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Storage of Data and general help

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I've recently purchased a scanner and would like to go totally paperless but also want my husband to be able to find the documents.  I'm also nervous about all the pdf's I create being saved in the cloud...


What I really want is a digital filing cabinet and to be able to search for stuff.  I tried using Marina paperless but it keeps on crashing and loosing everything.


I've read lots of great things about Evernote - can someone give me some tips??




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Hi - have a browse around Evernote's website for their help and support pages,  there's lots there;  plus paperless ambassador Jamie Todd Rubin has a couple of suggestions...


By way of reassurance,  you won't "lose" anything if you do decide to go paperless - Evernote's search features can find account numbers,  company names,  dates etc from any correspondence.  Just get started - too much planning will get confusing,  and just delays you getting rid of clutter.  My top hints would be - 

  1. For the first month don't get rid of any paper - scan it and batch it up somewhere to get rid of,  but in the event you suddenly find you did something really wrong at the beginning you at least have the chance to start over from scratch.
  2. Don't bother with tags or different notebooks - scan to a folder on your hard drive and make sure your scanned document titles are as descriptive and full as possible.  I use <date><type><source><comments> because it's easy to remember and use consistently.  "20140525 - email - evernote - reply to forum posting" forinstance.  (use YYMMDD or YYYYMMDD for dates).  Once you get your titles sorted,  import the files into Evernote. 
  3. Scan for a regular set time each day - kill all the paper you received that day,  plus as much as you can handle of your existing paper mountain.
  4. Beware that some paper you can't get rid of - certificates and some legal documents.  Find out what's applicable for you!
  5. Start now.  You'll have problems and doubts and all sorts of crises but (despite occasional lapses) we're a friendly helpful bunch and the forum's open all year round.

There are different ways to do this,  and you may find one that better suits you - but the nice thing about Evernote is:  you can always find all the notes you created before your inspired new method occurred to you,  and convert them to the new approach.  You'll probably always be adjusting your database - adding tags / deleting or combining notes - that's just normal maintenance and it will be far quicker than finding the former paper versions of the content and messing around with that!


I have around 17,000 notes from quick one-liners to 500-page documents and over a couple of years I converted a room full of paper I couldn't find or file into an external hard drive that pops up hits on demand so I'd say Evernote is pretty much ideal for this.  You might want to start out with a Premium account because of the much higher upload limits - you can always downgrade if you feel you don;t need the headroom later.


Do find out about upload limits - you're only allowed to create so many notes in one month;  the limit refreshes every 30 days or so.  You can see how much you've used via your My Account page.  Don't go over the limit - that's like a "Minefield!" sign - you can get past it if you try,  but you'll probably wish you hadn't bothered...


Good luck!



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With respect to security:

It is a big decision to put anything in anybody's cloud. Anything you out in the cloud is vulnerable no matter that the security is.

While Evernote is fairly secure, it isn't necessarily ahead of the curve. It's security practices are inline with most cloud service providers.

So choosing to put your scanned documents in Evernote is something to weigh against the cons, realizing that there are no services that will offer impenetrable security, and most services are not terribly different than Evernote (except for dedicated storage services like sugarsync, which is of a different ilk from Evernote, much more like Dropbox, but with enhanced security).

You might be interested in this post a while back on data protection from Evernote:


There are a few steps you can take to enhance security, for example you can use an application to encrypt your most sensitive scans BEFORE adding them to Evernote. This is an extra layer of security.

As for sharing with your husband:

Easiest way is to have him set up his own Evernote account and share a notebook between you. As free users you can share one notebook that allows invitees to edit notes. This way you and your husband always have access and can both add scans to it.

Premium users get a huge number of shared notebooks with edit privileges.

You might consider having one of you upgrade to premium at least for the first month if you think you need more than 60mb for the initial bulk scanning. That being said, it is wise to take scanning slow to ensure that things don't get out of hand before you get your organizational scheme figured out.

Evernote is a great tool, set your husband up with an account, share a notebook and see where it takes you!

If you don't need the fantastic organizational features of Evernote, there are more traditional cloud options like Dropbox, or for the more security minded, sugarsync (keeping in mind even armoured clouds are POTENTIALLY compromised!)

Pose any other questions here that you might have as you get started with EN and good luck!

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Thank you for the really helpful tips - one question -  once the docs are in Evernote - can I rename them on the hard drive and even move them to an external hard drive?




It's helpful to mention the client you're using. Also, many questions you have are most likely already addressed & can be found by using the search function.


The Windows client puts the attachment in the exb file. If you're using Mac, which stores differently, be sure to move/delete/rename the source file & not one found under the Evernote library. I'm not Mac, so perhaps someone else can clarify or you may find clarification in an existing thread.

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The mac effectively functions the same as Windows but the technical elements are a bit different and not terribly relevant to this discussion. 

Whenever you add a file to Evernote, on both Mac and Windows, that file is copied to the Evernote database stored in usually a rather tucked away location that you generally shouldn't touch. (Copying is in contrast to referencing a file. In the case of referencing, there is no copy, rather the program notes the location of the file and always refers you to that original file. This is NOT how Evernote functions). 


Since the file is copied to a database in a remote region, you can then do whatever you think is sensible with the original. This might mean deleting it, moving it to another location, renaming it, or whatever. 


Remember, the file has been copied, so whatever you do to the original has no effect what soever on the file in Evernote. If you delete, rename, move the original, the Evernote file remains unchanged. 


So, since the file has been copied to your Evernote database (where you will access it only ever through the Evernote application), that copy will always exist on your hard drive. Even if you move the original to a different location or delete it, the one in Evernote stays on your hard drive (as well as Evernote's servers). 


One thing to remember - If you keep the original file, make sure you are clear about which file is the "working" file. That is, changes made to the file in Evernote are not reflected in the original and vice versa. Decide NOW whether you work out of Evernote, or whether you work out of the original. 

For me, Evernote is ALWAYS the working file. Any time where i have a file in Evernote, and its duplicate stored elsewhere, the duplicate is always considered the backup/non-working/archive, and NEVER gets touched except to un-archive/restore from backup. 


If you are hoping to save hard drive space, putting things in Evernote will not accomplish that. 

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