is how I realized that I’d purchased the wrong one.
That led to more research and more frustration as I tried to figure out the features and full capabilities of each version. At least I learned that I wasn’t alone in being utterly flummoxed ! After a few days worth of research I ultimately decided to stick with the model I’d chosen for the reasons outlined below.
The Major Differences Between the 2 Scanners
- The Evernote version is designed to be simple to use with Evernote. It automatically tags and file scans for you.
- The Evernote version, at that time, only allowed scanning to Evernote (there was talk of changing this but the last time that I checked this restriction still applied.)
- The Evernote version includes a year’s subscription to Evernote Premium ($45 currently but going up in 2016)
- The Fujitsu version can automatically send scans to many different applications, including Evernote
- The Fujitsu version includes a complete copy of Adobe Acrobat for Windows (valued at $150 in 2014). Acrobat allows you to create and edit PDF’s.
- The Most Important Feature to Me is that the Fujitsu version can be used with mobile devices, meaning iPads and Android tablets and phones. I never need to turn on my computer!
The significance of the differences between the 2 scanners ended being huge for me. Essentially, the Evernote scanner was designed to automatically make several functions of scanning to Evernote fast and easy. Tagging and auto-filing 4 separate document types…documents, business cards, receipts, and photographs.
I really thought that I wanted this capability…but in fact soon realized that this would require me to redesign the heirarchy of my notebooks. I file each of the 4 document types into many different notebooks therefore I would still need to manually move scans after the scanner auto-filed into one of these 4 notebooks. This is because Evernote’s auto-filing feature requires that you specify one notebook for each document type. Thus I found that the auto-filing feature that I thought I really wanted would really only be marginally useful for me.
I didn’t really see how I would use auto-tagging to any great degree….although I’ll be the first to admit that my use and expertise of tagging (for anything other than searching) is limited, at best. There’s a lot of power behind tags in Evernote, and many people have written about sophisticated automation strategies and structures they designed which rely upon tags, but I’ve never quite had the time to get into this aspect in any great detail (although I may need to in the future because I recently discovered that there is a maximum limit to the number of notebooks one user is allowed in Evernote, which is 250 notebooks.)
More Detail About Tagging & Evernote’s System Size Limits
Evernote has built in limits for a few things like how large one note can be, how many notebooks one user account is allowed, and how many tags they can have in total. Currently, for Premium users, the limit for number of notebooks is 250…I actually reached this limit a few weeks ago. The limit for tags is 100,000 total per account and 100 per note…thus making this an obvious strategy for investigation in addressing my current dilemma. Upon discovering the 250 limit, which I was really shocked to discover, I learned that others facing the same dilemma learned to use tags in a way that helped them to significantly reduce their total notebook count.
Test Driving the Fujitsu Scanner
After I realized that I probably wouldn’t really use the automatic processing that the Evernote version provided, I decided to install and test out the Fujitsu version that I had purchased.
I Discovered That I Loved It!
Here are the things I love most about this scanner. I love that I can scan from any iPad, iPhone or Android device whenever I want to. It’s really fast because I just open the cover and grab what ever mobile device happens to be close by. I have Fujitsu’s ScanSnap app on every device I use as well as my husbands too. I just open the app and tap on the ‘Scan’ option…or I can press the big Scan button on the scanner itself too. But I still need to open the app that see my scan and to send it to where I want it to go. Usually I email the scan to someone, but often I send it to Evernote too or instead. I can also send it to Google Drive, Drop Box or One Drive almost instantaneously too.
Speed and ease of use are probably the two things I love the most. I usually keep the scanner settings set to Automatic so it will auto-adjust for whatever is appropriate for the current scan. But if I want to push the scan resolution up for a photograph or only scan one side of a two sided document, I can manually override the auto settings too. There hasn’t been one thing that I’ve found annoying so far…and I’ve had it for 3 years now! The scanner continues to operate and even looks like its still brand new! Better still is that Fujitsu continues to improve its functionality via software updates. So now all the documents that I scan can be saved to iCloud too…as well as Evernote’s cloud, Drop Boxes, Google Drives, and One Drives clouds too…that’s a lot of clouds!
Links to the ScanSnap ios app and the Google Play Store app
One last thing I love about mine (I don’t know if Evernote’s version includes this.) Mine came with a carrier sheet. I can use the carrier sheet to scan in oversized documents…things like newspapers…quickly and easily too! But I do not know if the current version sold on Amazon includes this…so I would check.
Those people that bought the Evernote version were really frustrated that they couldn’t do all of the things that the stock Fujitisu one does…so slowly Evernote has been working on getting more functions to work. At the time of this writing it appears that the Evernote version can finally scan without needing a computer if you download the Scannable app..which is Evernote’s scanning app that they developed for people to use to easily scan documents into Evernote. I’ve never used Scannable because the ios version of Evernote includes an excellent in-app scanning utility that’s all automatic and super easy to use. So I never really understood why Evernote developed the Scannable app…it’s not needed. Now I see why…it’s needed by those who purchase the Evernote version of this scanner!
Here’s a link to a short comparison that Evernote includes which frankly I hesitate to give you because it’s very inaccurate! But for the sake of thouroughness I decided to include it anyway. Just know that almost all of the advantages Evernote mentions are actually advantages of the Fijitsu model too. The only things the Fujitsu scanner doesn’t do are those which are specific to Evernote…like business card scanning. But even here, if I scan business cards…when I send them to Evernote fro the scanner… But Evernote recognizes them as such and stores them in their unique business card format too…so I don’t really see a difference here either!
I really love everything about this scanner except the part about setting it up initially. That was a little confusing even if you ignore the problems I encountered because I thought I had purchased the Evernote version. In retrospect, my process was more cumbersome too because I installed almost all of the bundled software that mine came with too. Things like Adobe Acrobat..but there were several more…I installed almost everything because I didn’t know what I would need. The bundled package I bought is no longer available…so that should make setup faster.
The key thing that you should know about setup is that you need to follow the correct order of installing software and then connecting the scanner. Also, that you need to connect the scanner to a computer initially to get it up and running…even if you never plan on using it with a computer after that.
Note About Amazon Associates Program – Recently I joined the Amazon Associates program (in mid 2016.) What does this mean to you? It means that as I’m updating links in my posts, I’m using new product links with my associate ID tagged to them in the hopes that if someone were to actually decide to purchase a 👁🗨scanner, I’d receive a very small commission (4% I think) for my referral. It’s Amazons way of thanking me for leading customers to the correct product and it doesn’t adversely impact the product’s price in any way.
👁🗨Guess what! Someone did decide to buy a scanner! So now I can tell you what exactly what the commission is…it’s $12!