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Evernote as a Replacement for Paperport?

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#1 blackcows

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 11:43 AM

About 2 years ago I went paperless using Paperport as my digital file cabinet, it has served my well for several years but I am looking for a change and that has lead me to Evernote. I would have to say I am a closet computer geek and also a type A person....I love organization. I also understand that as my life becomes more digital I have more of a need to have information in the cloud from both an accesability and a backup standpoint. I am a Evernotes Premium user.

A few things I like about Evernote compared to Paperport; EN has a much better user interface, it appears to have regular updates, an active user forum, lots of add ins, an active user base, tags that are easy to use, programs for my Android and iPad, the ability to keep information in the cloud....in general it is new and fresh, Paperport seems to be old and washed up. The newest version of PP is expensive and not much different than the older version I currently have.

I have begun to make the change over and have a few questions:

1. Is there a local copy of my files in the file structure (notebooks) that I have established? While I do like the fact that my information is in the cloud and that EN has multiple copies of the data I am having a little trouble giving up control of my data. From some searches it appears that there is a way to back up my database locally but what would really make me feel better is if there is a place I can go on my hard drive and see each individual note....is that possible? In other words if I add kidsbasketballschedule.pdf to EN and delete it from PP is there anywhere I can go on my hard drive and actually see the file kidsbasketballschedule.pdf?

2. If I add an Office document to EN is the document actually saved or is it just a marker to a location on my hard drive? I keep my active documents on my hard drive but I have some older Word and Excel files that I no longer use but would like to keep and have used Paperport to do this in the past. I would like to move them to the cloud but would like to know that if I wanted to modify them in 10 years for whatever reason I would have a useable file and not a marker to a location that was long since gone.

Thanks for the help.

Mike

#2 Owyn

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 01:15 PM

1. Is there a local copy of my files in the file structure (notebooks) that I have established?

An evernote notebook is actually an attribute of a note. While notebooks and stacks may look like folders they are really views of your database. Files that have been attached to notes may or may not still exist in your local file system, however, if Evernote needs to provide a copy of the file for an external application then it is created as a temporary file.

While I do like the fact that my information is in the cloud and that EN has multiple copies of the data I am having a little trouble giving up control of my data. From some searches it appears that there is a way to back up my database locally but what would really make me feel better is if there is a place I can go on my hard drive and see each individual note....is that possible? In other words if I add kidsbasketballschedule.pdf to EN and delete it from PP is there anywhere I can go on my hard drive and actually see the file kidsbasketballschedule.pdf?

Tools -> Options -> General -> Open database folder
.exb is your Evernote for Windows database.

2. If I add an Office document to EN is the document actually saved or is it just a marker to a location on my hard drive? I keep my active documents on my hard drive but I have some older Word and Excel files that I no longer use but would like to keep and have used Paperport to do this in the past. I would like to move them to the cloud but would like to know that if I wanted to modify them in 10 years for whatever reason I would have a useable file and not a marker to a location that was long since gone.

It is saved/embedded in the note.
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#3 GrumpyMonkey

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 01:17 PM

1. Is there a local copy of my files in the file structure (notebooks) that I have established?

Yes. I don't know where it is on Windows. But, it exists. Hopefully, one of the PC guys will chime in and give the location. You cannot rummage about in it for specific files, though. Evernote is the only app that can read the file (as far as I know). If you want, you can always export files from Evernote.

2. If I add an Office document to EN is the document actually saved or is it just a marker to a location on my hard drive? I keep my active documents on my hard drive but I have some older Word and Excel files that I no longer use but would like to keep and have used Paperport to do this in the past. I would like to move them to the cloud but would like to know that if I wanted to modify them in 10 years for whatever reason I would have a useable file and not a marker to a location that was long since gone.

It is saved in EN servers and put into that EN file on your hard drive. It is not just a link to the file, but a separate copy independent of the original. Evernote sticks them into a "note" (everything in it is a "note"), and you can take out the file and make changes in it later if you want. The ability to store tons of data is one reason I became a premium member.

#4 blackcows

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 01:56 PM

Ok....so I understand it a bit more than I did before. Unlike Paperport where I would access a file directly EN is a "Note" with a file attached much like an Outlook email with a file attached.

So is EN a viable digital file cabinet for PDFs or am I trying to use it for something it wasn't intended to be used for? One thing I really appreciated about PP is that it used the windows file stucture....I could view my "digital file cabinet" from within PP or if I didn't want to do that I could see the same files and file structure using Windows File Explorer. As I said in my first post EN has so many possitives compared to PP that I would like to move all my digital files to EN but I am a bit concerend about giving up control.

Mike

#5 BurgersNFries

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 02:22 PM

1. Is there a local copy of my files in the file structure (notebooks) that I have established? While I do like the fact that my information is in the cloud and that EN has multiple copies of the data I am having a little trouble giving up control of my data. From some searches it appears that there is a way to back up my database locally but what would really make me feel better is if there is a place I can go on my hard drive and see each individual note....


Regarding Evernote & multiple copies of your data...to clarify:

The only "copies" of your data that Evernote inherently has is the note history that you are privy to as a Premium user. However, note history is only taken once about every 8 hours. And, it's on the EN servers. The history does not exist in your EN Windows client database. At least I'm fairly certain of that b/c when I pulled note history once, it had to connect to the EN servers to get it. Not that this is a bad thing, just something to be aware of in case you want/need to pull note history & don't have internet access.

When using a desktop client (IE Mac/Windows), Evernote does keep the database on your computer sync'd with the EN servers at the time interval you specify in the client. Or, if you manually initiate a sync. But that's only for notes in sync'd notebooks. Again, not that that's a bad thing, just something to be aware of.

The EN Windows client stores all the data in a single database. So, unless you are comfortable delving into a SQL database (IIRC, MySQL), the attachments are not accessible from outside the EN app. Sometimes there are remnants of data remaining in the temp/work files EN uses. But you shouldn't plan on using that method to access an attachment outside of the EN app.

I have used Paperport for ~6 years & recently upgraded from 12 to 14 (pro) & like it much better than 12. I still use PP as my main scanning software & save the files to my hard drive. Then, anything that is not sensitive data and is under 50 mg normally gets added to Evernote, too. If it's sensitive data & I want it in EN, I encrypt the pdf with a password. If it's over 50 mb, I make a note in Evernote about the doc along with a link to it's location. I prefer to not have all my "eggs in one basket" as far as backups go, so that's why I still store my docs on my hard drive. The hard drive then gets regularly backed up to another hard drive & nightly, to my true backup cloud, Amazon S3 servers via Jungle Disk. I keep some things in Paperport that are not in Evernote (IE bank, investment & credit card statements) and some things in EN that are not in Paperport (IE intersting notes & articles I find on the web or notes about how to do certain things in my software apps, etc.) But for the many docs that are in both Paperport & Evernote, I like knowing if I can't access it from one app (for whatever reason) that I can access it from the other.

I also backup my EN Windows client database regularly for a few reasons. First, it does give me another layer of "backup" in case I muff up an important note, assuming, of course, that note was fairly current in my backup. Second, I often have local/non-sync'd notes. Since those are not sync'd to the EN servers, having a backup of my EN database is essential. Third, my EN database is over 15 gigs & ~90% of that is sync'd notes. If my hard drive fails, once it's replaced, I can start with a new/empty EN database & pull all my sync'd notes down from the EN servers. But that will take several hours. OTOH, if I have a current backup, I can spend a few minutes copying that over & then another few minutes sync'ing (to get it current) & then I'm good to go.

In other words if I add kidsbasketballschedule.pdf to EN and delete it from PP is there anywhere I can go on my hard drive and actually see the file kidsbasketballschedule.pdf?


If you put the PDF into an import/watched folder (please search the board on the topic, if you need more info), the title will default to the file name. So you could simply search on the phrase 'kidsbasketballschedule' & find it. However, you may not remember the exact file name you used, so I would suggest naming the file "kids basketball schedule YYYY.pdf". Then you can search on the words basketball schedule along with the year to find the current one. My habit is to name the PDF what I want the title to be, including spaces. Saves the time of having to edit the title. My workflow is to scan with PP, review the doc to rotate pages, if necessary, then copy the doc to my import/watched folder to get it into EN. Then, in EN, I add any tags/keywords & move it to the appropriate notebook.
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#6 gazumped

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 03:04 PM

... EN is a "Note" with a file attached much like an Outlook email with a file attached.


Not sure if this was covered in previous responses - embedded / attached files of up to 25MB(free) / 50MB (premium) can show as

links: - you can leave the file on a drive somewhere and just link to the location on your system. This means you have no external backup other than what you can arrange locally, and the file is not available elsewhere than on your system. The contents of the file are not indexed. (The size limit doesn't apply here as the file is not held within the database.)

icons: - means the file is part of the EN database, can be opened, updated and saved back into the database via the link, and will be available on the web or via an "offline" notebook. The contents of the file are still not indexed, but the title (ie whatever shows in the note) is.

content: - means the file will show it's full content. This can be a PDF file or a picture. For prem users the contents of the file will be OCR'd and indexed (PDFs up to 100pp or 25MB[?]) unless you have already OCR'd the file and it has an existing text layer which can be indexed.

In the interests of finding the correct file quickly and not polluting your index with thousands of mainly irrelevant hits, you may want to create "Archive" or "Cutting" notebooks which are self-explanatory. Otherwise it can be difficult to sort out your day to day bills and correspondence from the last 10 years' worth of other "useful" information.

As you may have seen, Evernote do have an avowed policy that what you save in the system is your data and that they won't make it difficult or expensive to access or remove the information if you decide to do so. As you (rightly) seem to be a highly cautious individual as regards said data, I'd suggest you try out the system - run it alongside whatever else you do for a month or two - before committing.

At the end of the day there is no definitive right or wrong answer for your specific needs, only the one that you're comfortable with. And there's always help around (including when you don't need it...)

8)

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#7 blackcows

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 03:05 PM

BurgersNFries,

Thanks for the detailed reply....I actually name all of my pdfs "YYMMDD File Name" so that I can find them when needed.

So with over 5,000 posts you are obviously a big fan of EN, do you feel comfortable with them having control of you data? I really like the program but I am struggling a bit with that. I do understand the reason for your workflow and it makes sence to me but like most people time is very much a commodity for me with 3 kids, work, etc and I am working on simplfying my digital life while keeping it secure and in sync using as few tools as possible. I would prefer to dump PP and just use EN if at all possible.

Is you concern about uploading sensative data specific to something or just a general concern about letting that data out of you hands?

What I envision is using EN as my only digital file cabinet. Some time on the forum led me to BullZip which I have installed as a printer which print to a file on my desktop which I have set to import into EN. I also plan on adding a similar folder to PP and still using the program to scan but not to store. Basically I would tun it all over to EN.....bad idea?

Mike

#8 blackcows

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 03:12 PM

As you may have seen, Evernote do have an avowed policy that what you save in the system is your data and that they won't make it difficult or expensive to access or remove the information if you decide to do so. As you (rightly) seem to be a highly cautious individual as regards said data, I'd suggest you try out the system - run it alongside whatever else you do for a month or two - before committing.
8)


I hadn't seen that policy so that does make me feel a bit better and actually the more I think about it the more I realize that a lot of programs that I use everyday do control my data....Not sure I could access my Roboform data without Roboform, my Outlook data without Outlook, my Quicken data without Quicken...etc.

How "big" is EN....is it a company that is here to stay with tens of thousands of users?

Mike

#9 jbenson2

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 03:19 PM

How "big" is EN....is it a company that is here to stay with tens of thousands of users?


Here is some info on Evernote, the company:
http://blog.evernote...nding-with-faq/

You will find more info on Evernote if you google "Evernote and 100 years"

#10 BurgersNFries

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 03:52 PM

do you feel comfortable with them having control of you data? I really like the program but I am struggling a bit with that. I do understand the reason for your workflow and it makes sence to me but like most people time is very much a commodity for me with 3 kids, work, etc and I am working on simplfying my digital life while keeping it secure and in sync using as few tools as possible. I would prefer to dump PP and just use EN if at all possible.


I don't feel EN has control of my data. As long as I can run EN desktop on my computer, I have control of my data. EN just helps me keep it organized & easily retrieved. :)

My concern with only using EN is that I've been dependent upon computers in my personal life for over 15 years. Although I've been diligent (most of the time) about backing up my data, I've run into problems over the years with actually trying to RESTORE my backed up data. IE, the restored file is corrupted or the tape/zip drive runs off a serial port & the new computer doesn't have one (yeah, you can work around that but still...) or the restore software isn't compatible with the new OS, blah, blah, blah. I do think the industry has recognized this & moved away from these limitations (IE USB ports) & Evernote is one such example. But since I rely so much on my digital data, I just feel better with having options. It's no reflection upon Evernote or Amazon/Jungle Disk. In fact, if I had any doubts about either of them, I would not be using them. My motto is a girl can never be too rich, too thin or have too many backups. :D And yes, there is some extra time spent on my workflow but really not that much per document. We're probably talking seconds per each document.

Is you concern about uploading sensative data specific to something or just a general concern about letting that data out of you hands?


Please see this post.

What I envision is using EN as my only digital file cabinet. Some time on the forum led me to BullZip which I have installed as a printer which print to a file on my desktop which I have set to import into EN. I also plan on adding a similar folder to PP and still using the program to scan but not to store. Basically I would tun it all over to EN.....bad idea?


Only you can decide that. Personally, as I've said earlier in this thread & expounded upon above in this post, I just don't like keeping important stuff in just one place. Makes my skin crawl. :lol:
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#11 BurgersNFries

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 03:58 PM

How "big" is EN....is it a company that is here to stay with tens of thousands of users?


Of course, no one can say for certain. But if you search reliable tech ezines, you'll see EN is well respected. The last I knew, a month or two ago, they had 12 million users. At the rate they were increasing crazy. So I'd guess it's more like 14-15 million at this point. Technically speaking, I don't know if users = accounts or if it's active accounts. Either way, that's a lot. They also recently bought Skitch. You can find more on the company from their blog (http://blog.evernote.com/) or simply Googling their name & the word million. :D

Although I've never met any of the EN folks in real life, I've dealt with a few of them one on one when I've either had problems or was doing beta testing. IME, they are a fine, bunch & I respect them & am happy they are at the helm.
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#12 BurgersNFries

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 04:10 PM

Ironically, an example of why I dislike having important data in just one place just happened. I went to a genealogy site (web based) that my family uses. I wanted to look up a date b/c I think today is a significant date. Alas, the Geni site is currently down for ~30 minutes for maintenance. However, since I have the info also on my desktop in my genealogy software, I opened that up & was able to confirm the date.
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#13 GrumpyMonkey

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 09:53 PM

Evernote does not control my information. They have it, of course, but it's not like they have the only copy. i regularly export the notes (EN makes this easy) and save them, so even if my computer got destroyed in a fit of rage, or EN servers got taken out by anonymous, i still have backups of all my data in a few different locations. it would be difficult for me to actually lose something important.

EN is a great place to store pdfs. I must have hundreds in there by now. it's a fabulous way to stay organized and keep your data accessible. like others have said, though, i never rely on any one program / computer / backup drive to hold all of my data. redundancy is a good thing when it comes to preservation.

#14 gazumped

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 02:01 PM

For information, I have a "reference" folder of around 1,000 PDFs on my windows machine, with about half in a folder tree that breaks them down into subjects and topics so they're [supposed to be] easily findable. The others are in one folder and represent all the PDFs I haven't gotten around to cataloging yet. There are a fair number of duplications because some files were repeated in emails and two or three copies wound up in different folders because the content didn't classify easily.

I have some desktop search software that will look inside various file types including PDF, and you'd think that with a tree layout and context searches I could find any information easily and quickly. However the PDF titles often don't reflect the content, I may know I have a certain file, but then I have to remember where I saved it, and context searches often generate dozens of hits which my desktop search package takes forever to display in sufficient detail to find the right one. And in some cases I moved a copy to a project folder because it was relevant, or some such.

There's research out there somewhere which shows a ridiculously high percentage of information gets shared out but never found again in the location it was first posted - even by the author, who may have to dig into backups to find the original file(s). (Come on now, admit it - we've all had that hugely important spreadsheet that you know you finished and filed in folder X, but you have to redo some or all of the content from another file because a mini black hole somehow ate the original..)

I fully intend to commit the PDFs to Evernote, in most cases as stand alone notes. The search options and speeds are better than my current choices, and since the note structure will be "flat" rather than the complicated tree I now have, there's a much better chance of spotting dups. Any multi-subject files will get multi-tagged, so I don't need duplicates at all. And I'll work through the AEI890445.PDF-style names with something more meaningful as time permits.

I'll keep backups of course, and the backup times for my laptop and drives will plummet because all that content is off to the cloud.

(Dear EN guys - don't panic, they're not coming all at once or anytime soon; I'll OCR locally and anyway I have other data to fry first.. :) )

My point here though, is that Evernote is the optimum solution for this sort of reference data in that it is reliable (on experience so far), resilient (within very reasonable limits) and pretty quick in terms of lookup times. I dare say there will be development to make it faster, and reasons why it will run slower from time to time.

The upsides are considerable, and none of the potential downsides are deal breakers, provided users exercise reasonable common sense in terms of backups, security and taxonomy.

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#15 Owyn

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 02:28 PM

in most cases as stand alone notes

Ditto.

The upsides are considerable, and none of the potential downsides are deal breakers, provided users exercise reasonable common sense in terms of backups, security and taxonomy.

Agreed.
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#16 BurgersNFries

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 02:41 PM

I have some desktop search software that will look inside various file types including PDF, and you'd think that with a tree layout and context searches I could find any information easily and quickly. However the PDF titles often don't reflect the content, I may know I have a certain file, but then I have to remember where I saved it, and context searches often generate dozens of hits which my desktop search package takes forever to display in sufficient detail to find the right one. And in some cases I moved a copy to a project folder because it was relevant, or some such.


Before using Evernote, I had a similar problem. I have multiple, large hard drives & have thousands of files (Word, Excel, photos, videos, MP3s, etc) that have accumulated over the years including some that were migrated from DOS computers. :shock: After a while, trying to come up with meaningful folder/file names just doesn't work. Anyway, I have a free tool that I still use called Locate32. It doesn't update real time. And when I do run the update, it takes a while b/c I have so many files. BUT...the nifty thing is that if you at least provide your files with a meaningful file name, you can almost instantly get a list of the files with that word & you can use wildcards. Since I have many large files (IE home movie clips) that I do not put into Evernote b/c they exceed the file size, I still use this app & highly recommend it.

BTW, having been in that situation where I knew I have a file but just don't know which folders to look in for it made it easier for me to adapt to Evernote's lack of sub folders. So I always find it amusing when someone new to Evernote chimes in & says the lack of sub-folders may work when you only have a few files/notes, but fails when you have thousands. :o
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#17 gazumped

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 05:26 PM

lack of sub-folders may work when you only have a few files/notes, but fails when you have thousands


I actually have colleagues who are able to work within a scenario where they unerringly navigate down a seemingly endless series of sub-trees to find the file they want, and once done with editing will rename the original with an incremented version number and a "DRAFT" or "FINAL" file type and store it somewhere relevant. Unfortunately they are the only ones ever able to find the correct version of a file in their system (it's a kind of encryption, I guess..) and they don't understand any less 'persnickety' filing system and repeatedly file stuff in the wrong place under anyone else's system. (And it's such a joy when you hear that little mutter "I'm sure I filed that spreadsheet here...")

But I totally agree: the fundamental failure of a folder-based system is that you should only have one file in one place. So do you file that under Tech or Installations or ABC co or Wednesday 12th or...? Whereas with tagging you can use all of the above and more, and the file is just that much easier to find.

Plus my little grey cells are so blown by now that I'd never remember where I file stuff if I had to use more than one or two folders... 8)

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#18 blackcows

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 06:20 PM

Evernote does not control my information. They have it, of course, but it's not like they have the only copy. i regularly export the notes (EN makes this easy) and save them, so even if my computer got destroyed in a fit of rage, or EN servers got taken out by anonymous, i still have backups of all my data in a few different locations. it would be difficult for me to actually lose something important.

EN is a great place to store pdfs. I must have hundreds in there by now. it's a fabulous way to stay organized and keep your data accessible. like others have said, though, i never rely on any one program / computer / backup drive to hold all of my data. redundancy is a good thing when it comes to preservation.



I looked at export feature....in what format do you export your pdf files for backup?

Mike

#19 blackcows

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 06:24 PM

I fully intend to commit the PDFs to Evernote, in most cases as stand alone notes.


By stand alone notes do you mean a note with no other content only the PDF attachment? That is what I have done.

Mike

#20 gazumped

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 06:56 PM

By stand alone notes do you mean a note with no other content only the PDF attachment?


Well, yes - kind of; I was really meaning one PDF to one note, although I have on occasion copied a paragraph or a page of the PDF into the note itself if the PDF has been password protected, added extra comments if I felt I might forget some application for that PDF - "a copy of the notes for the Rome presentation in 2007.." and changed the PDF filename if it was insufficiently descriptive. Most of the PDFs are open, so show the full content. Some are added as an attachment, so show an icon; some are password protected. so just show the icon.

I use Evernote constantly but don't speak for them.  Opinions here are my own based (more or less) on age,  experience,  and common business sense.  

Evernote read what's posted here,  and take it into consideration setting priorities;  they don't normally comment on individual cases,  or offer any forecasts or promises on whether or when a new feature might be released.  

 

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EN Mobile 5.8 Beta 2 | Galaxy S3 Android 4.1.2 | Chrome - EN Desktop 5.2.0.2503 (270503) Prerelease | Dell Inspiron W8.0 | Chrome + Clipper & Clearly | MS Office 2013 (also Vista and W7)
Support and information: Mac | Windows | iOS | AndroidGetting Started | Support Page | Knowledge Base | Status Page | The App CenterSupport Requests & Feedback 

(Support only work weekdays,  US Pacific Time)  |  If you need to change your account name,  email address or check usage,  do it here 

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