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(Archived) Indexing PDFs -vs- Taking a picture??

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I am an Evernote user and want to go paperless so planned on scanning all my docs into Evernote using one of the trunk recommended PDF scanners for iPhone.

So I got the scanner for my iPhone and upgraded to premium for one month.

I scanned several docs using CamScanner app and uploaded to Evernote but the indexing is somewhat to be desires. I can barely find anything using this PDF indexing so I thought I would do a test with simply taking a photo of the document using snapshot from within Evernote and the results were a lot lot better. Basically the image shows the text searched for highlighted in yellow and actually finds it, whereas the PDF just doesn't seem consistent or trustworthy enough to rely on.

Anyone else found this?

What are the benefits of scanning PDFs over simply taking a photo with my phone (and getting better indexing)...

Could the app I am using be rubbish? Is there a more recommended be to try?

Also when the PDF has picked up the text searched for it doesn't display or highlight this like it does in the image?

I look forward to your comments and findings.


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  • Level 5*

Hi - in general terms it's better -in my opinion- purely because of display issues, to use images (in reasonable but low resolution) for one or two-page items, and PDFs for the rest. PDFs are essential for longer items but you can shrink the display size to page-at-a-view and skip through the content by thumbnails, or search within the file using your PDF app functions.

At present PDF files don't show more than a thumbnail on a mobile device (not on my G2 anyway) a tap is required to open a file to browse the content. A JPG shows up immediately - but you need to watch the resolution/ size of the picture, otherwise you can spend ages trying to navigate around something the size of Alaska. And with as many blank spaces. As far as indexing is concerned, I OCR my own files so I can make sure the technical stuff comes out right. Evernote is super-effective at what it does, but no indexing process is omnipotent. I reckon to "garden" my results after each... OK, many searches; I'll do that proactively by tagging the notes I want with the correct tag(s), and defensively by re-tagging / re-titling notes I don't want so that they're obviously not connected with that search term.

The advanced search options in Evernote are also a way to refine hits for any given search.

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