Evernote: OCR and Availability Everywhere on the Mac

Now that you have your ScanSnap and Evernote playing nicely together on your mac, maybe you’re asking yourself what’s the point.  Well, Evernote is a very powerful piece of software that will make your scanned documents available across multiple computers as well as your smartphone.  This alone is great, but Evernote’s real power is that it performs OCR on your scanned documents and makes them searchable (this even works on handwritten notes).  For me, whenever I get a paper statement/bill in the mail, a store receipt or anything worth keeping I immediately scan it into Evernote (and tag it), shred the original and forget about it.  With the ScanSnap and Evernote paired, these steps are a breeze and the process has done wonders to reduce my desktop clutter.  To top it all off, Evernote is free (unless you want the pro account).

The one catch with Evernote is that OCR is only performed on pdf documents if you pay for the pro account;  there is a simple workaround though.  If you are poor like me, and don’t want to pay the $45 annual fee for the pro account, simply set up a profile to scan into Evernote as jpeg, not pdf.  The free Evernote will OCR jpeg, no problem.  There is just one issue I’ve found with scanning in images instead of pdf and that is that each scanned page is its own image.  Evernote lets you combine notes though, so scan in a multiple page document as jpeg, select them all in Evernote and then right click and select merge notes from the menu.  Viola!  One final note on the OCR feature.  It is performed on the Evernote servers, so you must set your notebook to sync in order to OCR the text and make it searchable.  Shortly after a document has been uploaded, Evernote will download data from the server and you can search.  Good luck and have fun clearing off your desk.

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