There are many, many ways to extract a page out of a PDF and create a new document from it.
The other day I was speaking at a conference, and an awesome DocumentSnap reader asked me a question. I think I surprised her when I pulled a page out of one of my existing documents and sent it to her right there at the table.
I used an app called PDFpen on my iPad to do this, but I could have done it on my iPhone as well.
There are lots of quick ways to capture notes to Evernote when you are on the go, but the problem is they are usually unstructured.
You can capture the notes quickly, but then later you need to name and possibly tag them.
I was recently contacted by the folks at Cloudmanic about their new tool Evermanic that promises to solve this: you can create repeatable templates for Evernote, and then use them to quickly create named, tagged notes on your mobile device going forward.
The Cloudmanic folks threw me a review copy of Evermanic so that I could check it out. At the moment it is iPhone only, but their site shows that the Android version is coming soon.
I can see an app like this being really handy for people who need to create the same type of notes over and over again when they are away from their computers.
Set Up Your Profiles
When starting up Evermanic for the first time, you are asked to sign in with a Cloudmanic account or create a new one. Why do you need a Cloudmanic account? To be honest, I am not exactly sure. I am guessing it is to support future integration with their other products, but it’d be nice if there was an option to just use Evermanic without an account.
With that out of the way, you create your first Profile.
When you create your Profile, you give it a name, then you give the notes a default Title, and then you assign the Notebook and Tags that this note should be given.
One minor nitpick: it doesn’t seem as if you can create tags when you are creating a Profile. It’d be nice to have that ability to go beyond your existing tags.
Once you have a Profile (or Profiles) set up, and for subsequent launches, you are presented with a screen to choose your Profile and choose which type of note that you want to create: Text, Audio, or Photo.
Let’s create a Text note. Once you choose your Profile and you tap the type of note that you want to create, you can type your note and customize the title (In this example I have typed - 1234 Wark St. at the end of the existing Property Inspection title from my Profile.
You can not choose the Notebook or modify the Tags. Those are coming from your Profile.
When your note is created, it is uploaded to your Evernote account, tagged and titled.
Here’s what that note looks like in Evernote.
Here’s a Photo note. Since I used the same Profile, it is tagged and titled appropriately.
Issues And Suggestions
I think that Evermanic is a nice first version of an app that many people will find handy.
I did come across one possible showstopper issue. Remember how you are able to create three types of notes: Text, Audio, and Photo? For some reason, Photo notes did not work for me. I tried it at home on my wi-fi and at Starbucks on 3G, and the note seemed to upload but never actually appeared in Evernote. Very odd.
I don’t know if there is a bug or some sort of service issue. For me, this wouldn’t be a big deal because I would use this for text notes (which worked perfectly), but it is something to be aware of.
Update: This was a temporary server glitch. Photo notes now work for me.
Some suggestions for future releases:
It’d be nice if you could use Evermanic without needing a Cloudmanic account, unless there is a really compelling reason to need one.
It’d be nice to be able to create templates for the note contents themselves when creating a Profile. For example, you might be creating a Support ticket and want to have “Problem: Steps To Replicate: Resolution:” pre-populated in the note.
To be super useful, the delineation between “Text” and “Photo” notes could be eliminated. In my Property Inspection example, someone would want to be able to create a Text note, but then would want to be able to attach photos.
When creating a note, it’d be nice to have the ability to add additional tags. For example, you might want to have a Profile pre-populated with Tags to be applied to all instances of a certain type of note, but then for individual notes you might want to be able to add a certain customer’s tag.
Who me, greedy?
Despite my suggestions, I think Evermanic fills a need and I look forward to seeing how it grows over time. At the time of writing it is $1.99.
What sort of Evernote templates could you see yourself creating?
At Macworld this year, I had the great fortune to meet up with awesome DocumentSnap reader Donna and she told me about a time that she had to take her computer in to the Apple Store. After a strange chain of events, she ended up losing everything that she had stored in GoodReader on her iPad.
I still am not sure exactly how that could have happened, but I promised that I’d do a blog post about how to back up the documents stored in GoodReader.
As with everything, there are many ways to do this. Here are a few.
iCloud and iTunes Backup
If you have iOS 5 and later, you are in luck. Your GoodReader data may already be backed up for you with your regular iTunes or iCloud backup.
When/if you have your iPad plugged into your computer, check the Backups section in iTunes. There are 1,001 good reasons to make sure that your iPad is being backed up on a regular basis, and backing up your GoodReader data is one of them.
You can also control the iCloud backup settings from the iPad without involving your computer.
You may or may not know this, but you can actually control which applications are backing up to iCloud. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage and then tap on your iPad. Wait a minute or so, and you’ll see what is backing up and how much storage is being eaten up.
If you can spare the storage, make sure GoodReader is On.
Beware The Downloads Folder
While it is true that GoodReader’s files should be backed up with your regular iPad backup, there is one important caveat.
Starting with iOS 5, there is a special folder in GoodReader called Downloads. Anything stored there is not backed up with the iTunes or iCloud backup.
This is a way to save space, but you will want to make sure that any files that are important to you and that you want backed up are not saved here.
There are some GoodReader settings that can impact this as well. You are able to turn iCloud backup off from GoodReader, and you can stop it from using the Downloads folder by default altogether.
Copy To Dropbox or Other Service
If you don’t have iOS 5 or want to have a bit more control, one of the good things about GoodReader is that it can connect to a whole whack of cloud and local services.
You can automatically synchronize your documents with Dropbox for example, or upload them to an FTP server or a network share on some sort of regular basis.
Copy Manually Through iTunes
You can also use good old iTunes File Transfer. When your iPad is plugged into your computer, go to iTunes, then navigate to your iPad, then click on the Apps tab. Scroll down to the bottom, and you will see the File Sharing section.
Click on GoodReader on the left, and you will see your folders and files. You can then download them to your computer without having to do it over the network.
So, if you run into a situation where you think your GoodReader documents are gone, you may have options. Just take a few minutes every once in a while to make sure that your backup settings are the way that you want them.
I think we can all agree that faxing is a disaster. It’s one of those activities that no one wants to do, but we all have to do it once in a while.
I was contacted by the fine folks at Grizzly Labs, makers one one of my favorite scanning apps Genius Scan, and they let me know that they have a brand new app for the iPhone and iPad called Genius Fax.
Their timing was impeccable because the day after I received the e-mail, I had a situation where I had to send a fax to our friendly Canadian version of the IRS.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
The Genius Fax app is free, but to send faxes you need to buy credits in the app. If you want to send just one page it is .99 US, and there are volume discounts that can bring it down to .60/page if you buy blocks of 50. Either way, it beats driving to Staples.
The authors hooked me up with a few credits to try it out, but I’ll be topping up when I run out.
Send From The Cloud Or Your Device
A great feature of Genius Fax is that it can integrate with Box.com, Dropbox, or Google Drive. The document that I wanted to send was in my Dropbox account, so I was able to navigate through my folder hierarchy and select it.
You can also use the standard iOS “Open In…” functionality to open a PDF in Genius Fax if you don’t use any of those built-in cloud services.
Fill Out The Details
Once you’ve chosen your file to send, you then enter who you want it to go to (it can use your Contacts – nice touch), and you have the option of creating a very basic cover page. The cover page doesn’t count towards your Credits, thankfully.
Another nice thing is that the cover doesn’t have any Genius Fax branding or anything like that. It is a clean, basic cover page that you can preview before sending.
Send The Fax
Once you hit Send, you can follow the progress of the fax. One minor interface confusion. There is an icon in the top-right that looks to me like it would be Refresh (i.e., make sure that you are seeing the latest status) but it is actually Resend, if for whatever reason you need to resend the fax.
If you want to refresh the status, just pull down like you do in many other apps.
Either way, all my test faxes went through successfully and the quality of the ones that I could check were great.
You can always see a list of the faxes that you have sent and whether they were/were not successful.
As I said before, faxing is not something that I need to do often, but when I do need to send one out, I could definitely see myself using Genius Fax as a quick and easy way to do it.
The app is iPhone and iPad only at the moment. I’m not sure if there will be an Android version. Faxing from your smartphone – craziness.
When I want to review and annotate, or mark up, a PDF, I do it almost exclusively on my iPad.
For me, it is a nice all-digital workflow that avoids the print-out-and-write dance. I can then save or share the annotated PDF right from my iPad.
There are many apps that can do this, such as iAnnotate, PDFpen for iPad, and PDF Expert, but the one that I am used to is called GoodReader. GoodReader is the one that is shown in this video, but the general concept is similar.
I assume that this can be done on an Android tablet as well. If you have an app you like for this, please leave a comment and let us know.
This is Day 10 in a 12 Day series: 12 Days Of Paperless Gifts. If you know someone who could use some help going paperless, or if you deserve to treat yourself, this is the place. If you don’t, feel free to ignore this series. Normal DocumentSnap posts will still be coming!
Reading and working with paperless documents is a great use of a tablet. I use mine all the time exactly for that purpose.
The iPad is the 8,000 pound gorilla in the space, but it is not the only option:
I always have a problem with business cards, and I am pretty sure it is because I have weird requirements.
I don’t get a lot of cards, so I don’t need a crazy high-volume solution. I don’t (usually) want to add people to my address book or LinkedIn or anything like that, and I don’t (usually) want to scan them to PDFs on my computer.
I also (usually) want to capture the business cards as close to the source of reception as possible , which is often in my hotel room or at an event, where I don’t have a scanner with me.
I like to store my business cards in Evernote where I let their storage and OCR take care of things, so what I really want is a mobile app that makes it fast and easy to capture business cards and send them to Evernote.
I like CamCard a lot for a variety of reasons, but mainly I love the Batch Mode where I can quickly capture card after card after card and process later. I don’t know why more business cards apps don’t do this. CamCard’s Batch Mode is why I wanted to use it as opposed to more generic mobile scanning apps.
As much as I love CamCard, it has one significant shortcoming for my workflow: it doesn’t export to Evernote.
It looks like Joseph has more or less the same workflow as I do, but he is clearly smarter than I am because he figured out a way to send the cards to Evernote.
After the business cards are digitized and saved into the iPhone’s contact database, the next step i did is to export the information to Evernote. While CamCard does not have direct evernote integration, it is possible for CamCard to send the contact info as an email and since Evernote support emails as part of the input process, the integration between CamCard and Evernote is pretty seamless to me. What I like about this email method is that the actual business card image will be appended at the end of the email! Very clever of CamCard.
While I would prefer it CamCard had direct Evernote integration, this is not bad and works well. Check out the Joseph’s post for the step-by-step instructions.