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donnydl

Getting PDF's into evernote "properly"

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Hi  All

 

I think I have probably discovered already that this is not possible, which is disappointing considering I learnt this after I signed up for premium, but is there anyway I can get PDF's into evernote so that they show as the file contents in the web and ios apps rather than just the attachment that needs to be downloaded each time.

 

I admit I am a "late comer" to evernote and many have been using it for years but alas I have not.  I have tho been "scanning and chucking" for a number of years which means I have quite an accumulation of PDF's that it would be great to have in evernote (rather than having to use two services) that I cannot see how I can recreate to put into evernote and I no longer have the originals.

 

Any suggestions on how to do this or plans to change this?

 

Thanks

 

PS I have Wndows, Iphone and Ios app and also use webapp.  I have access to a snapscan (not evernote version tho) but this is not on the machine with evernote installed.

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Hi.  Evernote shows PDFs as an icon in iOS (AFAIK) because the local storage may not be available to hold a large file,  and because notes are downloaded over the network and a large download could be very s-l-o-w.  I guess the same applies to web notes - a 5MB PDF in my notebook just took 10 seconds to show up when I clicked 'display inline'.  Evernote famously don't share development plans,  so its anyone's guess when or whether that will change.

 

If you have enough local storage on your mobile devices,  you could mark notebooks as 'offline searchable' which would make the contents (including PDFs) available offline and full-time.

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Thanks

 

Will have a look at making offline and see whether they then "appear".  It does sound a little like a will have to be maintaining the two apps approach tho  :rolleyes: not ideal.  I suppose as usual I am too late to the band wagon

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Just to be clear, on the iPhone, if you are a premium user, go to Settings --> Premium User --> Offline Notebooks and you are given 3 options:

 

- Do Not Download Notes (this is the default)

- Download all Notes

- Download Selected Notebooks

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I think it would be integral for EN to do something like a pdf preview, ie. when you click a pdf on the web from your phone or even desktop. I do hate it when I can't even look at the pdf. Now this doesn't have to open on default, just give us users a chance to preview instead of downloading it. PDF currently works like this on my iPhone when surfing and viewing from the web. 

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My 2c - 'preview' means download-the-whole-file-and-make-a-thumbnail-view - which is actually more processing and storage than just displaying the file...

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I have never known Safari on iOS to offer a "preview" of a PDF. I've only ever seen it download and display the entire thing. 

 

As far as I know, iOS is incapable of natively showing a preview of a PDF. Applications that do display previews (GoodReader, for example), have written their own little mechanism for displaying a preview, which as far as I know, is not a trivial matter. The lack of local storage in Evernote on iOS makes this more challenging. 

 

The only feasible option is to extend something that Evernote already does. Evernote already makes little thumbnails of a note attachment, as well as excerpt a snippet of text, and add that to the note's metadata. This is why, in snippet view on iOS, you can often see a very small rendering of one page of an attached PDF, but then when you open the note, the attachment is not displayed. Evernote could increase the resolution and size of this little thumbnail image and overlay it onto the attachment. 

 

That being said, doing so would probably dramatically increase the file size of the metadata, since that new, larger image would likely be several hundred times larger than the current little thumbnail. 

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Ok my non techie knowledge will come through here but I suspect that is what is causing the issue. Let me try to explain what I don't understand....

Say I didn't have premium I couldn't look at notes without an internet connection (hopefully correct) so i (presume wrongly) thought that the ios Evernote was just a "viewer" and "called" for the info from the web each time you selected it rather than holding it on the ipad. Hence why I assumed that the pdf should just show itself. From the point of downloading the file it obviously uses internet allowances each time you do this but in my mind it's also putting "stuff" on the ipad multiple times and using up the space (again probably wrong) but also only being fairly new to ios (formerly android and always windows) I cannot see if this is the case due to the non file structure. I guess if I did it on the web app it would do exactly that creating temp files or some such?

I think the "two pronged" approach is going to have to be the answer sadly

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...ios Evernote was just a "viewer" and "called" for the info from the web each time you selected it rather than holding it on the ipad. Hence why I assumed that the pdf should just show itself. From the point of downloading the file it obviously uses internet allowances each time you do this but in my mind it's also putting "stuff" on the ipad multiple times and using up the space (again probably wrong) but also only being fairly new to ios (formerly android and always windows) I cannot see if this is the case due to the non file structure. I guess if I did it on the web app it would do exactly that creating temp files or some such?

I think the "two pronged" approach is going to have to be the answer sadly

 

Some clarification. (for the purposes of this discussion, we are NOT talking about notebooks with "offline" designations as available to premium users). 

 

1) You are correct, Evernote fetches note contents from the server only when the note is opened. These contents are then cached temporarily. I don't understand the distinction between a "viewer" and..... whatever the alternative to a "viewer" is. You can view and edit notes with Evernote... If you don't have an internet connection you can only deal with what has been cached locally, which is volatile and not intended as a reliable means of offline access. 

 

2) Attachements are fetched only when the user taps the icon for the attachment. downloaded attachments are also cached temporarily. This prevents having to re-download the attachment again and again and again and again, if you access it repeatedly. This means you do not waste bandwidth. The cache should persist for a rather long time so you'd likely go days before having to re-download an attachment (depending on how much you use Evernote during that time, it may cull the cache earlier of course).

3) Accessing the attachment either returns it from the device's local cache, or fetches it from the server if it has been cleared from the cache. No duplicating is happening, ever. 

 

4) For PDFs specifically, even PDFs stored locally on the device cannot be previewed unless the developer has created a bespoke PDF preview mechanism. You MUST open the entire PDF to view its contents. The only application I am aware of on iOS that offers a preview (a thumbnail of the first page) is GoodReader. Every other application that handles PDFs I have encountered (and PDFs are my bread and butter) does not (and presumably cannot) offer a preview because iOS does not have a built-in mechanism to do so. 

 

There is nothing you could do with access to the iOS file system that could make Evernote run better. It would only allow you to break it. 

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The alternative to "view" in my world would be "store". I can only assume this is the exact difference between web/Ios and the windows app, that the windows app stores but the other two do not which seems weird as the web surely is also a store.

My attachments have to be downloaded every time I go to the note.....

I do want to preview anything I just want to see it without downloading it all the time (I have to download all the time on web as well same as ios)

I don't want to do anything with the file system ios it's just I don't know where things go so was only assuming what happened, was open to correction by someone who did get it.

Conclusion I don't understand it but it can't do it.

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Not sure this helps, but if you are going to viewing the same PDF multiple times and you want to store it locally on your iPhone, you can accomplish this using the Adobe Reader app for IOS.  When the PDF opens in EN, hit the share button (up arrow coming out of a box) and then select Open in Adobe reader.  This will create a local copy on your iPhone.  Buyer beware, this copy is not in any way connected to your EN data.

 

I'm a premium user so the PDFs are already on my PC.  I discovered Adobe as a solution for eliminating the navigation and annotation banners that come and go on the EN PDF view on the iPhone.  They are okay if I am in and out of the PDF, but if I'm going to be spending some time reading the PDF on my phone I need not to be dealing with those pesky banners.  There is actually a preview in Adobe Reader, but I'm not sure an eagle with perfect eyesight and binoculars could read it.  FWIW.

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The alternative to "view" in my world would be "store". I can only assume this is the exact difference between web/Ios and the windows app, that the windows app stores but the other two do not which seems weird as the web surely is also a store.

 

1) The web does store stuff - It stores it on Evernote's servers. You are accessing the files directly from Evernote. 

 

 

My attachments have to be downloaded every time I go to the note.....

 

2) I cannot reproduce this. I did the following:

Find three notes each with PDF attachments. 

For Note 1: tap the "download attachment" icon. Wait for it to load, then back out of the PDF screen. 

For note 2: Repeat

For note 3: repeat

Now, when I move to a fourth, random, note and return to ANY of the notes 1-3, I get a plain attachment icon NOT a download icon. I can exit evernote and return to any of notes 1-3, and still, its an attachment icon, NOT a download icon. Thus, attachments I download to the device stay downloaded do not need to be re-downlaoded except if the cache is culled. That being said, while trying to find attachments to test this on, I encountered a number of attachments that were quite old that were still downloaded and locally stored, so the cache is clearly not culled terribly rapidly. 

 

What might be confusing for you is that the PDF isn't displayed inline. You have to tap a special icon in order to open a whole new display that shows the PDF. This is the limitation in iOS that I have mentioned three other times in this thread. Just remember that you are only downloading something when the icon says "tap to download". 

 

 

 

I do want to preview anything I just want to see it without downloading it all the time (I have to download all the time on web as well same as ios)

3) The only way this can be done is to download it at least once. There is no other way to do this on any device anywhere. You must download the entire thing at least one time to see it. This goes for web browsers on your desktop computer too. 

 

 

 

Not sure this helps, but if you are going to viewing the same PDF multiple times and you want to store it locally on your iPhone, you can accomplish this using the Adobe Reader app for IOS.  When the PDF opens in EN, hit the share button (up arrow coming out of a box) and then select Open in Adobe reader.  This will create a local copy on your iPhone.  Buyer beware, this copy is not in any way connected to your EN data.

Adobe Reader is a good option. My preference is for PDF Expert 5 from Readdle, or their free option called "Documents 5" which is an indispensable tool for your iOS device, well beyond PDFs. 

 

Keep in mind none of the suggestions csihilling or I are making prevent you from having to download the attachment at least once. 

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Hi Donnydl,

I did exactly what you experienced - wanted an embedded pdf view in Evernote and upgraded to Premium!

But luckily, I found that if you right-click the attachment and select "view inline", it does exactly what I wanted.

That helped me regain confidence in Evernote Premium.

Hope that helps you too!

Regards,

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On 3/21/2016 at 1:22 AM, QL said:

Hi Donnydl,

I did exactly what you experienced - wanted an embedded pdf view in Evernote and upgraded to Premium!

But luckily, I found that if you right-click the attachment and select "view inline", it does exactly what I wanted.

That helped me regain confidence in Evernote Premium.

Hope that helps you too!

Regards,

Any idea if one can set them to preview in the webapp by default without having to right click on every pdf attachment and click on view inline?

Thank you,

Ryan

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Sadly Evernote on PCs apart from MAC cannot read a PDF in it's Word Proccesor, until they allow it to read PDFs as well as be able to save something into a PDF we are stuck with only being able to attach it to a note and that's it really, i know... it's a bummer, we all want these features badly along with more paragraph and table editing options but i think it's going to be a long time before that happens :(

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+1 on this.  I'm working on "Going Paperless" and was very disappointed when I discovered that EverNote doesn't provide a first-page thumbnail of PDFs, generated on their servers.  If they're not going to bother encrypting our data, they can at least generate some value-added metadata to promote faster review and search.

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Consider me another +1. I would love to be able to preview a pdf on EverNote versus having to download whenever I need it. Seems rather lame for premium users.

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+1 on this. Been a long time evernote user, and also an Evernote Business user. I have many multi page pdf's in my library, dont have the time or the inclination to label or tag everything (thats why I use Evernote).

Due to lack of space on my macbook air (unable to selectively sync folders, really?) I have deleted Evernote Mac off the hard drive and switched to web.  Literally astounded that I cannot  see the content of a pdf note (to find the one I am looking for) without having to download it. You can imagine what the process is like to find the file I am looking for.  

It blows my mind that this isn't part of the functionality.  Basically it means for me that the web client is useless.  Same as the iphone client, it has always griped me that I could never find anything on the phone but I understand it more due to bandwidth etc on a mobile network.

So if the web and phone clients are useless for me then "Have it everywhere" and "FInd anything fast" don't seem to apply....so why exactly am I using Evernote again?

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1 hour ago, monkeyfahoo said:

I have many multi page pdf's in my library, dont have the time or the inclination to label or tag everything (thats why I use Evernote).

It's not a good plan to dump data into Evernote without an organizational strategy.

At the very least, you need to apply titles that clearly identify the content of the notes.

 

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...and I imagine Evernote Web shows icons rather than content for exactly the same reason that the mobile version does.  Some folks have up to 100MB of PDF files in one note - downloading big pages over a domestic net connection might take a while,  not to mention the overhead of downloading a notebook with several big pages like that...

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Hi everyone. (First post! Yeah!)

You could just add an additional screenshot (image file) of the first page of the pdf. Image files are displayed perfectly and OCR'ed.

This way, you have a preview and your PDF-icon. If it is the one you are looking for, tap to download.

You could probably automate the process with Hazel or automator (or comparable tools on Windows). "If a PDF is created, a screenshot of the first page is created and give the same filename as the PDF" etc. Then you just drop both files into the note.

I know, the additional steps might seem annoying, but probably worth it if you have large PDF-files.

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1 hour ago, Tinman_226 said:

You could just add an additional screenshot (image file) of the first page of the pdf. Image files are displayed perfectly and OCR'ed.

This does not solve the issue of storing PDFs that you didn't generate yourself.  For instance, statements obtained online and kept in Evernote for records purposes can't be edited by the average user with a thumbnail, and even then - who has time to edit each PDF like that?  This should be an easy module to write on the server side.  People are paying significant fees for this service, and the lack of feature advancement is surprising.

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7 hours ago, latentspark said:

This should be an easy module to write on the server side.

Don't know whether it's easy or not,  but Evernote do have a few thousand other features that users are shocked and astonished weren't baked into the various apps for the different devices from day one.  It's up to them whether and when they introduce this feature as an upgrade,  just as it is up to you whether you continue paying the subscription.

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On 1/12/2017 at 5:43 AM, monkeyfahoo said:

Literally astounded that I cannot  see the content of a pdf note (to find the one I am looking for) without having to download it.

Not trying to be a smarta$$, but how would you see the content of a PDF without downloading it?  Maybe a page at a time that contained the search term, but you still have to download those pages.

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2 hours ago, csihilling said:

Not trying to be a smarta$$, but how would you see the content of a PDF without downloading it?  Maybe a page at a time that contained the search term, but you still have to download those pages.

Umm...sorry when I say download I mean actually click on something and manually download it.

I see all my other notes with the web viewer when I click on the note. But I don't see my pdfs, because I need to download them (manually) to see them. As in save to my hard drive without knowing what they are.   So if these other notes are not pdf why can I see them without having to download those ones manually?  I assume the other notes are downloading from the Evernote servers when I click on them otherwise I would not see them.  I can see pdfs in Safari etc, right (without downloading manually to my hard drive). And If I am seeing my other notes when I click on them then why don't I see my pdf (inline) when I click on them?   Am I missing something?

Appreciate if a pdf is big then I may have to download manually, or slowly (either way that would be fine), but if they are not big then whats the problem, i only need to see them when I click on a particular note and I don't even need to see the full note. I don't understand, sorry.  

But say if for whatever reason its just not possible, then at the very least Evernote giving me a decent size/legible preview (of front page or whatever) would be helpful so that I can see which document is what.  As Tinman_226 mentioned about doing this yourself or automating, but why do I have to?  Why isn't this done automatically by Evernote so that I can find what I am looking for without the ridiculous routine of downloading, opening, viewing, closing, deleting off hard drive, repeat.  

I don't have a lot of huge pdf's but I do have a LOT of pdfs (i.e. multi page scans etc) and all of these are filed in a lot of different notebooks (that is the extent of my organisational strategy along with a small amount of tagging). 

I guess whatever the technical challenges are I see it as something that seems crazy not to have been tackled by Evernote in some decent way and to have a solution (even if optional) that works loads better than current one and makes the idea of Evernote working seamlessly across devices, clients etc an actual reality....

Like I say sorry if I am being stupid or missing something.  (Uneducated user perspective here!)

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18 hours ago, gazumped said:

just as it is up to you whether you continue paying the subscription.

At this rate, the answer to that is a big "nope".  

I got Evernote so I could collate all of my personal records.  This is very efficiently done with PDFs, except that local OSs aren't great at searching scanned PDFs.  Evernote provides this functionality, so it's obvious they can open and parse these documents, but they haven't bothered to make a light-weight in-app reader to quickly reference details on documents.  Instead, as others have said, you're required to download and check each document for the element your're looking for.

The single value Evernote was providing to me was OCR searching of scanned documents.  Lack of a streamlined preview functionality breaks the workflow efficiency that OCR searches otherwise would provide in searching a large library of often redundant documents.

I believe this to be a reasonable request given that there is obviously community demand.  I would be less inclined to complain if I weren't paying for a service that I feel does not provide the streamlined workflow that is advertised: Go paperless and be able to access and search your documents easily.

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On 2017-01-12 at 8:48 AM, Tinman_226 said:

You could just add an additional screenshot (image file) of the first page of the pdf. Image files are displayed perfectly and OCR'ed.

It's a good idea - a first page image
Of course, you are responding to someone who can't be bothered to apply a meaningful title to his notes

Its easily done on my Mac, but may not be do-able on the other platforms
I think the OP is requesting Evernote do that automatically
- after all, Evernote is already generating thumbnail and card images

 

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17 minutes ago, DTLow said:

can't be bothered to apply a meaningful title to his notes

Isn't that the point of making paper documents searchable?  

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3 minutes ago, latentspark said:

Isn't that the point of making paper documents searchable?  

If that works for you, it's good
I see some issues with that approach

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Unfortunately, it doesn't work for me, because Evernote does not provide this functionality in a smooth workflow.  This conversation has just convinced me to cancel my subscription.  I'm going to look somewhere else.

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1 minute ago, latentspark said:

I'm going to look somewhere else.

Please let us know if you find something equivalent

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19 hours ago, monkeyfahoo said:

Appreciate if a pdf is big then I may have to download manually, or slowly (either way that would be fine), but if they are not big then whats the problem, i only need to see them when I click on a particular note and I don't even need to see the full note. I don't understand, sorry.  

Your other notes "download" since they are text and pictures.  EN decided for whatever reason, probably bandwidth, not  to download PDFs unless you opt to access them by pressing the icon.  As stated above, this can be avoided if you mark a notebook offline in the settings of the IOS app and have the appropriate level of subscription.  In that case the PDF will be downloaded to the device at all times, and eat up storage on your device.

If you like you could create a feature request that PDFs are automatically downloaded when a note containing one is selected.

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