How to Scan Documents Directly into Evernote

Thanks to Evernote, I have been able to go completely paperless in my new home office. For years this was a dream of mine; now it is a reality.

A Man Facing a Huge Wave of Paper - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #12153567

Photo courtesy of ©

In this post, I want to explain how to use a scanner with Evernote. This has been the single biggest clutter-buster for me. No more stacks of paper sitting on my desk or credenza. Those days are history!

If you are just getting started with Evernote, I suggest that you buy Brett Kelly’s remarkably practical e-book, Evernote Essentials, 4.0. It will save you HOURS of learning Evernote on your own.

Instead, I scan all loose papers—receipts, invitations, business cards, bills, warranties, letters, and even entire seminar notebooks—directly into Evernote.

Here’s how you can do the same thing in seven steps:

  1. Buy an Evernote-compatible scanner. I opted for the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300. Fujitsu, Canon, and Lexmark all make models that sync directly to Evernote. This saves you the step of scanning into a PDF and then importing into Evernote—a huge timesaver.
  2. Set up the scanner. This is the trickiest part. The ScanSnap process is not automatic. I tried it on two different computers with the same results each time. I had to setup an Evernote profile manually. Fujitsu needs to make this process easier. However, once it is setup, it is as simple as inserting your paper and pushing a button.

    In case you have to do this yourself, here is what my Settings look like. If this doesn’t apply to you, just skim past these images to Step #3.

    ScanSnap Settings - Tab 1
    ScanSnap Settings - Tab 2
    ScanSnap Settings - Tab 3
    ScanSnap Settings - Tab 4
    ScanSnap Settings - Tab 4
    ScanSnap Settings - Tab 6

  3. Gather all your loose papers. I had about a foot-high stack of loose papers when I started. I had everything from receipts, to bills, invitations, and multi-page manuals and white papers. There’s almost nothing you can’t scan into Evernote. The ScanSnap handles paper of all sizes up to 8½ inches wide. As long as it is not thicker than normal paper or even light card stock, you can scan it.
  4. Start scanning. I just started scanning and figured it out as I went. I got progressively better and faster. The ScanSnap even compensates for misaligned or downright crooked scans. It straightens them on the fly, so that the images are almost perfectly vertical. It took me about half a day to get through the paper I had accumulated.
  5. File and tag each item. You will want to enter “metadata” (i.e., information about the information) in the Evernote item that is created. For example, with receipts, I always start with the date, the vendor, and the amount. I use minimal tags; sometimes I don’t use any. Evernote indexes everything in the document, so you don’t need to repeat that in the tags. A good rule of thumb is to tag items with information that doesn’t appear in the document. Here’s an example:

    Sample of a scanned receipt in Evernote

  6. Throw the paper away. Yep, that’s right. Just throw it away. Or better yet, recycle it. Is your data safe? Yes. You have a local copy on your hard drive. Hopefully, you also have a backup of that. In addition, you have a copy securely backed up on the evernote servers. If you are skeptical, you might want to read this Evernote blog post on data protection. By the way, I do keep paper copies of a very few important records (e.g., birth certificates, passports, etc.) though I have also scanned them.
  7. Rinse and repeat. Scanning with Evernote is surprisingly easy once you get it set up. It doesn’t take any more time than creating a paper file, plus you have it instantly available and searchable no matter where you happen to be, thanks to the magic of “cloud syncing.”

Buying a scanner will set you back a few hundred dollars. I certainly hesitated when I saw the price tag. But it has been one of the best investments I have ever made. I love working in a clutter-free environment where I can instantly retrieve the information I need.

Question: How would scanning into Evernote fit into your workflow? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Patricia Zell

    As a teacher with stacks and stacks of papers in her life, I envy you. Maybe someday, someone will create a device that will grade papers, record the grades, and return the papers to the students…oh, well, I can dream, can’t I?   ;-) 

    • B_Schebs

       I think that device has been created.   Its called a Student teacher.

      • Karl Mealor

        lol.  Been that guy… 

      • Joe Lalonde

         Thanks for the chuckle B!

        • B_Schebs

           Any time Joe! !

      • Patricia Zell

        I wish–haven’t had one yet! 

  • Anonymous

     So, Michael, does this scanner work wirelessly with your MacBook Air?

    Thanks for these efficiency/technology posts! As one who has worked from a home office for years, I’m finding these ideas using the newest technology to be very helpful! Peace….

    • Michael Hyatt

      No, it connects via USB.

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    Thanks for your marathon posts on ever note. Your intention to go paperless is exciting to me as I can relate to the same personally. In my current role, we are moving away from physical audit binders to electronic audit binders.  To go completely paperless. That will be a seamless transition for our function as we consume huge amount of paper every year.

  • John Richardson

     Helpful post, Michael. I have a printer/scanner at home that has a multi-sheet feeder and will scan to e-mail or memory card. I think that using the e-mail feature with my Evernote e-mail address may allow me to scan directly to an Evernote notebook. I’m going to give it a try. Otherwise the purchase of a dedicated scanner might be the hot tip. I hate clutter, and this will help me capture important documents before they hit my recycle bin.

    • Brebose

      Hi, I have the same type of printer at home and found a free program called ScanDrop. It allow you to scan from the printer and upload it  to Evernote, after adding all necessary metadate. Works with most All-in-one printer.

      Also, the quality of the scan is better then with my printer software. 

      • Michael Hyatt

        Cool. That sounds very interesting.

      • Rick Davis

        Hey Brebose,
        Thanks for the tip on Scan Drop. I purchased one of those very expensive Neatdesk scanners and filing database programs, but it sounds like I could have done the same thing with Scan Drop and my Brother All-In-One Color Lazar contraption. Can’t wait to find out what Scan Drop and Evernote can do–coupled with my contraption(s).

      • Phil Whittall

        I’ve also just found scandrop and it seems to work just fine, and as it’s free that’s an immediate saving on buying a new scanner/printer

      • Melissa

        I have been using ScanDrop for quite a while and love it!  The whole scan-to-Evernote thing took my Evernote  usage to a new level.

  • Chris

     I appreciate all the time and effort you’ve put into getting these Evernote posts up – they have all been very helpful. I serve as a missionary in Cambodia – and the advise about how to go paperless and less dependent upon baggage has certainly helped me to keep on top of the work.

  • B_Schebs

    I am loving the posts. Pretty soon you will be able to combine all of your blog posts into a free version of evernote Essentials. Thanks for the tips Mr Hyatt! 

    • Steven Cribbs

      I had the same thought :)  It leaves me wondering how much more (at least on a topical basis) is there that we have not seen covered here… 

  • Ken Boer

    Thanks for your posts on this!  Questions I’ve wondered when considering doing this – 

    1. Are electronic records sufficient for IRS records for a home business, esp. if we were ever audited?

    2. Do you keep hard copies for products you may need to return (like electronic products with warranties)?

    • Dr. Brad Semp

      Hi Ken – I’m NOT a lawyer but electronic receipts had better be acceptable because that is ALL that I have for my business.  :)  Personally, I keep hard copies for electronic products with warranties (at least until the warranty period expires).  Great questions!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know the answer to either question, but I am betting that digital copies will be sufficient. All the PDFs actually get saved it a folder you designate, so, at least with a product, you could print out the PDF and take it to the store.

      • Jeff Randleman

        I agree.  I’ve printed a PDF and used it at Best Buy to make an exchange.  They questioned me about why I was doing it that way, but they accepted it.

        • Michael Hyatt

          I think this will become more and more accepted. It’s like boarding passes. I rarely print one out any more. The airlines sends me a link, I click it on my iPhone, it loads a QR code on my mobile browser. I simply scan that and TSA lets me through.

          • Jeff Randleman

            Great idea!  If only I flew more…

  • Jon Stolpe

    This is inspiring.  I envision a lot of upfront work to get everything scanned initially, but I can imagine the freedom once everything is organized and things move into a maintain mode.  Thanks for the advice and encouragement.

    Another reason to upgrade our home PC.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yep, exactly. It does require an investment upfront. But scanning actually becomes—dare I say it—fun. I love being organized and having everything at my finger tips.

      • Jeff Randleman

        It sure is fun!

  • Karl Mealor

    While wading through two tons (slight exaggeration) of documents in my garage (searching for a car title), I came to some realizations about myself.  Bought the scanner.  Planning on setting up Evernote within the next month or so.  Thanks for the encouragement and the info.

    • Michael Hyatt

      You will be glad you did, Karl. It is enormously liberating.

  • Andrew

    I’m really interested in moving to a paperless system. I’ve looked at the ScanSnap, but am most interested in the Doxie scanner by Apparent. At $149, it’s a little pricey for us, so we’ll probably have to hold off for a little while. I am loving Evernote, though!

    • Michael Hyatt

      You might also check eBay and pick up one used.

      • Andrew

        I haven’t seen any on eBay, unfortunately, but I could go for another brand, I’m sure. Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      You can download ScanDrop to Cloud found in the Evernote toolbox.  You can hook up most scanners to it.  My scanner is 8 years old and set up just fine.  I have been using the heck out of it and it so freeing!

      • Andrew

        Thanks for the suggestion! I was able to find a cheap scanner for sale on eBay, so this solution should work great.

    • ray

      I just bought a Doxie GO wifi, hope it will become the best solution of my paperless system. 

      Doxie wifi(Scan Directly to Evernote now) + Evernote( With CloudHQ Sync to GDocs, hope soon can be direct to GDocs, and GDocs can looks like officedrop) + Share + Mobile

      evernote is cool, but
      45$ /12G, 1o years/450$/120G; 
      GDocs:5$/20G + 20$/80G + 20$/80G + 50$/200G X 7 = 5 + 20 + 20 + 350 = 395$ Total, large capacity and more security.

  • Dr. Brad Semp

    Hi Michael – As always, another detailed and awesome post!  I have implemented my “paperless office” in pretty much the same way other than using one of two different scanners.  I simply use a Canon All-In-One to scan documents to PDF and then upload to Evernote (extra step).  More and more I am now finding myself using my portable Neat scanner (with the Neat scanner I can carry it with me on business travel).

    Awesome stuff – keep it up! 

    • Michael Hyatt

      I already had an Epson flatbed scanner. The the thing I love about the ScanSnap is that (a) it is double-sided (it scans both sides of the paper at the same time), (b) it is color, and (c) it is Evernote compatible. It is also small enough to take on a business-trip. In fact, I have it hear on my sabbatical. (I know, I know, that officially makes me a geek!)

      • Dr. Brad Semp

        Ok, ok, ok…..I give. :)  All of those features that you mention are awesome.  Now I have to check into the ScanSnap more seriously.  :)  Don’t be spending more than a couple of Action Units (AUs) on work during your sabbatical!! ha ha

        • W. Mark Thompson

          Reading you two go back and forth educates me more than cnet dot com!  …but much more entertaining.  :)

  • Mark S

    I worry about storing medical statments/bank statements on there given their access control policies (they can view all of your data if needed).  Do you pre-encrypt that data before sending it to Evernote?

    • Michael Hyatt

      No, I don’t. I wrote an entire book on privacy in 2001. However, it is not something I worry about any more. Anyone who wants to get to your data can. Even now. I don’t care what system you use.

    • Michael Hyatt

      By the way, you can encrypt selected text in Evernote. You just highlight it and the select  Edit | Encrypt Selected Text. You then assign a passkey, which is not stored on the Evernote servers.

      • Kimberly WOOD-SALDANA

        Not totally true, in my experience. I had some docs sent to Evernote from my Doxie scanner. Wanted to encrypt some text. Would not work. They told me it was because it was a jpeg. Apparently, my scanner just takes a picture of the 10,000 docs I have scanned and sends them over to Evernote. From what I was told from someone, a scanner is basically a camera.

    • Anonymous

      Mark, You can make local notebooks that are only accessible on your computer.  So you don’t have the syncing the cloud backup.  But for things that you are concerned about you could just leave on a local copy on your computer.   

      • Michael Hyatt

        I had totally forgotten about this. Thanks for he reminder!

        • Lucinda Lowry Mason

          Just remember to faithfully back up your local data if you go this route. That includes keeping a copy off-site. That’s a huge benefit of a paperless office/house. You can backup all that data without having to make copies and store all that paper.  

  • Daniel Parris

     Michael, I had the same exact experience setting up the scansnap.  That’s one area they should make more intuitive.  However, once I set it up correctly, this thing is amazing.  Thanks for blogging about the device.  I had never heard of it. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      They really do need to make the setup process “idiot proof.” Apple has set the standard: plug it in and go!

      • Jeff Randleman

        I have it set up on both my MacBook Air and my PC laptop.  Works seamlessly on both, and I didn’t find it too rough to set up on either platform.  In fact, it only took me less than 10 minutes tops, to set up both computers. 

        • Michael Hyatt

          You must have found the magic button. I set up Gail’s last night, and fiddled with it for an hour before I got it to work. For starters, the software that came with the scanner was two versions out-of-date. I discovered this by accident on the ScanSnap website. That might have made it easier had I started there.

          • Jeff Randleman

            I must have.  Regardless, it was simple.  And using it is even more so!

  • Joe Lalonde

    Thanks for more great Evernote tips. I think something like this could work at our business. It’s something I will think about implementing.

  • Chris Potts

     Great post, Michael!  About six months ago I started going through this same process — attempting to go paperless and scan everything into Evernote; I was skeptical at first (for many reasons, but mostly regarding security) but those feelings quickly evaporated once I saw the incredible value of being able to access any document I need at any time, wherever I’m at!  It took quite a while to get going but once I got the hang of it, it became second nature.  I love it and can’t imagine going back to the old way.  I wouldn’t want to be a manufacturer of filing cabinets right now, that’s for sure.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Good point. I was all set to buy a filing cabinet. But the one file drawer in my desk is now more than sufficient for the handful of documents I keep.

  • Rob Thomas

    Michael, great post.
    Quick question, what about scanning pictures? Do you think your Fujitsu does a good job of scanning old 4×6 pictures?

    I recently bought a Pandigital Photo scanner and like it.  With the thousands of pictures I want to scan, a flatbed makes no sense… it takes way too long.  These ‘feed’ scanners make a ton of sense.  Just wandering if you have tried to scan pictures and if so, do they look good?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Honestly, I haven’t tried it. All my photos have been digital for the last decade. I used my flat-bed scanner to scan in some photos about five years ago.

    • Kenneth Clapp

      Rob, let me say up front I haven’t actually got to use my scansnap yet, still waiting on fed ex :), but reading the manual they actually say that photo’s are not compatible (i think it’s the weight of the paper) and could result in damage to the scanner. It’s the only drawback I had concerning the scanner, but since the vast majority of what i needed it for is document based I decided to overlook this one flaw. (as far as resolution and quality of scan it has all the specs, i think it’s just the paper feed that can’ handle the glossy finishes or heavier weight paper)

    • Dave Adair

      I’ve used my ScanSnap for photos and it was pretty hopeless. They’re not good quality.

      I can heartily recommend for bulk scans. I had 700 slides scanned from a road trip (San Francisco to Costa Rica and back!) and they came out great. There are many alternatives, but hand-scanning hundreds or thousands of pics just doesn’t work for me.

      Unrelated: current travel pics:

      • Michael Hyatt

        This is why I love my digital camera!

  • Anonymous

     i love how you share so much GREAT information to help people win!

  • Bryan Dunagan

    As a speaker/communicator, I love the intensity with which you handle note-taking/organizing of information. I’ve adopted your Evernote approach, and am already seeing some of the benefits. When is Evernote going to hire you? 

  • Mike Hardin

    Any scanner can be “Evernote Compatible”. Evernote desktop versions can be set to monitor a folder on your hard drive and automatically import documents that are added to that folder. Just have Evernote monitor the default folder for your scanner.  Currently I’m using the scanner that is part of my HP 3 in 1 machine. My only frustrations are that it is slow and only does one sided scanning.  Hopefully one day I can spring for the nice dedicated duplexing scanner.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Sadly, the Mac version doesn’t have this capability. You have to create an AppleScript.

      • Anonymous

        I was just looking back through comments for Mike Hardin’s comment about setting Evernote to monitor a folder and import documents in that folder, hoping I could make use of an old “Neat Receipts” scanner made by Plustek to avoid spending money on a new scanner (4 devices w/ scanning ability in our office and one at home, so the idea of buying one more…).  I couldn’t find the setting in Evernote to make this happen so Mike Hyatt thanks for clarifying that the Mac version doesn’t have this ability – I’m sure there’s some workaround somewhere, but I don’t need the distraction so I guess it’s time to buy that scansnap :)

  • Brad Harris

    I’ve been thinking about moving to something like this for a while now. I like the idea of no-clutter and doing away with most paper files. You may have convinced me to take the leap. Thanks for the info.

  • Anonymous

    this question may be too technical, but do you have any comments on how to tell if a scanner or a networked multi-function print/scan/copy device is “evernote

    for our office scanning needs, we have to have both flatbed and multi-sheet feed functions to scan delicate drawings w/ flatbed, multi-sheet docs w/ feeder.  I have two existing devices to choose from – a relatively new networkable HP  color laserjet multi-function device and an older (windows only) Xerox Documate flatbed/sheet fed combo scanner (the xerox scans better and I’m more familiar with it so I tend to default to it), but I have no real idea how to tell if either of these (or the newer version of the Xerox Documate, which is mac compatible but still not ethernet/wireless networkable) is “evernote compatible”

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry, I don’t. However, the Evernote forums are a great resource for this kind of thing.

  • Brad Harris

    When you send the documents to Evernote from the scanner, do you set a default notebook and then go into the Evernote app to move the note to the appropriate notebook – or can you specify a notebook directly from the scanner?  Thanks.

    • Michael Hyatt

      When the scanner is finished scanning the document, an evernote note pops up with the scanned image in the body. I can then enter in the title, notebook, tags, etc.

      • Highgear2911

        Michael…thank you for putting this all together for us. Now..regarding scanning to a specific notebook. If scanning 10 documents in one sitting or you loaded 10 items to be scanned on your scansnap s1500m, it will rapidly scan all ten. Will I be able to then review EACH one thereafter to file it to a specific notebook OR do I have to do each one of the ten, AS it is scanning? Hope this makes sense. TY

        • Michael Hyatt

          You can put a stack on the ScanSnap, and it will ask you with each new page whether it goes with the previous one or is a new one. (I’m on an airplane right now, so I don’t have access to the exact prompts.) In other words, you can create single or multi-page PDFs. All of them get scanned to your default folder (mine is “!Inbox”). However, the ScanSnap software will popup each note in a window, so you can select the appropriate notebook and add the necessary tags.

  • Anonymous

     Looks like you are going to need to add a new category of items you talk about called Evernote.  I hope that you get paid for all this free advertising……;-)  I don’t remember, do you still have the free Evernote or do you have the pay for use version, I am wondering how all the stuff you are scanning impacts the amount of storage available to you? Does the continue scanning after current scan make it so you have multiple pages in on PDF or do you have one image for each page?  Sounds like this is a great GTD practice for the weekly review.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I am using the Premium version. It allows more storage and allows you to attach way more file types to notes. So, for example, when I forward an email with an Excel attachment, the attachment gets stored with the note. So far, I have only used 100 MB of 1 TB I have available.

      I continue scanning with the current scan for multi-page documents, so that it is one PDF and one note. For example, I attended a conference a few weeks ago. They gave us a notebook full of pages with outlines and blank space to take notes. When I got home, I scanned the whole thing into one Evernote note and then threw away the notebook.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for the update.  Appreciate you answering my questions. 

  • TNeal

    Wow! In reading your responses to other comments, I see why you promote Evernote and offer us your wisdom and experiences. I feel the need already for a scanner based on the magazine’s marked up and the hand-written notes scattered around the house. You broaden my awareness when you comment about tossing a conference notebook away after the conference. No need, it’s all stored in Evernote now. Slowly but surely you’re moving me toward my own paperless world.

  • Jerry

    Okay. I gave up my $289.00 to Amazon and ordered one. Can’t wait to eliminate my stacks of paper!

  • Joey Baumgartner

     I use the same method described by Mike Hardin in  his comment. I set c:Evernote as the import folder on all of the computes I use (home and work laptops and PC’s). I have an old Canon all-in-one printer that will scan to any machine on the network. 

    The Canon drops the PDF into the c:Evernote directory, and the Evernote client automaticlly picks it up and uploads it into my default notebook. Only drawback is that a computer  has to be on for this to work. 

    You can get all-in-one printers for much less than a dedicated scanner.

  • Maureen

    I’d still like a more definitive answer about whether or not electronic copies of receipts are acceptable for tax purposes, warranties and medical insurance claims. In all three of those cases, I have been instructed to submit the original receipts and/or retain the originals if submitting electronically. When audited a few years ago, the auditor required the original receipts to prove our tax returns. I don’t know if he would have accepted a scanned copy or not. Just in the past few months my medical insurer asked for the original receipts to be mailed to them to back up a claim I had submitted online. Keep us informed, Michael, if you run into any situations where you wish you’d kept the paper copies!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Maybe you could research this, Maureen, and report back. I’d like to know, too.

      • Kevin Kleinfelter

        About 5 years ago, I went to a talk given by an IRS agent titled something like, “Record Keeping for Small Businesses.”  It was put on by the county, as part of a series of small biz seminars.  I asked this specific question.

        The agent’s reply was that HE would accept electronic copies, and he thought that most agents would accept them, and that if you wanted a definitive ruling, you’d have to apply for one.

    • bethanyplanton

      These are definitely good things to consider when thinking about going paperless. Thanks for bringing them up.  

  • Moudu Ugbodaga

    Thanks for this post. I have recently taken interest in Records Management and i believe there is a huge opportunity out there for the Records Management industry. Can you point me in the right direct direction, especially with regards to training,  software and hardware.
    Many thanks for your time.

  • Brett Berchtold

    Mike, thanks for the post. I’ve used the Evernote and ScanSnap solution for about 14 months now. I’ve found it extremely liberating to say the least. I’ve found that I use the OCR capabilities of the ScanSnap to find text in my meeting notes, etc. I use tags, but finding exact text in my notes has been helpful. I just have to make sure I write legibly. :)

    • Steven Cribbs

      The OCR capabilities sound really intriguing.  How well does the OCR turn out?  And, how well do the search results work when trying to search through everything for that one specific place you wrote knick-knacks?

      • Michael Hyatt

        The OCR is fantastic. The key to finding the stuff you want is to understand the search capabilities and syntax. I plan to write another post or two on that.

        • Steven Cribbs

          Thanks Michael.  OCR has come a long ways in the last few years.  I will definitely have to play with this! 

  • Steven Cribbs

    Great information Michael!  Thanks for showing such detail.  This sure would help with the stack of papers that I hold onto too long just because it takes a while to follow up with the informaton on them.

    Now, if it would somehow automatically take care of my ‘sticky note’ dilema (I do love my sticky notes). 

  • Linda Broadus

    About 8 years ago I started a spring cleaning project with
    my HP printer and over time eliminated almost all my paperwork. It was so
    freeing!! Since that time I’ve maintained a paperless environment and have been
    encouraging others to do the same.


    Recently I did another cleaning project and found a couple
    of bins of paperwork in a closet that I forgot about and really need
    to archive now. This information is so helpful and will be timesaving. Looking
    forward to purchasing a Scan Snap. You convinced me. Thanks for your post!

  • Dave Adair

    Thanks for another helpful post. I went through this process last year with the portable Fujitsu ScanSnap. But now that I’m on the road more-or-less full-time with my scanner in storage, I can keep up (at a much lower volume) using a camera in macro mode. 

    My routine is to take a photo of the receipt/document/biz card in bright indirect light, and use the free Picasa software to crop, resize the image, and e-mail it to my Evernote account. I have the free Evernote account, but the resulting images are small, which I prefer anyway, and don’t push the limits of the acount. So handy to have what you need in Evernote!

    • Steven Cribbs

      Have you come across any limitations with the free version of Evernote that have made you consider upgrading to the premium version? 

      • Dave Adair

         I recently added a bunch of older PDF’s into Evernote and upgraded for that reason – it was over the monthly limit. But I downgraded after one month, and those documents stay there. The monthly allowance is the main limitation of a free account, plus you can’t upload any file type you want with the free version. I use EN primarily for snippets of information – text, web clippings, and photos of documents – so that doesn’t bother me.

        • Steven Cribbs

          Thanks Dave! 

          • Mark Holmes

            one other limitation is that if you are using something like an iPod Touch with only wireless capabilities, you will not be able to read your notes if you are in an area where you can’t get a connection.  The premium version allows you to download your notes to your device.

          • Steven Cribbs

            Interesting. Thanks for the insight.

      • Brett Berchtold

        Steven, the biggest reason for me having the Premium account is the ability to upload other file types such as MS Word and Excel.  It works seamlessly with my task management tool of choice, Nozbe (Mike has posted on this here: “”), in conjunction with Evernote.  Nozbe actually scans your tags on your Evernote account and Dropbox folders to give you the ability to tag items related to a specific project. Dropbox takes all types of files, but it only has 2GB available with the free version. Also, it’s ANOTHER piece of software that I would have to use.

        • Steven Cribbs

          Thanks Brett!  There seems to be enough stuff in the premium version that would make it worth while.  Nozbe seems like an interesting component as well.

  • joshaidan

    Why not recycle the paper rather than throwing it out? :)

    I’m not sure if I would define this system as a paperless system as you are still required to use paper to take information in.  In my opinion, a completely paperless system is one that does not require you to receive information in paper form.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Trust me, my wife make sure it all gets recycled. ;-)

      I regard it as paperless because, to the extent I can control it, I am paperless. Unfortunately, the rest of the world isn’t. Many people and organizations still give you paper.


  • Jeff Randleman

     I also use the SnapScan.  I’ve been doing this for about a month, but haven’t yet arrived at where I want to be with this process.  So far, I’m using this for ministry related documents.  I haven’t quite satisfied myself on the security of scanning bank/creditcard statements to EN.

    I love the capabilities of placing so much in the cloud though.  It’s a great feeling to remove so much clutter from my life.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Keep in mind, Jeff, that you statement are already living on someone else’s servers—your banks. If you really want to, you can encrypt the data in Evernote. Your passcode is not sent to the server.

      • Jeff Randleman

        I’ve thought of that.  But how protected is EN’s security versus my bank’s?  I’ve dealt with some information compromise before, and I’m a little gun shy. It just seems like my bank or cards have more invested in security than EN might.

        My plan is to convert everything else to EN, and by the time I get to my bank and credit card statements, maybe I’ll feel more secure about it.  If not, they will take significantly less room than I’m currently using in my file cabinet!

        • Michael Hyatt

          Why not just leave them on your bank’s server? Do you really need paper copies?

          • Jeff Randleman

            Hmmm…  I need to check into how long the keep them.  Good thought.  Thanks! 

    • Steven Cribbs

      Hey Jeff, now that you have been doing Evernote for a little while, have you found anything that would make you want to use the premium version over the free version? 

      • Michael Hyatt

        Here are the four primary benefits of Evernote Premium from my perspective:

        1. Greater upload capacity (1GB per month compared to 60MB).

        2. File synchronization of any file type. You can, for example, forward an email with an Excel attachment, and it will be there in Evernote.

        3. Search within PDFs. (This alone is worth the price for me.)

        4. Notebook sharing. This is also huge for me. I can share various notebooks with my wife, an assistant, or a co-worker. We can both contribute content, read, and edit.

        There are additional features which you can find on the comparison page.

        • Steven Cribbs

          Thanks Michael!  I appreciate you taking the time to give such a thorough response.  I have looked through the comparisons and seen the basics.  I am just curious as to the experiences of some of those out in the field with similar needs.

          I had not picked up yet on your #3 and #4 points.  Those would be significant for me.  For the shared notebooks – do I understand correctly that for others to edit (add to) the content, that they must also have a premium account?

          • Michael Hyatt

            That is correct. Others can view it with the free version, but you have to have the Premium version to edit it.

          • Jeff Randleman

            Looks like I was too slow in responding here.  Michael beat me to it.

            I’ve already subscribed to the premium version, because of the PDF searchability, the ability to add multiple file formats, and the upload capacity.  I haven’t had much of a chance to explore the shared notebook function yet, although I plan to do so.

            Also, at $5 a month, its a steal.  And, by subscribing for a year at a time, it was only $45. That’s 3 months free!  It didn’t take me very long to decide that one…  

        • David

          I upgraded to the Premium just because I like Evernote  so much. I use it so often, they deserve my money. Just passing it on. 

  • George Price

     Thanks so much for the help. I started using Evernote and Nozbe on your recommendation. I recently bought a MacBook Air on your recommendation. I have not been disappointed with any of my purchases. 
    I too would like to get rid of the stacks of paper in my office. However, most of my stacks are notes and like documents that I would love to edit. Before I bought my Mac, I had a PC and used Omnipage. Any suggestions for OCR software for the Mac? 

    Thanks again for your great information, recommendations and reviews. They have been helpful.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry, I don’t have a recommendation for that.

  • Jennifer Cutright

    Michael, awesome information!
    I clipped it directly to my own EverNote!
    Still in the learning stages, but it never occured to me to use this in my home office.  I can’t wait to get started!  Makes filing and spring cleaning sound like fun!
    Time to throw stuff away!  YAY!

  • Jeff

    Great post.  I too use Evernote to scan documents, however I’m using Visioneer’s RoadWarrior.  I like the small footprint it has, however, it appears one thing that ScanSpan has  is the ability to edit the data of the scanned document at scan time, i  have to go into Evernote to make edits.  Here’s my post I wrote awhile back,  –  Great job!


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  • Pat Alexander

     Mike, thanks so much for the steps to setting up the ScanSnap scanner w/Evernote. I have been busy and not set aside the time to look up these steps, but when I saw you had documented it so well, I just stopped and did it. I love my ScanSnap. It is awesome with my Neat Receipts program as well.

    • Michael Hyatt

      How do you use these two programs (and presumably hardware) together? I just scan my receipts into Evernote. Thanks.

      • Pat Alexander

        Mike, I have used NeatReceipts for a number of years to manage my business expenses, business income data and expense reports to my clients. I used to use the NeatReceipts small scanner with the windows program. 

        When I moved to a Mac I moved to the mac version of the program and the ScanSnap S300M. The scanner usually reads a great deal of data from the receipt and populates the fields in the database. Whatever isn’t read, you fill in the field. The Hertz name never populates since it is their logo on the receipt.So much info you can capture. At tax time, it literally now takes me less than 2 hours to review my data, re-organize if the IRS has changed the categories and get into the turbo tax document. It used to take me ages to pull it all together. A new feature of NeatReceipts, is if you have a receipt that you have gotten from a online order and it is in .pdf format you can just drag & drop it into NeatReceipts.

        I have to say this is the one piece of software that I value the most in managing my financial business affairs. If you need more info, please let me know.

        • Michael Hyatt

          Thanks, Pat. Very helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Michael, don’t forget to mention there is a app called ScanDrop to Cloud (by Officedrop) found in the Evernote optional apps. It scans directly to Evernote – you can choose your notebook and tags right there.  I downloaded it, and my current scanner/fax/printer (that is over 8 years old) works like a charm.  It won’t do legal size paper for some reason.  The option is there, but when I tired it kept giving me an error message.  That is possibly an error to do with my scanner and not the app. Other than that it is working beautifully.  

    Also, my other favorite Evernote capability is the Web “Clipper” !  I get devotionals, articles etc on  the internet all the time.  Now I can save them straight into Evernote!!  No more notebooks with different categories laying all over my office. 

    I have been steadily going through my office the past week and it is so freeing to put something in the shredder and see my desk again!!! Thanks so much Michael!  For this geek it is so much fun to get this set up and going!  

    So when will you be giving away an iPad so I can put it on there! ;) Hint  . . . Hint . . . Just suggesting! :)

    • Michael Hyatt

      This is good to know. Thanks.

  • caseycease

    There is a way to utilize a ‘non-supported’ scanner to scan directly into Evernote on a Mac. I have a Neat scanner, and before today, I had to scan into the NeatWorks software, export as a PDF, and then add to Evernote. However, I found this on the Evernote blog and have tried it out.  It works!

    The setup is quite simple:
    1.  Start ‘Image Capture’ – it is a free application that comes with OS X (/Applications/Image Capture)
    2.  If your scanner is supported (and turned on) you will see a window similar to the one in the screenshot below
    3.  Select the area you want to scan by dragging a rectangle around the preview of the scan
    4.  Set the quality of the scan to either B/W or Color Photo (depending on what you are scanning)
    5.  Give your scan a title
    6.  Choose PNG, JPEG as the format. If you would rather scan to PDF, keep in mind that images in PDFs will not be recognized by our image recognition
    7.  Select ‘Evernote’ as the Automatic Task – this is the key step in this process (NOTE: My ‘Image Capture’ did not have an option for ‘Automatic Task’, so I just selected Evernote as the ‘Scan to’.
    8.  And click ‘Scan’ – that’s all

    Here is the link to their blog post:

  • Jeff Randleman

    Michael, I have a quick question.  When I scan documents or recepits with my ScanSnap, it not only saves the PDf into Evernote, but also to my hard drive.  Do you keep both copies?  Or do you delete the ones on your computer and rely on EN to maintain your files?  I’m just wondering how to maintain efficient computer usage.  I can see a lot of storage space being filled up on my machine with 1/2 -1MB files…  Thanks!   

    • Michael Hyatt

      This is frustrating to me, Jeff. I really don’t need the files in two locations. Evernote is sufficient. As a result, I have been manually deleting those files. In the ScanSnap Manager, I specific that the scanned PDFs appear in [user]picturesevernote.

      However, yesterday, I just discovered the joy of Folder Actions on my Mac. As a result, using Automater, I created a Workflow that automatically deletes the PDFs. Here’s what I did:

      1. Launch Automater. (It’s in your Applications folder.)

      2. Create a new «Folder Action» template for your workflow.

      3. In the «Folder Action receives files and folders added to»,” select the folder you have designated in ScanSnap Manager. The default is «Pictures», but that will delete EVERY file added to that folder. Probably not what you want. That is why I created a separate «Evernote» folder.

      4. Insert the «Pause» action. I set mine to 5 minutes. This means that the folder action will delete the file 5 minutes after it hits that folder. I don’t know that this is necessary, but it gives me time to process the file in Evernote.

      5. Insert the «Move Finder Items to Trash» action.

      6. Save the Automater workflow with a name like «Delete ScanSnap PDF». This will automatically attach this Folder Action to the folder.

      That’s it. Now this action will work silently in the background, deleting the ScanSnap PDFs 5 minutes after they are created.

      Hope that helps.

      • Jeff Randleman

        That helps a lot!  Thanks! 

        Does anyone know if this is possible on a PC as well?

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  • Anonymous

    Oh my goodness. I definitely needed to read this. We’re getting ready to move and I have tons of papers that I need to go through (seminary class notes, legal documents, etc…). I’d like to hold on to them, but don’t want to lug them around. I’m going to look into getting a scanner to help with the process. Thanks Michael.

  • Rusty

    I guess I’m confused… I clicked on the “setup and Evernote profile manually” above ( ) and then downloaded the tool for Automatic Windows setup and it created two Evernote profiles (one for docs and one for notes) in under a minute.  Seemed effortless to me.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think part of the issue was that the software that came with my scanner was out-of-date.

  • Jason Georges

    Thanks for turning me back on to Evernote.  I am using the notepad / Evernote combo.  Not yet ready to purchase a Fujitsu ScanSnap so what I did was set up an Evernote folder on my hardrive that automatically syncs to Evernote.  With my existing scanner and software I set the default “save” folder as my Evernote folder.  Simply scan and save and it will sync to Evernote.

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  • Mark Holmes

    Do you scan single page docs as jpgs? Or do you scan everything as a pdf?  Just wondered since they are both searchable.  I know on my iPod Touch or my Android phone when I use the Evernote apps, I can see the jpg immediately (which I like), but with a scanned pdf on those devices, I only see a link to open the pdf (unlike the desktop version of Evernote where you see the whole thing if it is a pdf).  I like the quality of the pdfs better and for multi-page docs, it seems the way to go.  Just wondered if you used it for those single page ones or not.


    • Michael Hyatt

      I use PDFs for everything except actual photos.

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  • Ricky Lewis

    This is great! It has inspired me to work toward a paperless office. However, I run a small non-profit and wasn’t sure about spending the money on the Scansnap (plus I don’t travel enough to need a portable option). So I got the HP Officejet 6500A wireless (less than $150 on sale). Using the software my Mac automatically installed, I can wirelessly scan in the document and save directly to Evernote. It doesn’t do two sided but it is rare I have to take a few extra steps for that purpose.

    Thanks for the great post. Hope this helps some of those out there that can’t go for the ScanSnap.

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  • Rick Davis

    Hey Micheal,
    Is there a way I can find out if my scanner is compatible for use with Evernote?

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  • Rodgauthier

    Checkout Scandrop at Its a free scanning tool for twain scanners that allows you to scan to Evernote or Google docs. Just found it and it works, but i haven’t got the details all worked out!

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  • Dave Nicastro

    I’m in awe of your organizational skills with Evernote. Memphis is to Elvis as Nashville is to Michael Hyatt. I’m a Evernote newbie..couple days…and I flipped out when Evernote highlighted my searched words in a picture. Oddly, if a word was in a PDF, Evernote did not highlight the word but simply showed the PDF page. I’m wondering if I should bother making a PDF of my receipts if they don’t highlight. How do I get Evernote to highlight searched words in a PDF?

    • Michael Hyatt

      This is a feature of the Premium version. You can see the comparison between free and premium here. It is well worth the upgrade.

  • John Smith

    Can you also scan directly in Sage CRM

    document scanning
    services price calculator

  • John Smith
  • Kenny Chua

    Hi Michael,

    I was hoping that you could help me with understanding the difference between using scansnap and scanning it into a pdf first, and then dropping it into Evernote vs scanning straight to Evernote?  If you scan straight into Evernote, I get a popup saying that it’s converting my file into a JPEG even though I have PDF checked in the evernote settings.  Do I really want all my documents as JPEG in evernote?

    If I scan it into a pdf file first and then drop it into evernote, it’s like an attachment.

    Which way is better and why?  What are you thoughts on this?



    • Michael Hyatt

      When I scan, it goes straight into Evernote as a PDF. You might post your question on the Evernote user forum, I am not sure I can help you.

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  • Charles

    Great walkthrough – very helpful.  I agree – Fujitsu can make this a much better experience.  I followed the steps above and tried scanning my first two pages (one document), but the two pages were sent to my Evernote as two separate notes in the notebook I had open at the time.  So, how do I tell the Fujitsu to recognize the two pages as one document, and then how do I get it to send the document to the notebook of my choice (not necessarily the one that is open at the time.)  Thanks!

  • Lambonline

    I have had Evernote for several weeks now and I used the scanner on my hp Photosmart all-in-one to practice scanning in documents until my ScanSnap arrived.  I was pleased that I didn’t have to do anything, whether printed or handwritten, to have Evernote find words in my scans.  But now that I have my ScanSnap and I have it set up like Michael shows with the  [ ]Convert to Searchable PDF not selected, Evernote isn’t finding anything.  :(  I’m so disappointed because it has caused me to start using way more tags just to make sure I don’t mis something.  Is there something I am not understanding about how to best set this up? 

    • Michael Hyatt

      You might double-check the Evernote website or user forums. I think searchable PDFs or only available in the paid version. Thanks.

      • Lambonline

        Yes. That is true.  And I have the paid version.  :-/

  • Les

    Done and Done. Excellent tut. 

  • Gage Pope

    Thanks for the info.  I’m looking forward to organizing my life with the help of Evernote and Scansnap.

  • Oldkingpriam

    Thanks very much for such an informative post! 

  • DM Cook

    Have you ever figured out a better way to handle metadata tagging with multiple items? I hate how difficult this is to do in Evernote, and it seems so easy to fix. Maybe I’m not doing it right.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m not sure what you mean. If I select several notes, I can drag them to a note, and it will tag all of them.

      • DM Cook

        Fascinating. See, if you select a bunch of notes and add a tag to one, it won’t add the tag to the rest, so I assumed this wasn’t available. Funny that you need to drag it over — but hey, at least it works! Thanks for the great tip.

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  • Michael A. Wade


    Thanks for the post.  I am a huge Evernote fan as well.  I was just getting started with Evernote back in September of 2011 when I met you and heard you talk about productivity at the Building Champions Experience Conference in Washington State.  I may be over thinking this but I was wondering when you scan your receipts do you scan each receipt as a seperate PDF or all the receipts into one pdf (Lets say a weeks worth).  Thanks for all the great information you provide.  

  • Statham John

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    Papyrus’s document scanning and paper management services allow businesses’ to
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  • Bill

    first, thanks for all your great posts and information.  I have been an Evernote and SnapScan user for a while but recently made the switch to Mac and seem to have taken several steps backwards in my Evernote usage.  

    On the PC i can scan directly to Evernote and it will prompt me to create a file name before it saves the document to both my PC and in Evernote.  I can’t seem to find this feature on the Mac version of the SnapScan software; am i missing something?  The way it is set up if I want to add descriptive information to the filename I have to save it once then rename and re-save…

    Hoping for an easy solution,

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know of a way to do this. I just accept the detail but give it a descriptive title in Evernote. Thanks.

    • Sleahcim

      Hey Bill,
      I just went through this myself and in my search I found a way to make this simple. 

      My solution (for Snow Leopard 10.6.8) can be found in response to Seminarian72’s question here:

      If you have Mountian Lion (10.7+) you can find a solution here (the solution that lead to my solution for my OS):

      I’m not sure if either solution works for Lion but I’d give it a shot. 

      The beauty of this solution is that each time you scan you enter the title of the Note into the “Name:” field of “Image Capture” and once the scan is finished it opens the scan in Evernote and all you have to do is add tags. 

      Note: I haven’t tried this using SnapScan but I’m pretty sure Image Capture works with almost all scanners out there that are TWAIN compatible and connected via USB.

  • JamesOnly

    solid device.

    Do they ahve something like xcanex?
    I was looking for scanner to scan book as well.

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  • John Perker

    Document scanning
    has become an indispensible technology for any kind of business
    organization in today’s world. The advantage of document scanning is
    incredible and completely change the way your business is currently
    running. It does not matter how big your business is or what industry
    you belong to. Document scanning has already proved itself as an
    important aspect for a streamlined business process. Document scanning
    is the process of scanning all paper documents into a digital format.
    Once the documents are scanned they can be electronically archived on a
    hard drive, CD or DVD, online database or program, etc.

  • Troy Sorzano

    I found a little know secret that the Brother ADS-2000 has the ability to scan directly to Evernote very much like the snapscan products. I created a tutorial on how to set up the ADS-2000 on my blog. Hopefully it can help someone out.

  • Tor Ivan Boine

    Have you tried out the new evernote scansnap?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I bought it in December and love it. It is very fast and accurate.

      • Tor Ivan Boine

        cool. waiting for it to be available in Norway. But I guess that wont happen any time soon :s

  • Sara Collaton

    Great post! Does the scan/search method work with a free account?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think so, but I am not sure.

  • Liv

    Entering date in the subject line is not possible automatically. One has to write it manually. the shift-alt-d only works in the text area. that is very irritating. and it always also write time too. So I have to erase that to get a straight date to the note. But the first is most irritating.
    It is also not possible to make columns of different widths. that is most bad. Evernote is a very efficient place to store information about the house, paint f.inst. repairs, aso. A table where that could be written in a good structure would be ireal and everything else that is running information. The line expo in evernote can be used for somthing but is not flexible as a personnaly made table woud be.

  • DrDaveMGP

    Nice article on how to use a Evernote compatible scanner but here in the UK. Now a 3rd world country where the $ is changed to the £ and 20% added. $200-300 scanners are luxury items. This is where the Evernote import folders comes in handy. Scan using an affordable scanner to a folder that you have informed the desktop version of Evernote where to look and Evernote will sync any document that you place in these folders to Evernote.

  • Guest


    Once you scan into Evernote, do the PDFs get indexed so that they are searchable?

    • Michael Hyatt


  • redebecca

    This seems so obtuse – OneNote scans direct from any scanner… I’ve been testing them both and so far OneNote is the clear winner for me on many levels. Plus it’s free now from MS.

  • Ben Tristem

    Thanks Michael, I used to have a ScanSnap and I LOVED it. I sold it when we nearly moved to the USA! This is how I managed to do it with a more “run of the mill” HP printer / scanner…

  • Kimberly WOOD-SALDANA

    Michael, I have a Doxie Scanner. I scanned docs into computer and then sent documents to my Evernote acct. When I tried to encrypt some of the text, it would not work. I asked Evernote why, and was told because scanning in, sends as a jpeg. Is there a way, to get around this?. I have scanned into my computer, over 15,000 docs now.

  • AJ

    Can you use one scanner shared for two accounts?