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PDF vs Doc files



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9 replies to this topic

#1 photojenic

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:43 AM

I just purchased a ScanSnap S1300 (yay!), and I'm excited about scanning all the bazillions of piles of papers I've been saving over the years. Besides the regular everyday papers, I also homeschool which generates a bunch of paper even though I try to reduce/reuse/recycle as much as I can.

Most of the items I'll be scanning will be for reference or education, but there are a few things that will need to be changed and/or updated as time goes by. What would be the best format for me to save those files? The ScanSnap software Evernote quick buttons appear to only save as PDF or JPEG. Should I save these particular files as Word documents instead? Or as both a PDF and DOC file to have the OCR function and the ability to tweak as needed? I don't have Acrobat programs other than Reader, so I'm limited as to what I can do with PDF files.

I'd also like to figure out a way (hopefully free) to sometimes split the PDF files that ScanSnap creates. I have a lot of magazine articles and would love to remove the adds and backsides of a bunch of articles. I might have to figure out a way to afford software to manipulate PDFs the more I think about it. Ugh...

#2 BurgersNFries

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:40 AM

I just purchased a ScanSnap S1300 (yay!), and I'm excited about scanning all the bazillions of piles of papers I've been saving over the years. Besides the regular everyday papers, I also homeschool which generates a bunch of paper even though I try to reduce/reuse/recycle as much as I can.

Most of the items I'll be scanning will be for reference or education, but there are a few things that will need to be changed and/or updated as time goes by. What would be the best format for me to save those files? The ScanSnap software Evernote quick buttons appear to only save as PDF or JPEG. Should I save these particular files as Word documents instead? Or as both a PDF and DOC file to have the OCR function and the ability to tweak as needed? I don't have Acrobat programs other than Reader, so I'm limited as to what I can do with PDF files.

I'd also like to figure out a way (hopefully free) to sometimes split the PDF files that ScanSnap creates. I have a lot of magazine articles and would love to remove the adds and backsides of a bunch of articles. I might have to figure out a way to afford software to manipulate PDFs the more I think about it. Ugh...


It's best to state what OS you're using when discussing software. Since you mention Word, I'll assume you're talking Windows.

I would never scan to a Word doc. My standard rule of thumb is I scan photos to JPEG, multipage docs to PDF & single page docs/business cards/scraps of paper/etc to either PDF or JPEG, kind of depends upon my mood. :) If you want to use the Evernote OCRing for searching, you'd want to use JPEGs for handwriting & PDFs for printed material. EN uses two different OCR programs for these two file types. If you want more info on how/why, please use the search function.

There are many free apps that allow you to create (IE 'print to') PDFs (I use CutePDF Writer) or annotate/delete pages/etc from PDFs (IE PDF X-Change Viewer free version.) I try to avoid Adobe PDF apps as much as possible. Just sayin'.
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#3 photojenic

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 01:36 PM

Ugh...I always forget to add my OS. I'm mostly using Win 7, although we also have XP on the desktop.

I prefer PDF in the long run, but I do have some files that will be tweaked pretty regularly. I don't have an easy way to manipulate the text in a PDF, which is why I was considering scanning to Word, because a JPEG wouldn't work in this situation. I don't have any problem *making* PDF files (I use CutePDF too), but I don't quite understand from your post what format you would use to save files that may/will need to be updated/changed several times a year.

I checked out the software you mentioned (PDF X-Change). Instead of changing the document, it masks out the area so the user can write over the top. My perfectionist side would rather be able to edit the existing text. My perfectionist side is obnoxiously picky. Sometimes living with me drives me crazy. *lol*

#4 GrumpyMonkey

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:23 PM

I scan almost everything into PDF format, and in the case of a file I want to extract something from (your magazine article example) I use Adobe Acrobat Pro to extract it into a separate file. It only takes a second. I am sure there are numerous free ways of accomplishing this.

More problematic is your desire to digitize paper (your scanner will create an image) and then edit that image ("update" it). I can think of several possibilities, but all of them are very labor intensive. It is far better (if possible) to keep an original of the Word file in your computer and upload versions of that as PDFs into Evernote as needed. Obviously, in the case of a handout (for example) you don't have access to the original file, so you will have to create one. This is where OCR will come in handy, but there is no way to get around the need to do a bit of work (as far as I know).

EDIT: Basically, this is what BNF just said more succinctly below :)

#5 BurgersNFries

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:23 PM

but I don't quite understand from your post what format you would use to save files that may/will need to be updated/changed several times a year.


I didn't reply to that part of your post b/c I don't change scanned documents. I do annotate them (the layer you were talking about) but not often.

If I were creating a document that I anticipate changing regularly, I would do it in Word.
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#6 jbenson2

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:37 PM

I don't see any advantage to editing a PDF that is in Evernote.
If a PDF requires additional work, I keep it outside of Evernote until it is complete.

There are several programs available that allow you to actually edit PDF files.
Some are quite expensive, like Adobe Acrobat. I use PagePlus from Serif - costs $99.
http://www.serif.com/pageplus/

#7 photojenic

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 05:23 PM

You've confirmed what I suspected; scanning as as Word document then saving into EN is going to be my best bet for storing files that I'm pretty confident will need changes. Since Evernote won't be able to search it like a PDF or JPEG, I'll have to either add descriptive terms in the note and/or title. Thanks for helping me think this through!

#8 GrumpyMonkey

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 06:03 PM

You've confirmed what I suspected; scanning as as Word document then saving into EN is going to be my best bet for storing files that I'm pretty confident will need changes. Since Evernote won't be able to search it like a PDF or JPEG, I'll have to either add descriptive terms in the note and/or title. Thanks for helping me think this through!



HI. Regarding this, I do a couple of things.

1. Save the Word file and a PDF version of it in Evernote. This makes it searchable, and ensures that if I need to make changes (my resume) I can do that later.

2. Save the Word file in Dropbox. I do this for files I regularly update (my current project) and I wait until I finish before doing step #1.

#9 GHall

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 12:20 PM

I just purchased a ScanSnap S1300 (yay!), and I'm excited about scanning all the bazillions of piles of papers I've been saving over the years. Besides the regular everyday papers, I also homeschool which generates a bunch of paper even though I try to reduce/reuse/recycle as much as I can.

Most of the items I'll be scanning will be for reference or education, but there are a few things that will need to be changed and/or updated as time goes by. What would be the best format for me to save those files? The ScanSnap software Evernote quick buttons appear to only save as PDF or JPEG. Should I save these particular files as Word documents instead? Or as both a PDF and DOC file to have the OCR function and the ability to tweak as needed? I don't have Acrobat programs other than Reader, so I'm limited as to what I can do with PDF files.

I'd also like to figure out a way (hopefully free) to sometimes split the PDF files that ScanSnap creates. I have a lot of magazine articles and would love to remove the adds and backsides of a bunch of articles. I might have to figure out a way to afford software to manipulate PDFs the more I think about it. Ugh...


photojenic, congratulations on the ScanSnap 1300. I agree with everything in this thread so far. One thing I might consider if the ScanSnap 1300 was purchased very recently, would be to exchange it for the ScanSnap S1500 because it comes bundled with Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro. I don't think it can be purchased separately for less than the price difference between the two scanners. It's a good deal.

After I got my S1500M (Mac version), I spent a month finding a replacement for Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro without even trying it out, because of some bad internet "press". I tried many different PDF programs. In the end, I installed Acrobat 9 Pro that came bundled with my S1500M, and I'm never looking back.

#10 OleBuck

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:39 PM

I save anything that is finished to PDF so it can be OCR'd in EN, but working documents just go in as their native format until I'm done with them. With tagging and title searching I don't have any problem finding what I need.

I wanted to mention a nice freebie I found for splitting PDF's to deal with the 50MB/note limit in EN. The program (PC & Mac) is called PDF Split & Merge (http://www.pdfsam.org/) and, as the name suggest, both splits and merges PDF files. The interface isn't the best but it works really well. I had some large (300MB+) PDF's of old genealogy books that I wanted in EN so I ran them through PDFS&M, it let's you set a maximum size for each new chunk as well as an automated file name. So my one big "Genealogy" became "Genealogy01", "Genealogy02", etc., all at 49MB and done automatically. It also does a nice job of combining a bunch of little PDF's into a larger, consolidated one.

Happy Evernoting,
Chris.





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