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Problem Searching PDFs -- OCR Issue?



I am new to Evernote -- I am trying to use it to help me go paperless.  I am using a Doxie Scanner.  I have a premium Evernote membership.


The scanner allows me to send PDFs with or without OCR.


When I send without OCR, my pdfs are only searchable on the web.  They are not searchable in the Mac app.


When I have the scanner send with OCR, the pdfs are searchable in the Mac app.


Any ideas as to why this is happening?  At first, I thought it was because I was waiting for Evernote to index the document, but that does not explain why the document is searchable on the web.


Also, regardless of how I scan, the information tab on all of my pdfs says "1 pdf has not been indexed."


Many thanks for any assistance.

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  • Level 5*

With a premium membership,  your PDFs should be OCR'd and searchable.  An approximation of the full rules is:


Premium subscribers only
Filesize 50MB or less,
100 pages or less
No “searchable” text - characters that can be selected and copied
No encryption
Not a handwritten document.

The OCR has to be completed and synced back to a device before the document can be searched.


If you're meeting all the above terms and still not seeing a searchable PDF file,  you should definitely submit a support request!

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  • Level 5*

When I send without OCR, my pdfs are only searchable on the web.  They are not searchable in the Mac app.


When I have the scanner send with OCR, the pdfs are searchable in the Mac app.


Any ideas as to why this is happening? 


Evernote requires a Premium Account to OCR a scanned PDF in order to make it searchable.

If you upload a PDF that has already been OCR'd, then evidently Evernote will search that PDF even for Free Accounts.

However, it is unclear whether this is a  official/supported Free Account feature, or an undocumented/unsupported feature for Free accounts.

For now, it appears to work.  But there is no guarantee for future versions.

At some point, you may need to upgrade to a Premium account to have searchable PDFs.  

We are waiting on Evernote to clarify this feature.

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Thanks for the responses -- yes, I do have a premium account. I addressed the problem by deleting the Mac app and downloading it from the Apple App store instead of from Evernote.  I believe the Apple App store version is an earlier version of the software.  I am not sure why the new version of the software was creating a problem.


Another question -- i decided to have the Doxie software perform OCR to avoid these kinds of problems with the Evernote software.  Any problems I should be aware of in taking this approach?

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  • Level 5*

I'd go with the Doxie OCR. 


I've had issues in the last couple of weeks with Evernote not OCRing scans and the response I've had from support has been pretty poor.


Take the inconsistent Evernote OCR out the equation would be my advice, it's certainly what I'll be doing in the future.

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I'm trying to get my head around what I've seen elsewhere and my experience thus far.


I understood that to search PDFs one must have a premium account. I have only the free account and am using the web version of Evernote.


I have uploaded some PDFs (that were not scanned, but produced by sending a document "printed" as a PDF) and Evernote can find these when I search All Notebooks for words within the files. Is it because the PDFs were NOT scanned?


I have purchased a ScanSnap scanner and the software that came with it can add OCR to the PDF. Should I do this before sending scans to Evernote and thereby avoid needing to upgrade to Premium (for this reason alone - I understand there are many other benefits)?


Hope you can help!


Kind regards - in anticiipation

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If you upload a PDF to Evernote that is either text-based, or has already been OCR'd, then Evernote as it works today will include the PDF in searches.


The Evernote documentation and KB is not very clear on this matter, but evidently that is how it has worked for years.

See Comparison of EN Account Types

It certainly is unclear, as "Search inside PDFs and attached documents" is NOT ticked for free users, hence my confusion, since any other documentation has said the same, but referred specifically to scanned PDFs.. (I understand this page is also out of date, since Premium users now have a 4GB storage limit.)


Thank you for your help on this, it's truly much appreciated.


By the way, when I'm using the web version of Evernote, when I stop typing it saves my work. Does this mean the entire document is counting towards my monthly limit every time it saves (i.e. several times a minute)?

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