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copdeb

Evernote scanning for receipts

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Hi all,

 

I would like to ask a feature. It would be nice that the android apps has a scanner for physical receipts, it would make it easier for us to organize taxes and personal finances. I suppose that it is a function similar to the contacts card scanning that comes with evernote.

 

Thanks a lot

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Receipts come in all sizes. How about just taking photos of your receipts?

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17 minutes ago, copdeb said:

It would be nice that the android apps has a scanner for physical receipts, it would make it easier for us to organize taxes and personal finances.

What scanner features are you looking for?
As an IOS user, I use the Scannable app; however I know the Evernote editor has a built-in camera tool

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There's no dedicated function for receipts, but many people do use the Evernote Android app for just this purpose. The trick is to make sure that Evernote is set to photograph a document. Start a new note as a Camera note, or just create a text note, click the paper clip at top, and select Take a Photo. Be sure the receipt is on a dark background. Once the camera is running, in the top right there's an icon. If it's a mountain/landscape icon, tap it to turn it into a document icon. The document icon indicates that Evernote is in document-photographing mode, and will attempt to crop the image to include just the receipt. As usual, you can check the results before saving; select Save as Document. After the note is synced, in a short time the contents of the receipt will be indexed, so that you can search for the name of a business and (hopefully) find all the receipts from that business. Hope this helps.

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5 hours ago, Dave-in-Decatur said:

the contents of the receipt will be indexed, so that you can search for the name of a business and (hopefully) find all the receipts from that business.

The OCR search index is a useful tool, but I don't rely on it.

After collection, I process the receipts and assign tags and title to indicate date, vendor, budget, $, ...
An example receipt is titled:    2020-01-05 Receipt ?Vendor-Walmart !Budget-Furniture [Mirror] $-25.99
                                   with tags: !Type-Receipt, ?Vendor-Walmart, !Budget-Furniture

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With iOS, there is Scannable, but there is the direct scan function build into the note editor as well. I find it pretty useful for fast scans into a note.

For more advanced scans I use an independent scanner app (Scanner Pro) and send the scan to EN. It allows for better influencing of the scan, and has its own OCRing which will be embedded into the pdf.

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On 14/1/2020 at 13:07, DTLow dijo:

The OCR search index is a useful tool, but I don't rely on it.

After collection, I process the receipts and assign tags and title to indicate date, vendor, budget, $, ...
An example receipt is titled:    2020-01-05 Receipt ?Vendor-Walmart !Budget-Furniture [Mirror] $-25.99
                                   with tags: !Type-Receipt, ?Vendor-Walmart, !Budget-Furniture

Thanks all of you for your suggestions. i'll try the evernote scanner for a while using this tagging system that I like. I'm an android user for now.

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Maybe think about your tagging. It is elaborate, but it duplicates information that is contained in the receipts as well.

A search for the tags "receipt" and "vendor-walmart" will produce probably nearly exactly the same result as searching for tag "receipt" and keyword Walmart. But the later needs one tag less, and it keeps the tagging database smaller because the vendors are always mentioned on each document they issue. Thus the OCR can do most of the job for you.

Tags are IMHO very good when they add information not contained in the document, like the tag "family" does for documents related to family members. Here the name alone will not do the job. Or they can be used to create subgroups of notes, something people often use notebooks for but which in EN should be done by tagging.

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I use tags for better accuracy.  I have 2,600 scanned receipts in my 30,000 notes in my primary account. Over the years, I have found some weaknesses in relying too heavily on the OCR process. 

  • The OCR gets confused with faded thermal paper receipts that have marks and folds after being stuck in my pocket or wallet. 
  • The OCR often finds words in my photos that are not even words.
  • And the OCR finds words in detailed travel maps in my notes.

Using Tags eliminate these false hits. The increased accuracy is worth the effort of tagging my receipts and financial paperwork.

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That’s what tags are made for. I just found personally anything above 1xx Tags hard to manage. This is why I rely on a combination of Tagging and OCR.

With pdf scans, I mainly rely on my own OCRing, done by the tools that come with the Fujitsu ix500 (Abby Fine Reader) and with the ScannerPro app I use on my iPhone. Both OCR pretty reliably, including receipts. Because I scan directly, the thermopaper  is still crisp and sharp when I do the scan. And if the initial scan is not so good, I can influence the brightness and contrast right away, always leading to good pdfs that the OCR Software can use. 

Another positive aspect of this solution is that I can pick the language for the OCR. Because most of my scans are in German, quality rises massively if I tell the software to use German dictionaries. I do not know whether the server based solution by EN tries to identify the language of a document - which in my case could not be done by my system preference, because I have stuff in English, Spanish and Portugese as well.

Since EN will not OCR again if there is embedded OCR information, I found good scanning solutions with own OCR capabilities a key to improve on search results. 

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1 hour ago, PinkElephant said:

I just found personally anything above 1xx Tags hard to manage.

A tag managent strategy I use is to maintain hierarchies  
- an actual hierarchy (Mac/Windows)  
- name prefixing; for example Budget-Food, Budget-Entertainment, ....  
                                                     Vendor-Walmart, Vendor-Apple, ...

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hace 15 horas, DTLow dijo:

A tag managent strategy I use is to maintain hierarchies  
- an actual hierarchy (Mac/Windows)  
- name prefixing; for example Budget-Food, Budget-Entertainment, ....  
                                                     Vendor-Walmart, Vendor-Apple, ...

How do you keep those hierarchies? Would you mind show it to us? i'm trying to construct my own and I would like to learn from other experiences

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A simple approach is

What - subject, type of information
Where - Places, GPS (if on mobiles enabled)
When - year, events like family, seasonal events etc.
Who - persons, groups, organizations
With what - content, main component
Where from/to - supplier, customer, source
What for - use, like book, presentation, taxes, expenses
Why - reason for saving

If you go for receipts, you can elaborate your own system. As I mentioned before, I just tag it with the year (When), the tag "invoice" (What) and if deductible with "tax" (What for). All the rest I do by keyword search, combining tags with content. If I want to find all tax deductible receipts from Amazon 2019, I search for the tags 2019 and tax, combines with the search keyword Amazon.

In my iPhone scanner app, I can predefine workflows. These add the tags above automatically (current year, tag invoice and tag tax). So when I do a scan knowing this is a receipt I will use later in my tax declaration, I use the workflow "EN Tax", which automatically creates a new note in EN with the 3 tags above, in the right notebook, titled with the scans file title. I think this is very efficient.

Using too many tags can create a lot of work without really giving better results. I think something in between 3 and 8 tags per note work for a good level of tag creation effort vs. search quality.
 

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On 1/19/2020 at 6:08 AM, copdeb said:

How do you keep those hierarchies? Would you mind show it to us? i'm trying to construct my own and I would like to learn from other experiences

Starting with naming standard with the prefixes
I have four top level characters ? ! @ . used for ?Who !What @Where .When
I decided I need to identify budget categories (a what)
- my tag names are !Budget-Food, !Budget-Entertainment, !Budget-....

On my Mac, I have access to an actual hierarchy and drag tags under other tags1251082645_ScreenShot2020-01-19at7_41_50AM.png.697f9d9a93de79e36e9fe796295fdc8f.png
Coming soon to Android and IOS

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