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(Archived) Getting daily notes into EN

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How do you do it?

Forgive me, I know there are posts about this already. But I wanted to organize my own thoughts and attempts in one place and maybe benefit from some suggestions or ideas from others. So if nothing else, this will by my own note. :(

I've been trying method after method for taking good daily notes and keeping them in EN but I still haven't found that "holy grail." This purpose is one of the main reasons I bought my ipad. So my first real attempt was using an ipad, a stylus, and Notify (among others) to take my notes on the ipad and then send them to EN. This was trouble some for a couple reasons but mainly because its still easier to take notes on a legal pad, scratch paper, or whatever pen and paper happens to be laying around.

So from there I started using JotNot Pro to capture my notes (taken down on a legal pad) and send them to EN at the end of the day. This works pretty well but still not where I want to be.

The two options I'm looking at now are a ScanSnap scanner or a Livescribe pen. The ScanSnap looks great because I can set it up and throw everything into it. Truth is I may end up with one of these anyhow. It would be great at home as well as the office. I like the idea of the livescribe to since it wouldn't require any scanning or picture taking or carrying physical paper back and forth from home to office and vice/versa. I am leary though due to what I've read about the integration thus far. Plus, I don't care at all about recording. It's a nice feature but I really don't think I'd use it this much.

So in the end there really doesn't seem to be a comfortable substitution for good 'ol fashion pen and paper at this time. Am I missing something? What works for you?

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So in the end there really doesn't seem to be a comfortable substitution for good 'ol fashion pen and paper at this time. Am I missing something? What works for you?

Don't think you're missing anything - its what works for you. If I'm working at my desk I'll keep an Evernote note window open to record notes, commitments, thoughts, etc. Most meetings, and elsewhere, I use pen and paper - anything from a legal pad, pocket sized spiral notebook or the back of an envelope - to take down notes. That will either get scanned into Evernote or imaged with the cell phone camera and then e-mailed into Evernote, which works remarkably well most of the time. When I get the chance, I'll edit the note for title, tags and notebook location. This works better for me than storing the images in the PC file system and trying to find them later.

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IMO, there is no one way to get notes into EN. I use a variety of methods - it depends upon the situation. One of my main goals was to eliminate paper (including Post-Its and backs of envelopes which, several years ago, seemed to multiply in this house like rabbits) as much as possible.

In addition to the methods geared toward capturing data that originates in digital form (IE screen caps, email forwarding, web browser clippers, etc) these are the tools I use regularly to get notes into Evernote:

- scanner with automatic document feeder (ADF) & either duplex capability or software that will allow you to "scan other side"

- Livescribe pen (I have one of the originals - 1 GB Pulse)

- iPhone4 (camera, video camera, voice notes)

- Olympus USB audio recorder

- Wacom Bamboo pen/touch tablet combined with PhatPad software

- small (hand held) whiteboard (or Boogie Board - overpriced but kind of neat whiteboard alternative) combined with iPhone4 camera

- Dial2Do

- Soundhound (iPhone app)

Regarding daily/journal notes, I normally simply type them in from one of my desktops. I'm pretty proficient with a full size keyboard & my handwriting is on par with that of a doctor. (But I don't get paid as much for my writing as they do!)

OTOH, when I'm on the phone or talking to someone, for whatever reason, I am not able to type, listen & comprehend simultaneously. That's why I use Livescribe, Wacom Bamboo/Phatpad and whiteboards. I have the Wacom tablet programmed so that when I get a call from work & I'm at my computer (I work from home), I press a button on it & it invokes the Phatpad software & I pick up the "pen", take the call & digitally write my notes. I can then either take a screen cap of the Phatpad note (if it takes up less than a screen) or the Phatpad file (if it requires more than I can capture in a screen cap). If I'm not at my computer, I'll use the whiteboard/Boogie Board. I can then take a picture of that & email it directly to my EN account.

I use the Livescribe for many things including going to the doctor for myself, my husband or my elderly mom. I normally start it recording when I'm sitting in the waiting room & stop it when I get back into my car. If anything significant results in the appointment, I will then edit the audio part in a manner so that I have a recording of the important stuff & put that into Evernote. If nothing major comes of the appointment, I just save the audio/notes in case I want/need to listen to them later.

There are regularly times when I want to scan a document but I'm not at home & not able to take it home. That's when I'll take a photo of it with my iPhone camera. The phone is also great for items I think I may want to buy but don't want to buy at that moment.

The Olympus voice recorder is used often say, when we have repairmen at our home. I'll start it & record what the guy says to me. I will often make my own "Cliffs Notes" version of what they said. But if my husband has any questions that I can't answer, it's nice that I can play back what the guy said. :(

I scan a lot of things & then I either toss it or shred it, depending upon the content. (As an aside, I don't immediately shred things. I start a pile on top of the shredder & once I've backed up to another physical drive (and often to Jungle Disk (my cloud backup), I then shred. This way, if my computer and/or drive crashes, I know what was added since the last backup & can rescan, should I need to.)

As far as Dial2Do. I have their phone number on speed dial & my D2D account integrated with my EN account. When I'm driving or "couch potato-ing", I can quickly send a short audio note to Evernote. D2D attempts to convert the audio to text (sometimes perfect & sometimes not so much) but the neat thing is that it will also send the original audio file, too. So if the OCR is off & you can't figure out what the note is, you can listen to the audio file. Very cool. Use case: it's late, you're tired, couch potato-ing & see a commercial for something you may be interested in checking out or buying. I always have my phone near, but I'm too lazy to type out the note, so I speed dial D2D & send a note directly to my EN account.

FYI, I'm not sure about the legality of the abundance of audio recording equipment today. However, I live in a one party state and since I am recording in order to refresh my memory & not for a legal issue, I don't worry about it much. But it's good to know these issues may exist. :(

Soundhound - I think this is limited to iOS. It's an app that can often identify the song your iDevice "hears". If we're in the car or watching tv & hear a neat song, I'll use Soundhound to see if it will identify the song. If so, I forward the info to EN so that I can later attempt to buy the song & learn more about the singer/band/songwriter.

I realize this is more than what you asked but I was on a roll. :(

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Do I understand correctly that you use it only for audio, not handwritten notes?

IME, the Livescribe/Evernote is still lacking. (It's a good start, though.) Yes, for my use, I rely upon LS primarily for the audio notes. So, for me, I still skip the LS/EN integration & simply rely upon the Livescribe audio file and a screen cap of my handwritten notes. (Hope that makes sense.) IOW, I add the LS audio file to Evernote along with a screen cap of what I wrote. You lose the "tap to hear" function that is Livescribe's niche. But normally, I don't need that. OTOH, if I do, I'll use the Livescribe desktop for that functionality.

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I'll use Soundhound to see if it will identify the song. If so, I forward the info to EN

Can you explain how you do the "forwarding"?

Soundhound lets you "share" via email. But when you do that, you just get the text part of the note. I enjoy the photo of the album, so normally take a screen cap of that & email that to my EN account.

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I feel you on this one. (I assume you're speaking specifically about handwritten daily notes)

I am a prolific notebook handwritten notetaker. I always think on paper when working. Seems like a good idea at the time...then I'm faced with STACKS of notebooks (so that's where they got that idea) with notes about everything in them.

I think that's what subconsciously led me to EN in the first place.

Being 100% paperless is an aspiration, much like being Jesus-like. Not to be taken literally, or to any extreme...but to be used as a model to strive towards.

What I'm doing now is...

Ah, who cares? Truth is, I still love paper. My hand + favorite pen + fresh paper = mental ecstasy. As much as I love technology, I don't think that will change during my short time on this earth.

So keep using paper, for what paper it best for. Instant, flexible, reliable, consistent capture of thoughts & ideas. Later, enter the key text elements of your most prolific notes into EN. Take photo PDFs of your best sketches/diagrams/doodles...using smartphone apps or EN photo note option.

Enjoy the new tool. Don't abandon what works for you. Improve from there.

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  • Level 5*

A bit of a repeat, but I've been using my version of the KISS method with 3 technologies: pen and paper, scanner, Evernote.

1. Take whatever notes on paper.

2. Scan 'em in, deposit paper in recycle bin.

3. In the body of the note add any highlights I my want to search and/or follow ups using check boxes if need be.

4. Tag and notebook.

Best of both worlds for me. Still here forever and paperless. Would that my handwriting were better and more searchable... :lol:

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. . .

I've been trying method after method for taking good daily notes and keeping them in EN but I still haven't found that "holy grail." This purpose is one of the main reasons I bought my ipad. So my first real attempt was using an ipad, a stylus, and Notify (among others) to take my notes on the ipad and then send them to EN. This was trouble some for a couple reasons but mainly because its still easier to take notes on a legal pad, scratch paper, or whatever pen and paper happens to be laying around. . .

Since you specifically mentioned the entry of "daily notes" into EN, I am interpreting that in a literal sense.

A number of other posters have addressed the entry of all kinds of notes into EN.

But I take "daily notes" to mean miscellaneous, short notes that are all entered into one EN Note.

My system of using EN can be divided into two broad categories:

1. One "Daily Notes" Note to capture allof the short misc information that I used to manually write down in a daily log notebook.

2. All other Notes, with a separate EN Note for each activity I want to record (task notes, web research, etc)

I have create an EN "template" for the "Daily Notes" note that is used to record all of my misc daily notes:

  • [*:1amxj088]Stored in a Stack named "Daily Notes", with a Notebook for each year, like "2010", "2011", etc.
    [*:1amxj088]Note Title: MM.DD.YYYY [DAYNAME] Daily Notes
    Example for today: 05.22.2011 [sUN] Daily Notes
    [*:1amxj088]NOTE BODY: Below is the template with my default To-Do list and section to record the misc "Work" notes.
    The brackets "[ ]" are EN checkboxes that I check when the item is done.
    After the "IN:" I use the KB shortcut CTRL-; to autoenter the current date/time that I started my day.
    Daily Notes for DAY, May , 2011
    TO-DO For Today
    1. [ ] Review calendar
    2. [ ] Review email
    3. [ ]
    Work Notes for Today
    1. TBD

I have found this works well for me -- to have one EN Note to record the number of misc notes throughout the day, as well as a central place log all of the major tasks/activities/meetings that I actually do that day. Generally this is only one line for each of these. Details, if needed, are entered in a separate EN Note.

Finally, I would like to comment on the use of the iPad. I too bought the original iPad in hopes of always having my electronic "notepad" everywhere I go since it is so lightweight and compact. However, after an extensive effort to make the iPad work, I found it to be inadequate. Then I learned of, and purchased, the MacBook Air, which works exceptionally well. It is only slightly heavier and larger than the iPad but provides the full capability of a Mac computer/laptop.

The MacBook Air has worked out extremely well.

Because it is light/small I can carry it with me everywhere I go. So I rarely, if ever, have a need to manually write a note on paper that needs to be scanned into EN. However, I make extensive use of storing PDFs and screen captures in my EN Notes along with my written comments.

I hope you find this helpful. Perhaps it will give you some ideas of what will work for you.

If you have any questions, please post and I will try to answer.

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Thanks for all the input. I knew I wasnt the only one struggling with this. And while my post covered several things daily paper notes is my focus. Thanks for pointing that out.

I've been thinking more and more about a MacBook air. If I had the portability of an iPad but the function of a laptop I may not need paper notes so much. I like the template too. I've used a couple in the past but it never really stuck. I may have to revisit that.

For now though it looks like I'll just stick to scratch pads and JotNot pro to collect everything.

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  • Level 5*

There are a whole bunch of iPad note apps that integrate directly with Evernote - plus most of the others will let you email your notes.

I use NoteShelf with a $10 stylus and have hugely reduced the number of handwritten notes that I have all over the place. I tend to spend 10 minutes at the end of each day just going through any notes I have sent it and making sure to add some clear (typed) terms to the note as not even Evernote's OCR can cope with my handwriting.

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I havent tried Noteshelf. I do have speedtextHD, Underscore Notify, and a couple others I think. They all work as advertised I guess. But it's still isn't quite comfortable. Did someone mention Awesome Note? Any others?

What I really want to know is why another app? Why can't I just do this in EN?

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  • Level 5*

OK, this is how I see it.

You really NEED to be able to enter handwritten notes directly into Evernote.

User A really NEEDS to be able to do be able to enter long notes and make them seem like a word processor document.

User B really NEEDS to be able to enter complex formula in tables and do calculations, like a spreadsheet.

User C really NEEDS to be able to resize the photos he transfers from his digital camera, like an image processor.

User D really NEEDS to be able to open his ebooks directly in Evernote, like a reader application.

These are all tasks for which there are very good applications available for the user to select. Evernote gives the user the ability to store everything, but if you need to change it then the best bet is to use a specific application.

The other option is that Evernote decides to go and build a handwriting app, a word processor, a spreadsheet, an ereader etc etc. I'm guessing this is rather unlikely.

The good news for you I think is that they will add handwriting capability eventually -but for the time being there are a whole bunch of apps out there that do the job pretty nicely.

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I see what you mean. And for some of those tasks a dedicated program is surely the best option. Certainly EN doesn't need to reinvent the wheel by redoing Excel or MS Word (although I would argue that EN desktop could be a fine word processor substitute). But these are much more complicated programs I imagine. For something as simple as jotting down notes it just seems like it should be there in an app with "note" in the name. :?

I'm not bashing, just wishing I guess. EN does many things very well. I love and use them all, or at least most. Definitely the best organization and collecting app out there. For me though, it would be complete if it had the portable note taking feature of Awesome Note or the like.

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  • Level 5*

As I said, I think it will arrive eventually - but you have to balance out the functionality that you need compared with what others need and the resources that Evernote have available.

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Agreed. And I'm hopeful that it will come.

Btw- Judging by the number of posts requesting ink notes on the iPad (or some variation) I think what I need and what others need are pretty similar. :mrgreen:

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I go back and forth between SpeedText and NoteShelf. I think I'm mostly settling on SpeedText, though. One of the features I really like about SpeedText is the ability to put Evernote tags in using the little icon/stamp things. I find that both programs offer a very paper notebook like experience, one that I think would be hard to duplicate in Evernote.

I'm very much in the I'd rather not have the developers spend their time recreating SpeedText within Evernote camp. Although I do some writing directly in Evernote, for me, it's not primarily a content creation tool. I use it for storage and retrieval. I have found, though, that, for typing, Evernote works just as well for me as a Word on my Mac. It's amazing to me the features I don't actually need in order to just write. :)

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  • Level 5*

As I've said a couple of times already in this thread, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this was something they developed for themselves eventually.

But, you can't assume because you read 20+ posts on this forum that a feature is absolutely NEEDED by the Evernote population of around 9 million.

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Really? :roll:

It's a feature that I'd like to see and I know others would too. Who knows, maybe it'll come. EN has heard the requests.

http://www.slashgear.com/evernote-consi ... d-0484220/

Hopefully they haven't given up on the idea.

Take a look around the board for the various new features that have been added over the three years the EN service has existed. Just because the feature(s) you want haven't been added (or added yet), doesn't mean EN is turning a blind eye to what users are asking for.

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I go back and forth between SpeedText and NoteShelf. I think I'm mostly settling on SpeedText, though.

Another iOS app that I've used is FastFinga & it integrates directly into Evernote. That's a new feature that I was not aware of until today & it's pretty nifty!

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