Thursday, October 4, 2012

Paperless – Automate Scanned Articles Into Evernote

A catch word that has popped up more and more in the last couple of years is going ‘Paperless’. Obviously, the less of a need to use paper has a positive impact on the environment and to be honest paper generally equals unnecessary clutter right? So how do we minimize the use of paper.

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For both the above reasons, I am slowing adopting the concept of going paperless. With  with so much going on in our daily lives and our mental search engines often overflowing and failing to find important pieces of paper when we them,  why not store them electronically and let technology do the work for you. If you have read any of my previous posts you probably know by now that I’m a big user and supporter of Evernote and have been using the note taking service for close to five years. During that time I have tried to push the Evernote functionality to its limits to help make the service work for me, so at the end of the day I have less work to do.

An area that I wasn’t able to master for quite some time until recently is how to scan a document or photos into Evernote directly, without the need of an extra step of having to create a new note and then attaching the scanned material manually. This was especially difficult while working on my family tree and trying to capture all of the documents and put them into Evernote was quite time consuming.

Having searched on Google and read articles on the Evernote web site about how to scan documents into Evernote, the solution that was most apparent was to purchase a Fujitsu ScanSnap compatible scanner which has built in functionality to push scanned documents straight into Evernote.  Ultimately this looked to be the simplest way of being able to do what I had been trying to accomplish and was very close to making the purchase but after further searching I found a web site named Wappwolf. From reading about the site I found that Wappwolf is an automation service for Dropbox users to automate the use of moving files in and out of Dropbox and to cut down on manual work.  Considering I have a Dropbox account and one of services that I could automatically moving of files to is Evernote, I had a lightblub moment and figured that this might actually allow me to do what I have been trying to do with my scanned documents. After having tried it, I can happily say it works like a charm.

So if you are after an automated process to scan your documents or photos straight into Evernote without the need of having to create notes or to really do anything else, below is a guide you might want to follow.
     Step 1: Sign Up and Setup a Dropbox Account

I won’t go into great detail about how to setup a Dropbox account, it is a relatively simple process but if you do get stuck, here is an easy to follow Youtube video to assist you. I recommend that you install the Dropbox application for either PC or Mac depending on the platform you use.

Step 2: Once you have created your Dropbox account and installed it on your Mac or PC. Visit the Wappwolf site and login with your new Dropbox account. You will be prompted to authorize the sharing of your Dropbox credentials between Dropbox and Wappwolf so that they work together. Go ahead and do this.

    You will be then prompted with a list of folders from your Dropbox account. Create a new folder called ‘Wappwolf’. Select the Wappwolf folder and click on ‘Next’.
    Step 3: Choose an Action is the next step.  Scroll down to the ‘Any File’ section.
    Select the ‘Upload to Evernote’ option.

Click the ‘Connect to Evernote’ button. Simpler to how you authorized Dropbox to use Wappwolf, the same needs to be done between Evernote and Wappwolf. You will be prompted to do so in a pop up window as outlined below.  On this page login with your Evernote details and authorize the sharing of account information, if you don’t have an Evernote account then ‘Create an Account’ link and follow the instructions.

Step  4: Once you have connected the Wappwolf with Evernote, you can go ahead and setup an automated action.  My settings are outlined below.


I have the title of the note as the filename and because I have all of my unsorted notes in my personal notebook in my Inbox. I have used the tag ‘!Inbox’. Once complete hit the ‘Add Action’ button. You would have now created an automated action as outlined below

Step 5: To further reduce digital clutter, I have added one extra action. At the bottom under the Advanced section there is the option to ‘Delete the original file’. Select this option and then hit the ‘Add Action’ button.


Once done click the ‘Finish’ button unless you have another action you would like to add and you’re done!

That is the tricky part sorted, now when you use your scanner and should be able to use any scanner if of you have the Dropbox application installed. You need to ensure the output location of any scanned documents is set to the Wappwolf that should be in the Dropbox list of folders in your directory structure.

Now give it a shot and let me know how you go and this works for you in the comments section.

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