One of the things that makes Evernote so versatile and convenient is the number of ways you can get your stuff into it.
In my last post I showed you how simple and fast it is to save webpages into Evernote with the Webclipper. But that’s not the only way to get information into Evernote, not by a long shot.
All the ways we can get information into Evernote is the real reason why Evernote is a great app to use. Once we know how to get our stuff into Evernote, then we can organize it. But the notes, articles, plans, and other types of things we want to keep records of, come first.
The real bonus in using Evernote for records storage is that it is not only text that is searchable. If you put an image into Evernote – a pdf, a scanned paper, a photograph – that has text in it, Evernote will scan and OCR (optical text recognition) it, making that text searchable. So, I can scan my book receipt, for example, and all those book titles and the totals are not only stored in Evernote, they are searchable.
So, let’s talk about the three image-based ways to get information into Evernote, because these are the things that make Evernote so versatile and useful for homeschooling.
Scan papers into Evernote
If you want to put bills, worksheets, receipts, or any other thing that you currently have on paper into Evernote, one way is to scan it and file it into Evernote. I have a Brother all-in-one printer that I love. Now, there are scanners that will directly scan into Evernote without any intermediate step, but mine is not one of them. Instead, I scan papers into pdfs which go onto my desktop, then I right click on the file and right on my computer menu is “Add to Evernote.” I believe this is one feature Windows does not have because Microsoft wants you to use OneNote instead; however, on my Mac it was in the dialog box immediately after I installed Evernote.
I looked, and apparently you can do something similar in Windows if you save the pdf you’re scanning into a particular folder: Creating Auto-Import folders in Evernote for Windows
You can also use a scanner app such as Scanner Pro and scan just like taking a photo with your phone or tablet. It’s better than a photo because the quality and text-recognition will be better than if you simply use your camera. With an app like that, you can have a portable scanner right in your pocket, and it will automatically save straight into your Evernote, which is synced anywhere you are logged in. Pretty awesome.
In fact, it’s so awesome I just have to give you this example, because it makes me so happy. I like to keep a handwritten commonplace notebook when I read, and I prefer to take sermon or lecture notes long-hand, too. But, afterwards, I want the convenience and permanence of searchable Evernote records. Look at this:
This was scanned from my 17-cent spiral notebook commonplace with the Scanner Pro app. Scanner Pro automatically sends my scans to Evernote, so I don’t even have to do anything after I scan it. It appears, just like this, magically.
But wait, it gets better. My handwriting is not the neatest nor prettiest, and I am thinking and trying to get a note jotted down before some child or other starts screaming, so my handwriting is not my focus in my commonplace journal. Doesn’t matter, though. Look at this. I search for “piety” in the Evernote search bar and it finds even the word in my not-very-neat handwriting and low-quality scan:
I can’t even tell you what a pure geeky joy I get from that right there.
Take photos in Evernote
A scanner app is great for quickly and conveniently getting physical documents digital and into Evernote, but that camera on your device is also handy.
Here’s an example of a photo I took of our whiteboard after our afternoon lessons:
You can take a photo with your camera of an art project, a nature walk, a science poster, a child reading upside down over the back of the couch, or any other photo that would capture your homeschooling efforts. Then you can open the note you want that photo to be in within Evernote, hit the attach button, and select that photo. It will be inserted and even display in the sidebar of the note if it’s the first photo, adding a nice graphical touch to your reference materials.
Another way to do it is from within Evernote. On your device, open up the note you want your photo to be included in, then select the camera icon. Take your photo and – pop! – it’s in your note.
Save pdfs straight to Evernote
Sometimes you have editable pdfs you might want to save or pdfs you have annotated with Skitch (another Evernote app). For example, the Plan Your Year homeschool planning pages are pdfs that you can edit right within Previewer or Acrobat, and then save straight into Evernote.
You can also “print” a document you create straight into Evernote as a pdf if you’re on a Mac. Microsoft wants you to use OneNote, not Evernote, so this isn’t an option on Windows, but on a Mac you can hit Print —> Save as pfd —> and select “Evernote.” Voila! Your pdf is in your default notebook (which I suggest you make an “Inbox” notebook that you regularly check and move files to the right place.
I explain this more clearly in this video:
Email things to Evernote
When you sign up for an Evernote account, you get a special Evernote email address. Here’s a screenshot showing how to find it:
So, for example, I receive our standardized test results by email every spring. To save them, I simply forward them to my Evernote email address, which is a contact in my gmail. I also use Evernote as a blog backup by having my Evernote email address signed up as an email subscriber. Not only is the full text with images delivered to the right notebook in Evernote every time I post, but the link is included in it, as well, and it is all automatically done. If I search for something in Evernote, all my blog posts as well as my personal notes are searched. This has been great for book notes, which I – of course – keep in Evernote, where I can search for a concept, term, or quote when I want it.
These three ways to get your research, records, notes, plans, and ideas into Evernote make it a natural solution for a digital filing system. It can hold all of these things, make them searchable, and all without using up any extra space in your house.