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(Archived) going paperless - best image format to store bills once scanned

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Hi All, 

 

I am a huge fan of evernote and I am keen to go completerly paperless by scanning to a file any paper I do get. 

 

However I am struggling to find an optimal DPI and image format to scan and upload my bills / important papers to evernote.

 

So far I have tried JPG and PNG at 600dpi with file sizes 1-10 and 10-40mb respectively using irfanview because I can specify where to scan each file and they are autonumbered. 

 

My problem is if evernote is to be used effectively everything should be stored in evernote - to increase the power of its search. 

 

Can anyone suggest a better option as I am only on a free account and uploading even the JPG files will use my 60mb upload limit very very quickly!

 

Any help much appreciated. Josh.

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PDF is the way to go. Multiple pages (phone bill for example) can be scanned into one PDF file. Zoom, search etc are additional benefits. Much better than JPG or PNG

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I'm also using PDF for letters/bills (using a ScanSnap with OCR). Works perfectly and the OCR makes it possible to search Evernote for details inside the bill and turn up the corresponding documents. This should also work for OCR on image files, but in my experience it just works better with "proper" PDF OCR.

 

P.S.: You might still hit your 60MB limit quickly, because scanned PDFs also contain the images. If you're committed to going paperless, I recommend upgrading to premium. If you don't want to stick to premium, you can still buy premium for a month or two, until you have dealt with the backlog of files you want to get into Evernote, then downgrade to free (you won't lose any information that's already in Evernote when downgrading to free).

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Yep. It all gets done in a batch anyhow, so no extra work for me to textify it.

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I would also consider dropping the DPI. I never scan reference docs higher than 300dpi. The don't need to look perfect for me, just legible. 

 

Also, I can't speak for your scanner software, but my HP scanner software gives me the option of saving a 'text only' PDF using OCR. With this option it doesn't actually save only text, but instead saves all the text it could convert as text, in it's original location, and size / font that it guessed, while leaving any images it couldn't convert still in the document. The result looks almost exactly like the original formatted document, but it about 1/4 the size on average. So it's like a trade-off between pure image, and raw text only. I've been using the same scanner for years though, so I don't know if a similar option exists in other brands etc.

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anjoschu - isnt OCR a paid (business or premium only) feature? Or does using a scansnap get around this? I read this: http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/20080-evernote-pdf-ocr-vs-snapscan-ocr/?p=101003 And do I understand correctly this does a much better job of OCR'ing files so you can find stuff better? Is it worth the money?

 

johnmarshall4 I have a HP scanner also but I do not like the software. I find managing the files after scanning them almost impossible. Infanview on the other hand is portable and lets me specify a directory which all my scans automatically go into. However this means that my documents are just images? Will the free Evernote account still OCR these images (jpg) for me? Doing it this way, I do not have a text only pdf like you suggest? Unless there is some way to convert images to text only PDF using adobe acrobat?

 

GrumpyMonkey I am also considering plain text and a link to a bill in dropbox. This would save me space, but how do I scan files as just text? I always thought the only option was image formats like jpg png?

 

Thanks all for your suggestions. 

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anjoschu - isnt OCR a paid (business or premium only) feature? Or does using a scansnap get around this? I read this: http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/20080-evernote-pdf-ocr-vs-snapscan-ocr/?p=101003 And do I understand correctly this does a much better job of OCR'ing files so you can find stuff better? Is it worth the money?

johnmarshall4 I have a HP scanner also but I do not like the software. I find managing the files after scanning them almost impossible. Infanview on the other hand is portable and lets me specify a directory which all my scans automatically go into. However this means that my documents are just images? Will the free Evernote account still OCR these images (jpg) for me? Doing it this way, I do not have a text only pdf like you suggest? Unless there is some way to convert images to text only PDF using adobe acrobat?

GrumpyMonkey I am also considering plain text and a link to a bill in dropbox. This would save me space, but how do I scan files as just text? I always thought the only option was image formats like jpg png?

Thanks all for your suggestions.

Hi. Evernote Premium and Business users have their images and PDFs OCR'd. It is quite good in my tests (http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=98 ). There are reasons to have text instead of attachments in your account (http://www.christopher-mayo.com/?p=127). The process is quite simple: scan > ocr > extract text (I use Automator on the Mac, but you could copy/paste if you want) > put into Evernote. It isn't the best solution for everyone, but it works for me.

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johnmarshall4 I have a HP scanner also but I do not like the software. I find managing the files after scanning them almost impossible. Infanview on the other hand is portable and lets me specify a directory which all my scans automatically go into. However this means that my documents are just images? Will the free Evernote account still OCR these images (jpg) for me? Doing it this way, I do not have a text only pdf like you suggest? Unless there is some way to convert images to text only PDF using adobe acrobat?
 

Yeah the workflow on the HP Software can be pretty bad for some things. If you have Adobe Acrobat Pro - not only can you scan to PDF from there, it will also do the OCR and optimize the PDF. I actually think it does an amazing job. It can produce a file as small as 4k per page!! (Monochrome bill scanned at 300DPI with OCR). That is plenty small for a free account.

 

In my version of Acrobat Pro I go to File.... Create PDF from scanner.  In the document settings I use 'optimize scanned PDF', and 'Make Searchable (Run OCR). Do do the actual scan it pops up the HP wizard, and when that is done it returns the data to Acrobat. 

 

@GrumpyMonkey - Though I occasionally scan to text only for some stuff, I find that for complex documents with tables of data like bills and such I can't make heads or tails of it that way. In those cases an OCR'd / highly compressed PDF serves me well. 

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