Using Evernote and Penultimate to go paperless

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I am already a big fan of the Penultimate app on my iPad, so to hear that Evernote (probably my most used app) has acquired the company is great news.

Penultimate allows users to write notes in free-hand and has the look and feel of my tangible much loved moleskine notebook (well almost).

I wish my handwriting was neater to make best use of this app but I still find it to be a really useful means of quickly sketching out a diagram to help explain a problem and tease out solutions. In my experience the saying:

“A picture paints a thousand words”

is so true. A quick sketch using symbols and stick men can help depict a problem and allows for more creativity in solving the problem. Penultimate addresses this need beautifully so it is great to see them now joined up with Evernote.

Evernote is a fantastic application and I use it for pretty much everything in terms of a store for information that I might need at some point in the future.

The basic version is free (you can download it here) and it allows you to upload documents, take notes, forward emails, store business cards, recipes, pictures – you name it, it stores it.

The real benefits for me are twofold:

  1. I can retrieve information quickly and easily by typing into its search-bar as Evernote has the capacity to very cleverly “read” pdf or other format documents to find the text that I am looking for within my account.
  2. I can access my Evernote account from wherever I am as it is cloud based and therefore synchs across all devices.

If you are looking to go paperless, you could do a lot worse than consider Evernote for this purpose. From a personal perspective, I find this works really well as I can use my Epson SX435W to scan all my personal paperwork directly into my Evernote account – here’s how:

Using a Mac and an Epson scanner / printer you simply:

  1. Set up an Evernote account and download the free application to your Mac
  2. Set up the Epson SX435W to synch with your Mac wirelessly – follow the Epson instructions
  3. Put the paper into the Epson scanner
  4. Launch “Image Capture” (which comes as standard on most Macs)
  5. The first time you use Image Capture you will need to select the Epson scanner that it should locate over your wifi connection.
  6. In Image Capture select the “Scan to” drop down and select “Other”
  7. Then click on “Applications” in the left-hand bar of the Finder that launches
  8. Scroll down to find Evernote in Applications
  9. Job done!

To be able to locate my documents on the move is such a weight off my mind. I know where all of my important documents are and that they’ll be quick to find. I also add web-clippings using Evernote’s extension to Chrome and I can also upload interesting blog posts directly from my preferred RSS reader app (Reeder).

And its not just “boring business / finance related stuff” in which Evernote comes into its own – I also scan in stuff like my kids’ drawings, stories and notes just in case they perish or more likely get lost over time….

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