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(Archived) What's a good method to reference and take notes simultaneously on PDF files?

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This is my only snag on going fully paperless. I read a lot of papers for grad school and I keep them all in Evernote. In many of my classes, we have in-class discussions on some papers. Before Evernote, I would keep a copy of the paper open on my laptop and then take notes in my notebook. Though I do have a scanner, I'd like to start taking notes directly in Evernote. However, I've not found a good way to do this yet.

Right now, what I do is create a new note with the paper as an attachment. I leave some empty lines at the top of the note for note taking. When discussions reference the paper, I have to scroll or search for the section to look at, then scroll back up to the top to continue taking notes. This is a huge workflow disruption and I often end up not getting the notes I want or skipping the references and just waiting for discussion to resume.

Is there a good way to accomplish what I'd like to do?

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This is my only snag on going fully paperless. I read a lot of papers for grad school and I keep them all in Evernote. In many of my classes, we have in-class discussions on some papers. Before Evernote, I would keep a copy of the paper open on my laptop and then take notes in my notebook. Though I do have a scanner, I'd like to start taking notes directly in Evernote. However, I've not found a good way to do this yet.

Right now, what I do is create a new note with the paper as an attachment. I leave some empty lines at the top of the note for note taking. When discussions reference the paper, I have to scroll or search for the section to look at, then scroll back up to the top to continue taking notes. This is a huge workflow disruption and I often end up not getting the notes I want or skipping the references and just waiting for discussion to resume.

Is there a good way to accomplish what I'd like to do?

Hi. I am in graduate school as well. I keep my papers on the iPad. Sometimes I look at it while I take notes on my Macbook Air. If I am in a seminar, I might open the PDF on my laptop and take notes on my iPad using a stylus. At times I have had the PDF open on the iPad and taken notes with an external keyboard paired with my iPhone -- touch typing you don't need to see the screen, so you can even just leave the iPhone in your bag. Sometimes, I have just used my iPad with an external keyboard, and as we go through a reading, I take notes as comments on the PDF. At the end of the class, I export the comments and email them to Evernote.

As you can see, I rely pretty heavily on the iPad to make going paperless work. If this all sounds like too much, you can just put the PDF on your iPad, take notes by hand on paper (maybe an Evernote Moleskine notebook), and scan the paper later (I prefer Scansnap).

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If the reference paper is in PDF format, can't you just open it using Adobe Acrobat or similar in a separate window? Then you should be easily able to jump between the windows - typing into your Evernote note, while referencing the source material in Acrobat?

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If the reference paper is in PDF format, can't you just open it using Adobe Acrobat or similar in a separate window? Then you should be easily able to jump between the windows - typing into your Evernote note, while referencing the source material in Acrobat?

Thanks for the quick replies all. In my transition gap between going from the normal paper route to fully paperless, this is how I did it. Now that I'm totally in Evernote (or, as much as possible), I was curious if there is a way to do everything in the app. I think I might fall back on the method you described and see how that goes.

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I guess another alternative would be to initially create two notes in Evernote, one containing your source material and one for your notes. Have these open in separate windows, so you can jump between them easily. Then, when your note-taking is finished, merge the two evernotes, or copy-and-paste from one to the other.

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Hi, In my work I keep a lot of script in evernote which i need to read and make notes on. If I don't have two devices at hand (in which case I read on one and make the notes on the other) I read in Evernote and then make hand written notes in penultimate. Its quite ok to go inbetween evernote and penultimate without spending too much time having to find your place in the main document and of course you can add the penultimate notes to evernote or just writer them out when you have finished the read through.

I would love there to be a solution eventually when it could all be done in Evernote.

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Hi, In my work I keep a lot of script in evernote which i need to read and make notes on. If I don't have two devices at hand (in which case I read on one and make the notes on the other) I read in Evernote and then make hand written notes in penultimate. Its quite ok to go inbetween evernote and penultimate without spending too much time having to find your place in the main document and of course you can add the penultimate notes to evernote or just writer them out when you have finished the read through.

I would love there to be a solution eventually when it could all be done in Evernote.

That's also a good idea. I've found that my handwriting doesn't translate well with OCR into text in Evernote so I try to type where I can. :)

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Hi, In my work I keep a lot of script in evernote which i need to read and make notes on. If I don't have two devices at hand (in which case I read on one and make the notes on the other) I read in Evernote and then make hand written notes in penultimate. Its quite ok to go inbetween evernote and penultimate without spending too much time having to find your place in the main document and of course you can add the penultimate notes to evernote or just writer them out when you have finished the read through.

I would love there to be a solution eventually when it could all be done in Evernote.

That's also a good idea. I've found that my handwriting doesn't translate well with OCR into text in Evernote so I try to type where I can. :)

Yes. I would flip this around so that the iPad is used for reading and the computer for typing. Or, as is often the case with me, the iPhone is for typing (pair an external keyboard) and the iPad is for reading.

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As an idea for another alternative, what if you open a PDF in an app such as GoodReader, and then annotate the PDF in GoodReader?  (Or another similar PDF annotation app.) This would let you keep the PDF in Evernote as attachment to a note, and write notes directly on the PDF, instead of having to jump back and forth between the note and the PDF.

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As an idea for another alternative, what if you open a PDF in an app such as GoodReader, and then annotate the PDF in GoodReader?  (Or another similar PDF annotation app.) This would let you keep the PDF in Evernote as attachment to a note, and write notes directly on the PDF, instead of having to jump back and forth between the note and the PDF.

 

I'm not a big fan of annotating pdfs, because then it still has to be organized into some cohesive form. However, one benefit to the solution you suggested is that annotations / highlighted text can be exported If you do this, and then go into Evernote later to tidy things up, it might be a nice workflow.

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