Jump to content
idoc

paperless Logistics of scanning into EN

Recommended Posts

I've just purchased a Fujitsu Scansnap 1500S and am toying with organizational ideas. For example, as far as I can tell there are 4 concepts on how to aggregate scanned information such as phone bills:

A: Scan all the phone bills from 2011 into one batch pdf file and stick that into a specific note "Phone Bills". Repeat this every year. A VERY lean approach.

B. Scan every individual month's phone bill from 2011 into a pdf file and stick all 12 files into a specific note "Phone Bills". Repeat each year.

C. Scan each individual phone bill into a separate note in EN with keywords eg: Phone bill, March 2011 and/or tags and/or random codes.

D. Do one of the 3 methods above but also store the pdf's in a separate windows type folder structure.

I like the idea of aggregating fairly useless bills and receipts into one batch file pdf which can then be placed in a note. In the unlikely event that you need one particular part of that batch file you can always extract it. The downside is that it is a little less searchable since the data is buried in batches.

I don't really like the idea of having a separate EN note for each and every single receipt, bill etc because it would create thousands of notes and make eyeballing my notebooks more difficult. Currently I often eyeball my notebooks because they are fairly streamlined ie: I merge a lot of notes, aggregate data etc.

Related question: If I decide to use the batch pdf file approach, is there a way to scan future documents into a particular batch pdf file that has already been created. For example, could one create a batch pdf telephone file and scan every monthly bill into it?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

A reasonable compromise is to scan each bill individually into a separate note with the appropriate title and tags. Then at the end of each year, merge all the notes from that year into a single note.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

One of the many benefits of Evernote is that you don't have to plan before you start scanning. Since the information will always be available, just scan stuff in. Old bills can be scanned in bulk; new ones can go in singly. As long as you head or tag the scan systematically you can aggregate (or bin) them later. You'll inevitably find that any plans you make don't survive the first few months of scanning - organise as you go along. Your main pinch point will be the scanner - find the quickest way to get paper through it, into Evernote and into a recycling bin somewhere close by.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I prefer option c.

"C. Scan each individual phone bill into a separate note in EN with keywords eg: Phone bill, March 2011 and/or tags and/or random codes."

Why? Fast and easy and done with. Nothing to remember at the end of the year.

The typical title is 20110315 T-Mobile bill with appropriate tags.

Eyeballing my notes is not a problem because I run a search first to limit the items I want to review.

I don't put thermal receipts in Evernote. They are scanned by my Neat Receipts scanner and stored in the Neat Receipts database (name has been changed to Neat Works)

.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I've just discovered a limitation that argues favorably for option C. I mentioned it in another post in the main forum. I put all my bills for Blue Cross into pdf's and put them all into one note (option B). I then remembered that I needed to review the one which I paid $1630. I did a global search for $1630 in EN and was plopped into the note containing all the pdf's with the Blue Cross bills. The problem is that the search term was not highlighted and it could have appeared in any one of the multiple pdf's in that note. In fact, even when I opened the pdf's the search term was not highlighted unless I specifically conducted a secondary local search within the pdf. Therefore, it appears that either choice A (batching) or choice B (multiple pdf's in one note) would not work as well in this type of situation. I don't think that this is a minor point because I often search based on loose memories of a sum, term etc.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

If you have confidence in Evernote searches and get pointed to a multi-page PDF it doesn't seem too much of a hardship to use the inbuilt PDF search to jump to the page. In my version search terms within a PDF are highlighted, but it can take a while to page through the file to get to a highlight and you can only do that within the client - open the file in a separate PDF viewer and the highlight goes. If you use a mobile access you might want to consider scanning single receipt pages to JPG or PNG files - PDF files show up as thumbnails on my Droid, but require another click to open. Images, on the other hand, are immediately visible and word searches get highlighted in the same way.

Share this post


Link to post

If you have confidence in Evernote searches and get pointed to a multi-page PDF it doesn't seem too much of a hardship to use the inbuilt PDF search to jump to the page. In my version search terms within a PDF are highlighted, but it can take a while to page through the file to get to a highlight and you can only do that within the client - open the file in a separate PDF viewer and the highlight goes. If you use a mobile access you might want to consider scanning single receipt pages to JPG or PNG files - PDF files show up as thumbnails on my Droid, but require another click to open. Images, on the other hand, are immediately visible and word searches get highlighted in the same way.

Sorry, I don't mean to be dense but I'm not following. If I have a note with 12 pdf's (each month of a billing cycle) and I am looking for a figure or a search term in only one of those pdf's, then EN will simply direct me to that note in its entirety and not tell me which pdf holds the search term. I would have to open each one of them one by one and conduct a search to find where the search term is. Naturally, it would be different if when I conducted the search EN directed me not only to the note with the pdf's but also highlighted WHICH pdf or pdf's hold the search term. I know no way around this other than to put every pdf in a different note.

Share this post


Link to post

I know no way around this other than to put every pdf in a different note.

Option c.) For the win!

Share this post


Link to post

I handle this pragmatically, pretty much like gazumped described: I bulk-scanned the old bills from last year (which I needed digitally for tax season anyway) and aggregated them in one note. The new ones I just scan one by one as they come in (separate notes). When tax season comes, I may refer to the notes separately or restructure (aggregate) them, whichever is most handy. The nice thing is that you're pretty flexible in aggregating stuff dynamically because you can use tags and searches on the fly for getting a list of all relevant notes. When dealing with lots of related notes, I LOVE the possibility to open a second Evernote window, thus having separate lists (one for a history of earlier fiscal correspondence, and one for bills, for example).

As for the question of what's better for search (1 pdf per note vs. 12 pdfs per note), I don't think it's worth the breath of discussing it in length. ;) What's important is THAT you can find the relevant note easily. Whether you need a second in-pdf search to locate the exact page/pdf is, IMO, secondary. After all, you might only search for 10% of the notes you put in Evernote (but you don't know which they will be), so any optimization here is premature. When you find that you refer to a particular piece of information more often, you can still restructure that or adapt your scanning workflow for the future.

Share this post


Link to post

12 notes containing 1 pdf per note: 1 evernote search

1 note containing 12 pdfs: 1 evernote search, plus up to 12 PDF searches to find the term (as mentioned above by idoc)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
If I have a note with 12 pdf's

Sorry, but: why would you have one note with even 2 PDFs in it?

I know no way around this other than to put every pdf in a different note.

I kinda expected that each new iota of fact would have its own note - so a search pointing to one note would isolate the information being queried.

Share this post


Link to post

"C. Scan each individual phone bill into a separate note in EN with keywords eg: Phone bill, March 2011 and/or tags and/or random codes."

In addition, you might want to consider making an "index note" containing note links to all of your bills in that cluster. I have moved away from this, because I've found the random codes sufficient. Still, it is handy to just click on a link and jump to the note.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

As for the question of what's better for search (1 pdf per note vs. 12 pdfs per note), I don't think it's worth the breath of discussing it in length. ;) What's important is THAT you can find the relevant note easily. Whether you need a second in-pdf search to locate the exact page/pdf is, IMO, secondary. After all, you might only search for 10% of the notes you put in Evernote (but you don't know which they will be), so any optimization here is premature. When you find that you refer to a particular piece of information more often, you can still restructure that or adapt your scanning workflow for the future.

Well, I slightly disagree with this. One of the ways that I personally like to use EN is to browse through my notebooks. For example, if I wonder "where do I have that article about Evernote in which they discuss the different search methods", I can go to my "Software" notebook and bring up the EN tag. I then have about 50 notes that I can browse comfortably. I do the same for my travel notebook etc. However, if you are generating thousands of notes then you lose the capability of doing that. When that happens, the only way you can find what you are looking for is by very directed searches and occasionally sifting through many search results. Another example: I've saved all of my children's artwork and writings on two evernote pages. Each page has about 50 pdf's and each pdf has 10-30 stories or artwork which has been batch scanned. I could have generated 1000 individual EN notes on this material which would have made it easier to look up one particular artwork or story that they wrote, but it was more important for me to keep the notebooks lean.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

idoc, perhaps we think differently but the way I handle the issue in your last post is to keep my travel notebook and software notebook lean and mean. When I scan my "thousands" of utility bills, etc, they each go into a separate note in the inbox folder.

I then occasionally (depending on time/mood/how much I've scanned) go through the inbox and move the notes to the proper notebook. Jquery ideas go to Software, Louisville images go to Travel, and electric bills goes to the "Utilities" folder along with water, garbage, etc. This keeps my lean folders easy to browse but since I never want to just browse my bills folders I can search for anything I need without having to worry about the clutter.

Unless you have a desire/need to just scan through your bills, and only have them in there for reference if you need them at tax time or in case of dispute, then just throw them all into a "catch-folder" and use sort to get what you want -- the clutter won't be an issue if it can work for you that way.

Hope it helps!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

hi idoc. as you know, i don't use folders. but, i can still wander through my notes exactly as you would in a notebook, thanks to evernote's search. need all of my notes on sexy pictures of me? i just put "intitle:photo grumpy" and see all of them. this goes back to the whole naming issue.

i know it is not "the" way, and folders are fine if that's how you roll, but folderless is "a" way, and it works with ten or ten thousand notes.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

As for the question of what's better for search (1 pdf per note vs. 12 pdfs per note), I don't think it's worth the breath of discussing it in length. ;) What's important is THAT you can find the relevant note easily. Whether you need a second in-pdf search to locate the exact page/pdf is, IMO, secondary. After all, you might only search for 10% of the notes you put in Evernote (but you don't know which they will be), so any optimization here is premature. When you find that you refer to a particular piece of information more often, you can still restructure that or adapt your scanning workflow for the future.

Well, I slightly disagree with this. One of the ways that I personally like to use EN is to browse through my notebooks. For example, if I wonder "where do I have that article about Evernote in which they discuss the different search methods", I can go to my "Software" notebook and bring up the EN tag. I then have about 50 notes that I can browse comfortably. I do the same for my travel notebook etc. However, if you are generating thousands of notes then you lose the capability of doing that. When that happens, the only way you can find what you are looking for is by very directed searches and occasionally sifting through many search results. Another example: I've saved all of my children's artwork and writings on two evernote pages. Each page has about 50 pdf's and each pdf has 10-30 stories or artwork which has been batch scanned. I could have generated 1000 individual EN notes on this material which would have made it easier to look up one particular artwork or story that they wrote, but it was more important for me to keep the notebooks lean.

Good point! I did BTW in my earlier post confuse the cases of having one 12-document pdf vs. having 12 separate documents as pdf in one note.

Share this post


Link to post

My 2 cents: I look to the name of the program "Evernote" and it's structuring language "Notebooks" as a guide. If I keep individual focused notes, then I can arrange those individual notes in multiple ways. I can create notebooks. I can aggregate various bills for tax time or by month to expense out for work. Perhaps I'll create a vacation notebook for grandma and another slightly different vacation notebook for grandpa, each emphasizing aspects of the grandkids they each fancy. This is easier with keeping notes.

The other really important thing about keeping notes is that I don't have to worry about structure. Instead I focus on naming convention coupled with very good OCR of all files.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...