Posts Tagged paperless

02-19-2014 – [DocumentSnap] How I Read Books

I read a lot, and I’ve been implementing Evernote Ambassador and paperless mentor Jamie Rubin’s method for making digital notes of real books. He takes a photo of the text in the book, then underlines it by editing the photo with

Paperless guru Brooks Duncan also recently blogged about his new method, which involves using a mind-mapping technique.


When I start a new book, I create a mind map. As I am going through the book, I build out the mind map with any key points, things I want to remember, and action items.

There are many ways to create a mind map, but I have been using MindNode on my iPhone and iPad. I like how it syncs via iCloud, so I can add to the map on whatever device I have with me, or with MindNode Pro on the Mac. On Android, I hear that SimpleMind is good.

When the book is done, I will have the key information in a visual form that I can review later, and I can pull out the action items to start implementing them.

via 02-19-2014 – [DocumentSnap] How I Read Books.


Learn How To Go Paperless With Easy Document Tips

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Brooks Duncan, author of the digital Paperless Document Organization Guide, and owner of, is offering an online class for those who want to take action, get started now with going paperless. Cost: $77. Registration required. Registration deadline October 17th.

Paperless Action Plan

Twice over the past year, I held online classes for two groups of awesome DocumentSnap readers who wanted to take action on going paperless. I called the class the Paperless Action Plan.

Due to popular demand, I’m happy to announce that I am re-opening the even-better-than-before Paperless Action Plan today.

This project is a four-module class over five weeks that is focused specifically on helping you create an end-to-end, customized action plan for going paperless, as well as helping you sort out what you need to do to put your plan into action.

Go over to Brooks’ blog post Re-introducing the Paperless Action Plan to find out more. Here’re some key points:

  1. What is it, exactly? ” The Paperless Action Plan has four action-focused lessons over five weeks. Includes live teleclass, downloadable PDFs, recorded mp3s, worksheets, members’ forum.
  2. How much is it? $77

Click here to find out more. Registration closes Oct. 17th.

(Disclosure: I’m an affiliate of, so if you purchase any of Brooks’ products from this website, I get a commission. I have bought and continue to use Brooks’ products and warmly recommend them.

Paperless Document Organization Guide banner

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How To Manage PDFs In iTunes – YouTube

Another great public service video by paperless master Brooks Duncan of This one is how to use iBooks to manage your PDFs. If you’re already doing this, then check out the link below the video.  Go to to sign up for DocumentSnap’s free 7-part email course on going paperless. Then, if you’re still looking for guidance, check out his Paperless Document Organization Guides (from $47) for both Windows and Mac users. (Click-thru and buy one and I get a few bucks from Brooks.)

How To Manage PDFs In iTunes – YouTube.

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If you’re already using iBooks to manage your PDFs, then perhaps you want to go further and add notes to your PDFs. If so, then you might want to check out the iPad/iPhone app GoodReader. Here’s a blog post on the subject of notetaking apps for PDFs: Doing Research with an iPad Part 5

And here’s an older (2010) blog post by Brooks on various apps for reading files on an iPad: iPad PDF Reading Roundup. It refers, among others, to GoodReader, which is a very useful tool if you want to markup and scribble on your PDFs.

Interesting post. The novel is slightly different from the movie, of course.  (BTW, the picture in the section on Red Blow is of Max Mercy. But you knew that, right?) My reading group is reading the novel now (and most members have also watched the Robert Redford movie). I’ve been blogging about it here:

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Dan Gold’s popular eBook “Evernote®: The unofficial eBook” is selling like hot cakes

Mouth-watering mini white chocolate cheesecakes! Yum

Mouth-watering mini white chocolate cheesecakes! Yum

Dan Gold’s e-book Evernote®: The unofficial eBook to capturing everything and getting things done! is selling like hot cakes.

"Evernote: How to capture everything and Get Things Done" by Dan Gold

"Evernote: How to capture everything and Get Things Done" by Dan Gold

It’s just $5, and it gives you a brief but useful guide to setting up Evernote to work as a Getting Things Done (GTD) tool, for both capturing ideas and “next-action” items, and for keeping track of projects and complete items, how to use tags and avoid over-tagging, tips on notebooks, etc., all with a GTD focus. Click the  link or the image on the left to read more about it.

Evernote Logo

I use Evernote, rather than OneNote. I tried OneNote for a while when my  Evernote account froze up, due to the dastardly reason that I was too cheap to cough up the 450 yen/month (4,000 yen/year) for the Premium account. I tried OneNote and I liked the pretty colours and tabs, but I missed the cloud functionality of Evernote. I use Evernote on both work and home desktops and on my iPad (and more recently on my iPhone, too), and all my notes are automatically updated in the cloud. I found OneNote less satisfactory in that regard, as I wrote in an earlier blog-post: “OneNote vs Evernote

OneNote logo

Dan Gold’s eBook is not an introduction to how to Evernote. For that, you need THE Evernote guide, Bret Kelly’s Evernote Essentials, 2nd edition.

Brett Kelly's Evernote Essentials. Click image to read more

Brett Kelly's Evernote Essentials. Click image to read more

And if you know little or nothing about GTD, Dan’s guide is probably not the best place to start. The best place would be THE SOURCE: David Allen’s book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity or website.

Brett Kelly’s guide can be used like a manual: read it through before you open the “box” and start using Evernote, or dipped into when you want to know something esoteric, like how to encrypt the text in a note.

If you have read Dave Allen’s book or are familiar with GTD and would like to know how 1 person (Dan Gold) has set up Evernote to work with GTD, then Dan’s eBook is for you. Dan is a very enthusiastic guy, and his positive feeling pervades his book. He writes simply and with humour.

And his eBook is selling very well. I want to promote books or products I use myself and made by people I respect. Click the image below to find out more about Brooks Duncan’s Paperless Document Organization Guide (for Mac- and Windows-users).

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Use ScanSnap Organizer Distribute By Keyword To Automatically File Your Documents | Tips To Learn How To Go Paperless | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog

Another great tip from DocumentSnap Paperless blog. This is for folks who use the Fujitsu ScanSnap and its associated software, ScanSnap Organizer. When Brooks says “use a highlighter”, he means a physical highlighter – this is clear in the video but not in his blog post – and you have to highlight the phrases you want on the document BEFORE you scan it. I don’t know if this works with a digital highlighter, e.g. in Adobe Acrobat.

The ScanSnap Organizer software that comes with all Windows Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners has an interesting feature that I’ll bet not many people have noticed: you can use keywords in a PDF to automatically file your documents.

You can either assign keywords to your PDFs manually, or use a highlighter and have the ScanSnap recognize them, but once you do, you can use Distribute By Keyword to create rules and then have them sort the PDFs into cabinets and folders.

via Use ScanSnap Organizer Distribute By Keyword To Automatically File Your Documents | Tips To Learn How To Go Paperless | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog.

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Naming files

In his video on going paperless, Brooks Duncan says it doesn’t really matter what you name a file, and he gives an example where he names a pdf that he’s just imported into Evernote. He puts the date of the pdf, or the date it was created, at the front then adds a descriptive title.

The organizing software that comes with my Fujitsu ScanSnap also automatically assigns the date and time as the default name for all scanned docs.

This can be useful, but there’s a problem when I import the pdf into my iPad2: there are only 2 ways to search for pdfs in iBooks and that is by author or title.  Also, you can’t assign the pdfs to categories (it is possible using some other pdf-reading/organizing software, e.g. pdf-notes allows you to do this).

Update: Clarification – I don’t (yet) have Evernote premium and so cannot view the contents of Evernote notes when I’m offline, which is most of the time. What I’m describing here is viewing pdfs on my iPad2 using the iBooks app.

I have a bunch of pdfs that are related to the various places I work at. I don’t always put them into pdf-notes because, altho the categories are useful to help locate the files I need in particular workplaces, I can’t use it at work because I installed the app via my home computer. If I try and upload a pdf into pdf-notes at work, it tells me the pdfs I list will REPLACE the pdfs already uploaded into pdf-notes.

Also, I don’t want to waste time TYPING the file name into a SEARCH box. I just want to flick down thru the list of files listed by title and find all the pdfs I need for a particular context/location all together. This is my work-around for having no folders to organize my pdfs on my iPad.

So I name my pdf files according to location (“context”, to use the GTD jargon): all files required for or related to a particular workplace get the name of that workplace as a prefix to the file name. Pdfs unrelated to workplaces I assign my name as the prefix. Like this:

  • WorkA_calendar
  • WorkA_address_list
  • WorkB_calendar
  • WorkB_address_list
  • WorkB_Phone_numbers
  • etc.

I don’t need the date in the name.

So far, this convention is working well.

The next thing I want to organize is the workflow:

  • did I already upload this file to my iPad?
  • which files need to be uploaded to iPad?
  • Where should I store files that are waiting to be uploaded to iPad?
  • If I use a temporary holding folder like “To iPad”, what happens to the files in iTunes when I delete them from the temporary holding folder?
  • I lost track of some files (forgot where I was in the workflow) because I dragged them out of their original folders and put them in the “To iPad” folder, then
    • forgot where they’d originally come from, or
    • thought I’d already copied them into iTunes, then
    • deleted them from the “To iPad” folder, only to discover that
    • I hadn’t yet uploaded them to the iPad, and now
    • iTunes on my computer couldn’t locate them (because I’d just deleted them), but
    • “not to worry, there’ll still be a copy in the original folder… won’t there?”
    • No there won’t, because I dragged them to the iPad folder, not copied them.

Coming soon: workflows are fun!

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OfficeDrop/ScanDrop | Evernote Corporation

Damn. Now I’m wondering if I need this…

OfficeDrop makes it easy to get your paper documents into Evernote. Simply mail your documents to OfficeDrop, where they’ll scan them and upload them to your Evernote account.

via トランク | Evernote Corporation.

OfficeDrop offers cloud scanning (sounds like something you do lying on your back in the heather) or scanning to the cloud, online storage and a downloadable app. All these paperless, labour-saving apps… On the other hand, if I didn’t know this existed, think how simple my life could be!

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GTD with Outlook 2010 and OneNote 2010

I’ve been using Evernote to go paperless. It’s a major project, but also satisfying to scan those papers then dump them.

Thanks to a tip from Daniel Gold who wrote a guide on how to use Evernote to GTD (Get Things Done), I’ve been using tags more and Notebooks less. Notebooks tend to cordon things off. They’re like folders. But with tags you can scatter stuff around in different notebooks/folders and not worry that it won’t be visible when you need it because it will pop up when you do a tag search.

I use Outlook for email. It’s not ideal: it’s slow to boot up or load or whatever you call it (I’m using Outlook 2010), and I still haven’t figured out how the 2010 version works. It contains an Evernote link right there in the toolbar which is neat, although come to think of it, I never use it: I just right-click and choose “send to Evernote” from the pop-up menu like I always do (it doesn’t work in Adobe pdf files, tho – to get a pdf into Evernote using Windows you need to close the file and drag the name of the document into a new Evernote note).

I haven’t customised Outlook yet, so it’s just got the standard inbox and a few archive-type folders I created to save stuff I want to keep for a while.

Wouldn’t it be more convenient if Outlook’s folder stucture matched my Evernote structure? I waste time dithering over where to save an email, and usually end up leaving it in the inbox – the kiss of death to email efficiency.

A quick search on the web brought up a number of “GTD for Outlook” sites (there’s a pdf and now an Outlook plug-in apparently that you can buy from Dave Allen’s GTD website). Here’re a couple that I found helpful:

GTD with Outlook 2010 and OneNote 2010

7Breaths: GTD with OneNote

One reason why going paperless is a major project is that thinking is involved (“Most people would rather die than think. In fact, they do so.” – Bertrand Russell).  For example, looking at the OneNote organization of folders above, do I want my “Someday/Maybe” stuff in a separate folder/Notebook, or just tagged (as I’ve been doing up to now)? What’s the difference? Read the rest of this entry »

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The “Where the Hell is My Wallet” Hack | Bridging the Nerd Gap

I’ve been using Evernote more than, ahem, ever recently:

  • first, I discovered how it can help me go paperless (thanks to Brooks Duncan’s excellent advice on DocumentSnap – if you’re serious about paperless, do consider getting his Paperless Document Organization Guide);
  • next, I came across Daniel Gold’s “Unofficial Guide to capturing everything & GTD” which reminded me of ways to use Evernote for Getting Things Done, and also gave me tons of neat tips on tagging and searching and how you don’t actually need 52 Notebooks;
  • and finally I updated to version 2 of Brett Kelly’s definitive Evernote guide just to brush up on the basics as well as learn just what the heck is parent/child tagging (a fun game for all the family).

Going paperless is exciting, but it’s also more involved and less intuitive than I’d thought, so I’m grateful to the above guys for paving the way and leaving clues scattered on the info highway.

And this just in from Brett’s blog: some good advice on how to be prepared for when your wallet gets stolen. It just happens to involve Evernote, but that’s not compulsory.

Brett’s not only a fine writer and Evernote expert, but he’s also got a pretty darn good imagination, to be able to put himself in the shoes of some idiot who’s stupid enough to not keep important information together in one place, so that much valuable time is wasted when emergency strikes.

Even the most vigilant among us will occasionally, say, leave our freaking wallets on the table at the restaurant because the kids were losing their minds and getting the hell out of quickly became priority numero uno. Hypothetically, of course.

Losing your wallet doesn’t just mean you’re out whatever dough was inside; you’re also about to make several lovely phone calls to credit card companies asking them to kindly cancel the crap out of your Visa Gold before some jackass decides to use it to fill up his gas tank and the gas tanks of his 20 closest friends.

via The “Where the Hell is My Wallet” Hack | Bridging the Nerd Gap.

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2011/09/21 03:24 – ANA Flight Attendants To Get iPads For Training

I’m using an iPad2 to help me go paperless. I’ve scanned several kilos of paper already and shredded or trashed the originals. ANA is also going paperless, using iPads. Hi-tech does not, unfortunately, prevent writers from misusing an adjective where an adverb is required.

TOKYO Nikkei–All Nippon Airways Co. 9202 announced Tuesday that it plans to issue Apple Inc. iPad tablet computers to the group’s roughly 6,000 flight attendants.

…ANA expects the step to reduce its expenses by some 200 million yen a year because it will enable flight attendants to be trained quicker.

The iPads will contain digital versions of the company’s manuals covering work tasks and safety procedures. This information is now printed out in three booklets totaling some 1,000 pages and weighing 2.1kg, which each flight attendant is expected to carry around.

In addition to being more convenient for the attendant, the fact that the manuals are provided in digital form means that ANA can update the content at any time and without the need to print out new booklets. For this and the downloading of other information such as in-flight menus, ANA will utilize the cloud computing service of Softbank Corp. (9984) group firm Softbank Telecom Corp.

via 2011/09/21 03:24 – ANA Flight Attendants To Get iPads For Training.

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