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HelpMeDigitize

Digital File Organization

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I'm sure there's probably a host of answers to my questions, but please, I really can't seem to figure out where to find them. The question I want to ask is not the verbiage used by the community. Just point me in the right direction and I'll look.

Here's my situation:

Serious downsizing of my life and home office . . . from 3000 sq foot house to 300 sq foot 5th wheel. Business has been in operation since the 80's and has LOTS of file cabinets (currently in storage . . . not very accessable!) I bought a Scansnap and it uses Evernote (although not the Evernote edition). Bought external hard drive that has links to Googledrive (although it came with free Dropbox usage). Have been in a filing funk for the last 3 years since husband died although business still in operation. l need to get organized. I think I'm ready, but WHAT NOW?

My question is that I have a meticulous filing system (normally . . . when I actually use it) and I don't know how to convert this to Evernote. Plus, does Evernote upload to Googledrive? Or do the files have to stay in Evernote. I would use Dropbox also, but what would be the point if I'm already using Evernote and Googledrive? (I like Googledrive's ability to work across so many applications, seamlessly with other things I do.)

I don't see "Files" Just "Notes" and "Notebooks". I like to file 'like things' together such as hanging files for "Suppliers" and "Permits" and "Governing Authorities" "Employee Payroll Files" "Employee Information Files" "Payroll Liabilities". Inside these hanging files are manila files, inside those files are documents. When it comes to customers, however, the chain may include more in-depth filing. For example, a person may own a property management and/or restoration company and we also do work for their personal home. They may manage properties for a corporation, so there would be a hierarchy of: Individual Person>Business They Own>Corporation They Manage for>Apartment or Office Complex Location>Specific Job Address. I can organize things in Googledrive manually, but I was very excited that Evernote might actually read receipts and actually know where to file them once I had taught it and automatically tag documents with identity markers for when I'm looking for something.

But, how does Evernote work with Googledrive??? Does it need to be filed with Evernote? Or can that program organize and Googledrive is the file holding tank? . . . along with the 5 terabyte external hard drive, of course.

Let me apologize for my verbose way of expressing myself, but any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. 

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41 minutes ago, HelpMeDigitize said:

I don't see "Files" Just "Notes" and "Notebooks". I like to file 'like things' together ...

Filing

That is correct; no files or folders
Another user described filing as, these notes live with these notes.

The Evernote concept is one huge pile of notes.
- It's important that you are able to retrieve a note when you need it.
- It's not important where the notes live

Evernote provides various tools for organization

  1. Tags allow you to classify notes.  
    Unlike folders, you can specify multiple tags if a note fits more than one category
    You can have tags for "Suppliers" and "Permits" and "Governing Authorities" "Employee Payroll Files" "Employee Information Files" "Payroll Liabilities"
    You can arrange tags into a hierarchy
  2. Search allows you to get a view of notes.  
    You can search for tags, text, dates etc
  3. There are Notebooks but I don't use them for organization
    I have a few notebooks that I use for their local/offline/sync/share features

Data Storage

Evernote has its own servers, and the master version of your notes is stored there.
A copy is maintained on the Windows/Mac devices, and there are offline options for the mobile platforms

If I had a very large file, I might store it externally (Google, Dropbox etc) and just have a link in a Note.  Otherwise, files are stored as attachments to a note

Scanning

I have a scanner, but mostly I use the camera in my iPad and iPhone
I have a document in my hand; I take a picture; I discard the document

Auto Filing

There are some auto-filing features, but I don't use them.
All my input goes into my @Inbox notebooks and I manually assign tags, title etc

I have some scripting tools acting on my Import folder.  These assign tags, titles etc

 

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Hmmm. Wrapping my mind around a new concept. I guess the idea is tagging it so you can find it later? But what about permits, for instance? I have a system where I move a "note" from one file to another as it's point in the process changes. For instance, when we get an order for a job that requires an installation permit, we make requests at the end or beginning of the day instead of each time an order comes in. So . . . it goes like this

Apply for Permit > Pending Applications > Permits Issued > Approved Invoiced > Inspection Scheduled. Once the job has passed inspection, it moves into the file for the governing authority and a copy into the job file. How would I be able to manage the permitting process?

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29 minutes ago, HelpMeDigitize said:

Apply for Permit > Pending Applications > Permits Issued > Approved Invoiced > Inspection Scheduled

How about tags for Permit, Pending Applications, Permits Issued ...
If you need to identify all the notes "Pending Applications", I would have a saved search in my shortcuts area

I also make use of reminders as due dates, and have saved searches based on date

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Hi.  In a former life I was an insurance underwriter,  which meant knowing a little bit about everything.  I did that by ripping sections or pages out of newspapers and magazines,  archiving letters (y'know,  those snail-mail paper things),  brochures,  pictures, reports and everything I produced in an old manual-not-digital world. 

Over several years that amounted to a small room's worth of storage - a hundred feet or so of shelving storage for thin folders,  a couple of filing cabinets for the paper,  and dozens of lever arch files for letters and receipts.  When someone asked me a question I would either answer it from my 'reference library' or do some research and add that to the pile. 

It got harder to find the right place to file things,  harder to find things after they were filed,  and more of a danger to life and limb when climbing around trying to do either.

That small room now occupies a database on my hard drive thanks to Evernote and a ScanSnap.  And I have no trouble filing stuff,  or (mostly) finding it.

My suggestions for your task would be.

  • Don't wait - get started scanning stuff now.  It will be a long job and you need to find the system that works best for you.  You have a lot of valuable information, so KEEP BACKUPS of your database as you go along.
  • Don't scan lots of receipts or letters into one PDF file - use a separate file for each document.  It's an aid to finding things more accurately - you're pointed to the single documents you need,  rather than a pile that you have to sort through carefully to find the relevant one.
  • Scan to a folder on your hard drive so you can OCR documents after they are scanned (saves time) and do any editing that may be necessary before moving the files into Evernote.
  • Work with a shredder somewhere close,  but pile up the stuff you scan for several days before you take a break and shred it.  That gives you time to notice any missing/ corrupted  pages and scrabble back through the paper to re-scan if necessary.  Shredding lets you work off some of the frustration of a long boring task.
  • Trust in Search.  Most documents don't need any fancy titles or tags.  If you want to find your receipts with a particular supplier,  use your account number or customer number.  The government will always give you a number for your dealings with them.  Search on those - don't tag like a maniac unless it's absolutely necessary.
  • Don't discriminate.  Scan everything.  Some folks like to go through and choose only essential documents from a large pile.  IMHO that just slows things down.  Weeding out can happen after you get rid of the paper.  Don't get distracted.
  • You need to be a premium user while you're doing this for the amazingly generous monthly upload limit.  But check anyway after a couple of weeks - have you gotten anywhere close?  You do NOT want to exceed the limit.  Bad Things Will Happen.  To keep scanning in that situation,  just move all your scans into a local notebook when you get close to the limit.  As the limit resets you can move more notes into the main synced notebook(s).
  • Don't create new notebooks unless you specifically have to (see above) - just dump everything into one notebook.  As you review all the documents as they are scanned,  you'll get a feel for what should be in a central location and what (if anything) needs it's own space.
  • Local Notebooks (again,  see above) are not only good for temporary storage - you may have some information that should not be kept online,  even in a commercially secure system.  There is always a (small) chance some smart hacker can steal information.  Keeping it local minimises the risk.  You can also encrypt and password protect files if you have the need.
  • I now have a mature system where (almost) every note has an origin date in the title.  Evernote adds the created date of the note,  which could be today.  The ScanSnap adds the date of the scan,  which might be a day or two ago - I put this document into a folder and waited until I had quite a few,  then moved all the files into Evernote.  But what about the fact I received the letter 10 years ago?  - I use a utility called Phrase Express (Windows) to add a date to the filename of each scan which is the actual date of the letter / email / activity that it contains.  One keypress gets me a current date string "20161026" which I can edit to the individual creation date of the document that file contains.
  • If you're digitising and retitling lots of documents in any sort of organised way,  keep a list of your frequent titles - that way if you scan another document you may be able to change the date on a string of characters you previously used.  (My filenames,  which then become note titles when the document is imported into Evernote,  work like this: "20161020 receipt - tesco spytty petrol - car" - which is <date><document type><source><keywords>)

And.  Have a look at Jamie Rubin's site http://www.jamierubin.net/going-paperless/ which has a ton more useful suggestions

And that's much too much information to digest in one go - just get started,  and ask questions if and when you need to!  Sorry for the overkill.  Good luck.  :)

 

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On 10/25/2016 at 0:05 PM, DTLow said:

 

I have some scripting tools acting on my Import folder.  These assign tags, titles etc

 

 

@DTLow Total Newb, here. Mind telling me more about these scripting tools? You mentioned it on a previous thread awhile ago. 

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On 10/25/2016 at 6:30 PM, gazumped said:

You do NOT want to exceed the limit.  Bad Things Will Happen.

@gazumped What kind of bad things? 

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On 2016-11-22 at 9:24 PM, Aurora A. said:

@DTLow Total Newb, here. Mind telling me more about these scripting tools? You mentioned it on a previous thread awhile ago. 

I'm using a Mac, and we have a built in feature called AppleScript
I'm using various scripts, documented here
Import Folder
Shortcuts
- Backup Process

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6 hours ago, Aurora A. said:

@gazumped What kind of bad things? 

Your account can lock up,  note content can be lost - or at least you'll be uncertain whether everything you wished to add to Evernote actually got added - y'know.. bad bad things...  ;)

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Hi to the OP,

Gaz's list of things to look out for is very important and definitely worth reading a couple of times.

For what it is worth I see Evernote as my filing cabinet, Notebooks are Drawers and hanging folders in the filing cabinet and the documents in the folders of your filing cabinet are my Notes in Evernote.

I do use Notebooks and probably more than most, but run my business and personnel Evernote very strictly.

We are currently scanning over 30 years of order files so, like you, we can get rid of the paperwork that has taken over the store room. We use a high end scanner and I have found it more effective to get the scanner to OCR which only takes a few seconds more even on large scans.

I also found it easier with the business account to scan to a specific folder on the computer then have that as an automatic 'Import Folder' on a Windows computer. This gives us two copies of every document. The computer folder, can, if we require, be saved to an external hard drive or off line. But the problem we have is our Evernote database is over 30K Notes and about 30GB in size.

Once the scans are in the 'Import Folder' you can then re-name if required and store in specific Notebooks. I would look at making generic Notebooks that might cover a number of years or similar type of data. You can then add 'Tags' to differentiate. So for example our daily work encompasses the following Notebooks:

Diary - 2016 (any enquiries be they telephone or email go into here until dealt with)
Diary - 2016 - Completed (once an enquiry has been dealt with the Note goes into here)
Word - 2016 (for quotations which automatically go into this Notebook from the computer folder where they are saved)

Every year I add a Tag to the Notes for the year and then put them in a Dairy Archive folder. The same with Word documents they will have a Tag then go into a quotes archive folder.

So as you can see it is about looking at your requirements and adapting Evernote to suit.

Best regards

Chris

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On 2016-10-25 at 6:30 PM, gazumped said:

Scan to a folder on your hard drive so you can OCR documents after they are scanned (saves time) and do any editing that may be necessary before moving the files into Evernote.

 

On 2016-11-23 at 4:58 AM, C6REW said:

We use a high end scanner and I have found it more effective to get the scanner to OCR which only takes a few seconds more even on large scans.

I also found it easier with the business account to scan to a specific folder on the computer then have that as an automatic 'Import Folder' on a Windows computer. This gives us two copies of every document. The computer folder, can, if we require, be saved to an external hard drive or off line.

I would recommend to scan directly into Evernote and avoid adding additional steps at first.  When you get more experience, you can add to your workflow

I do keep the original document temporarily, but discard it later after I verify the successful import to Evernote.

My reasoning is to eliminate overhead in the process - just get it into Evernote
I trust Evernote with my data (and I also have backups)

I like the OCR process and would use it if my scanner had the feature.
Up to now, I've ignored this and used Evernote's OCR feature

Edited: A downside to doing editing in Evernote is that it adds to the upload count.  Even changing the note's title will result in the pdf being uploaded a second time.

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30 minutes ago, DTLow said:

 

I would advise not adding these steps and scan directly into Evernote.
I do keep the original document, and only discard it later after I verify it's successfully imported to Evernote.

I have no idea why you think your method is that much better that you 'advise' not adding these steps!

As a long term business and personal user of Evernote as well as being an Evernote advisor and helper to both business and personal users, I would advise that this method provides a simpler and quicker way of getting scans into your computer.

Best regards

 

Chris

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9 hours ago, C6REW said:

I have no idea why you think your method is that much better that you 'advise' not adding these steps!

As a long term business and personal user of Evernote as well as being an Evernote advisor and helper to both business and personal users, I would strongly advise that this method provides a simpler and quicker way of getting scans into your computer

I added "My reasoning is to eliminate overhead in the process"

I was quoting from two alternative methods

  1. Scan to a folder on your hard drive so you can OCR documents after they are scanned (saves time) and do any editing that may be necessary before moving the files into Evernote. 
  2. This gives us two copies of every document.

I don't feel the additional steps are necessary, especially with OCR built into the scanner
- When editing is required, I do it in Evernote
- I don't want to deal with a second copy of my document.  
   I have in in Evernote, and if it gets lost or damaged, I can retrieve it from backups.

Edited: A downside to doing editing in Evernote is that it adds to the upload count.  Even changing the note's title will result in the pdf being uploaded a second time.

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I think your words are poorly chosen.

It is fine to give an alternative, but not to tell someone reading this thread that you advise them not to follow these steps. It is in my opinion rude and arrogant.

Regards

Chris

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7 minutes ago, C6REW said:

I think your words are poorly chosen.

It is fine to give an alternative, but not to tell someone reading this thread that you advise them not to follow these steps. It is in my opinion rude and arrogant.

I'm sorry you took it that way.
I did modify my original post with better wording.
Although I didn't say it, my ideas are just personal opinions and the op should read all opinions to establish what process works best for them
I have no problem with you critiquing my advice.

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Thank you,

That is much more professional and comes across as a personal opinion which is great. The more we get on the forum like this the better.

Best regards

Chris

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...and actually I found that for 'bulk' scanning,  my scanner (the S1500) takes significantly longer to process a document when it also OCRs.  I scan to folder so I can correct the occasional error (adding extra pages to a scan,  pages upside down,  etc) and add my title format (can't do that in the scanning process) plus batch OCR all files before I upload.  That reduces the file size significantly (by up to 50%,  average around 30%) - which isn't an especial benefit for normal use,  but if you're scanning a lot of paper,  might be significant.  It helps keep my database a little smaller,  and to cram in the occasional 400-page PDF.  Plus I can leave the system to do my OCR when I take a break or am otherwise engaged,  and everything is searchable immediately,  rather than in a few hours.

The overriding rule in Evernote though (apart from 'let's all be excellent to each other ;)) is "use what works for you".  Try out the various options,  and go with your own preference!

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49 minutes ago, gazumped said:

...plus batch OCR all files before I upload.  That reduces the file size significantly (by up to 50%,  average around 30%) - which isn't an especial benefit for normal use,  but if you're scanning a lot of paper,  might be significant.

Can I ask what software you're using?
My scanner doesn't offer OCR, so I'd have to use something external.
I'm running on a Mac with an automated process using an import folder, so adding an ocr step wouldn't add overhead
I also have a backlog of thousands of pdfs I should OCR

>>That reduces the file size significantly (by up to 50%,  average around 30%)
Thats unexpected; file size reduction

I should have cautioned; by doing my editing in Evernote, I'm impacting my uploads, the pdf gets uploaded multiple times, even just changing the title

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Hi Gaz,

Got to agree with that.

I bought the ScanSnap ix500 for the office and it makes very little difference in scan time to OCR. But it is available instantly!

Superb scanner by the way and definitely worth buying.

I have the ScanSnap S1300i in my study at home and it takes  a little longer to OCR.

Then I have the Doxie DX250 wifi model in my bag when travelling. The wifi is not worth it to be honest, but it is great portable scanner.

Regards

 

Chris

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3 minutes ago, DTLow said:

Can I ask what software you're using?

Sure - it's 'plain old' (but still fairly expensive) Adobe Acrobat.  I got mine for free with the scanner - no idea why,  because it uses ABBYY Finereader for its OCR;  and I got very confused at one point because Adobe seems to compress files much more than ABBYY on OCR.  There are quite a few options around these days.  Most PDF editors seem to offer some level of OCR but it does seem that you gets what you pays for (even if sometimes it comes bundled free)...

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I prefer Acrobat as well.

Easy to use and as you say Gaz it compresses best when required.

Chris

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Another county heard from.  :)

  1. I use a SN s1300i.
  2. I scan and OCR into an import folder.
  3. I created some of my own profiles for simplex, duplex and separating since I didn't care for the base ones.
  4. Rarely do I change the name of the PDF though I do change the title and add tags.
  5. I have 16,778 PDFs in four notebooks, of which 6,318 are in two local notebooks. (as of the moment)
  6. Tags are my prime search method, with some text
  7. If I want to get a group of PDFs out of EN I use the Save Attachments function with a selection of notes.
  8. My use case is mostly around statements, financial documents and reference materials.
  9. I use Adobe after the PDF is in EN should something go awry (realize later that the image is skewed for example).

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I am a newly active user of Evernote and I like to use each of my Productivity App for its intended purpose.

Evernote - Though my organization system is quite newbie at this point but I like to use Evernote to simply take notes, and record all thoughts that run through my mind. As a business owner you see, feel, and hear things differently, and with a million and one thoughts, my brain cannot simply remember these thoughts especially when I need them most. Hence Evernote helps me with this On Demand.

Google Drive - We use Gsuite for most of our Business Needs in the Company, from Adwords, to Docs, Sheets, Slides, as Databas, and the list goes on. But let me focus on Google Drive as it has been an excellent partner for quite a long time now. If not all, majority of my resource materials are stored with Google Drive, especially those that need no revisions, and those that are in its final form. This also includes all files per Department in my Company.

To sum up the thought, for those that need quick response, or reaction, or those that I regularly pull out of my Google Drive, I use Evernote. This includes those that are in "Draft" form. While most of my larger files are stored with Google Drive. I just create a list of files that I need and save it as note, then a shortcut on that note links me to Google Drive to find that specific resource material that I need. Both great apps, but they have specific function that one cannot say they're greater than the other. 

 

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On 11/22/2016 at 11:31 PM, DTLow said:

I'm using a Mac, and we have a built in feature called AppleScript
I'm using various scripts, documented here
Import Folder
Shortcuts
- Backup Process

The links seem to be broken. I'd be interested in seeing your scripts, if you're still willing to share.

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32 minutes ago, eurobubba said:

The links seem to be broken. I'd be interested in seeing your scripts, if you're still willing to share.

I redid the links

On 2016-11-22 at 9:31 PM, DTLow said:

I'm using a Mac, and we have a built in feature called AppleScript
I'm using various scripts, documented here
Import Folder
Shortcuts
- Backup Process

 

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How do I use applescript to make a folder that will add pdfs to EN? (Mac)

I use 'Papers' app for searching for research papers, I now have over 2000.

They are in various folders/sub folders, which I can see in finder.

I'd like to be able to add all these, and future PDFs inported into Papers, into EN.

I'm not confident how to use applescript, I can see how to open the folder actions, and I can see the applescript text, but I'm looking for some help to know what to cut and paste, and where.

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7 minutes ago, ian reeves said:

How do I use applescript to make a folder that will add pdfs to EN? (Mac)

See the post immediately before yours?

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4 hours ago, ian reeves said:

I'm not confident how to use applescript, I can see how to open the folder actions, and I can see the applescript text, but I'm looking for some help to know what to cut and paste, and where.

774784387_ScreenShot2018-09-18at07_43_17.png.e9d95013e6ae76af379fc749d0ab65f9.png

I use the script editor app to edit the code.
To be a folder actions script, it has to be saved in a library folder; in my case /Users/<user>/Library/Scripts/Folder Action Scripts

 

Right-click the import folder and use Folder Actions Setup service to attach the script to a folder

1877388159_ScreenShot2018-09-18at07_41_32.png.514cc6fcb8d6129ce9c14847f5101011.png      615309012_ScreenShot2018-09-18at07_07_40.png.56b6ae253a914296c4b61c606c874bc1.png

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Thanks - I want to leave the original PDFs where they were as well.

I think I might be asking too much of the two software programmes and Mac OS....

 

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3 hours ago, ian reeves said:

Thanks - I want to leave the original PDFs where they were as well.

I think I might be asking too much of the two software programmes and Mac OS....

This is do-able.  It would require each folder to be set up as in import folder.

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