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Encrypt PDFs directly in Evernote with Automator REDUX

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I've been trying to recreate andy_dg's excellent app for encrypting pdfs directly within Evernote in this slightly older post, but haven't had much luck, in part because links to the screenshots he posted as guides are now stale in that post. Can anyone recommend how to do this? Seems like a really powerful addition to Evernote that a lot of people would benefit from. Big thanks,


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2 minutes ago, Jamesgstewart said:

Encrypt PDFs directly in Evernote with Automator REDUX

I'll follow up with a post filling in the missing information   
I implemented this process and it works well   
In the meantime, feel free to post any specific questions 

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2 hours ago, Jamesgstewart said:

I've been trying to recreate andy_dg's excellent app for encrypting pdfs directly within Evernote

IMO, it is best to encrypt PDFs (and any other files) BEFORE you put them into Evernote.  IAC his process basically encrypts the PDF that is stored outside of Evernote, and then triggers an update/sync.

I have switched to GPG for encrypting all my files.  I'm not sure what level of encryption Andy uses AES-128 or AES256), but I highly recommend AES-256 only.  For more info see:




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Here are details for the automator script

First, an issue explained
The pdf is embedded in the Evernote database and has to be exported to be encrypted
Evernote takes care of this, and stores the pdf in a temporary folder; captured as {Parent Folder}
Automator encrypts the pdf and moves it to a different folder, with " Encrypted" added to the title
The script has to remove " Encrypted", and move the PDF back to Evernote's temporary folder

Save the script as an application - I used the Applications folder

Automator Steps

  1. 174209104_ScreenShot2020-05-31at8_02_29PM.png.1da1699592f9f6bc032508eaf0c5c503.png
  2. 1843923643_ScreenShot2020-05-31at8_03_23PM.png.86a9e7c75348c813997e084311678b1d.png
  3. Get file path      298631608_ScreenShot2020-05-31at10_15_22PM.png.a00528d2965be20baadaba765231b009.png

  4. 334489821_ScreenShot2020-05-31at8_09_34PM.png.a4d3e2e528ac2553bb341d8464ebb261.png

  5. Back to the PDF  550077464_ScreenShot2020-05-31at8_10_27PM.png.f5097750183192ba5506a2fcc5408d71.png

  6. 1896990410_ScreenShot2020-05-31at8_11_23PM.png.35d447b0b8bdbaa79c1438dceab8c9e4.png

  7. Ensure you include the space before (Encrypted) in rename finder items 495016610_ScreenShot2020-05-31at8_12_19PM.png.425780bc859053cfe33755285e1e85b8.png

  8. 215786385_ScreenShot2020-05-31at8_13_33PM.png.885754151cacb6e72c453c9cb59a7e69.png

Now right click a PDF in Evernote and Open with... other. 
Browse to the Encrypt PDF app and open it. It should encrypt it and automatically update it in Evernote. 

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Here are the details for converting the new app to PDF Recommended (copied from @andy_dg)


Right click the .app file and select Show Package Contents1419100305_ScreenShot2020-05-31at8_25_57PM.png.8a99355fa37a0f02de564a8b3688d978.png

We're editing the info.plist file; I use the Textedit app  1363072096_ScreenShot2020-05-31at8_29_09PM.png.33a18ca8b37fd4109ee37cfe2bfbd97c.png

Find the section that says      <key>CFBundleTypeExtensions</key> <array> <string>*</string> </array>
Replace with                             <key>CFBundleTypeExtensions</key> <array> <string>pdf</string> </array>

Save Info.plist

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Big thanks DTLow, this is super helpful. I have it up and running. The only problem is that when I try to associate the automator app with pdf files as in your second post, I get this error message, which I've tried for hours to fix based on advice from various other posts. Ultimately, I haven't succeed. Any thoughts?



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14 minutes ago, Jamesgstewart said:

I get this error message

 Try regenerating the app from Automator   
This pdf recommended step is not critical

I so hate the new Apple security/privacy feature

  • Haha 1

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Thanks. This too was super helpful.

What about decrypting an encrypted pdf within evernote? i.e. the reverse of this encryption process. I know one can manually open the pdf, remove security protections in adobe acrobat, then re-save the document, which does the trick but there has to be a faster way of automating this too I'd think? Is there another app one could trigger by right clicking "open with" again? Can you recommend anything?

Many thanks for all your help. JGS

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Actually, I've purchased a new Fujitsu Scansnap that allows me to encrypt pdfs before they enter into Evernote, so its actually the unencrypting part that's now more important to me. I can do it manually fine, but I'd love to automate it to speed things up. If anyone has suggestions, I'd be forever grateful. Big thanks, JGS

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IMHO it is a contradiction to create encrypted pdfs just to decrypt them automatically. This means using the same password for all files, which is not a real good idea if sensitive data is concerned.

A full decrypt might be possible with the Macs Automator app, but I never tried. And again it means storing the password in the automator script, which is NOT encrypted. This is like the doors key under the mat.

If this does not work, to reduce typing the password over again, it could be stored in a password manager, and copied into the unlock field with a click.

Encrypting means as well loosing the ability to search in these pdfs, etc. So I ask why use EN at all in the first place ?

If I needed a super safe, encrypted storage, I would probably create a container file on my disk using a tool like VeraCrypt. Before I scan, I open the vault and send my scans there. After using it, I close it, locking all information up. For a backup I sync the whole container (encrypted) with a cloud service.

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