In two of our previous installments, we explored the app versions of the Evernote ecosystem. We touched upon using your mobile device’s camera to save screenshots or on-the-go info. But I was delighted to find that Evernote has a scanner feature that is actually quite powerful, and which produces a sometimes clearer picture than just using the camera alone.
To access the scanner feature in the iOS app, flick your toolbar down so you can see the top toolbar. There will be a scrolling panel of your most recent notes, then three buttons: one to add a new note, one to take a photo and the last to scan a document. Select it and then use your device as you would a camera, pressing the button to take a picture, You can then crop your image and save it as a note.
I don’t know what Evernote does to these images to make them so much cleaer-looking than just a camera shot, but I have been impressed at how clear and readable even text-heavy documents have been.
I’ve used it to scan articles I clipped from paper magazines, handouts from courses I’ve taken, pamphlets with prescription information from the doctor, and so on.
An article at Lifehacker mentions a popular tip to create a tag for people for whom you might have many notes. One of his fellow staffers says: “I have tags for both of my kids and my wife. When I look up my son’s tag, I get everything from pictures he’s drawn for me to the results of his last check-up with the doctor.”
There are so many other uses for this document scanner. I remember scanning a whole bunch of photos from my mom’s old photo albums, pre-Evernote, and being frustrated that I had no ability to annotate on the fly with dates, places and so on. Scanning from within Evernote would’ve given me that option.
You can also use Evernote to organize your warranties, receipts and other vital documents. That’s what we’ll do for this tutorial.
MAKING A VITAL DOCUMENTS BOOK
We’ll be working with a variety of document types for this project, from printed text to photographs to mixed document types.
1.Create a new album called ‘Vital Documents.’ If you only plan to store instruction manuals, product sheets and other benign documents, go ahead and sync it with your regular Evernote account. If you want to store serial numbers, passports or other sensitive information, choose ‘local notebook’ instead. Local notebooks are stored only on your device, not on the Evernote servers. You therefore can’t sync them across all your devices. However, they can be accessed on the device in which the notebook is stored, and they can be encrypted.
2. Gather together any documents you want to include. These might be: warranties, passports or ID cards, instruction manuals for appliances and electronics, immunization cards, emergency cards, medication pamphlets or boxes, recipe cards, magazine clippings, etc.
3. Center your first document on a flat, clean surface. Open up Evernote and use the document scanning feature to scan your photo. Crop it if needed by dragging the handle bars when they appear. Add any tags or descriptors you wish, and then continue, scanning your remaining documents. (See example below.)
* Up next: Extending Evernote’s functionality with apps!