Archive › Mobile

Evernote Post-It Notes – Crazy Like A Fox?

Evernote Post-It NotesI have to admit that when Evernote announced their partnership with 3M and released Evernote-branded Post-It notes, I thought it was more than a little goofy.

Post-It notes? Really? I am not a sticky note person myself, but I know many people are. What is so wrong with normal Post-It notes that there needs to be a special Evernote version?

I was happily living my life ignoring these products, until I attended a few conferences and talked to people who use them all the time and they all seemed to really like them.

I decided it is time to try them out for myself, so I ordered a pack on Amazon (they are a bit cheaper there). I decided to buy the 4-pack because it comes with three months of Evernote Premium.

I also decided to test it with non-Evernote sticky notes. More on that below.

Evernote Post-It Notes

Why Are These Post-It Notes Evernote-y?

As far as the products themselves go, there is nothing too different about them. You use them like you would any sticky note (I assume you know how to do that).

The key is the four colors that the notes come in. You might call them blue, pink, green, and yellow, but you would be wrong. In fact, they are “Electric Blue”, “Neon Pink”, “Limeade”, and “Electric Yellow”.

The magic happens in the Evernote mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. They have a special Post-It camera mode that is specially designed to recognize Post-It notes.

You use the Evernote app, put it in Post-It mode, and take the picture.

Evernote Post-It Camera

The Evernote app will recognize the sticky note, clean up the image, and create a nice looking note in Evernote for you.

Evernote Post-It Yellow Note

Post-It Automation

That’s interesting and all, but many apps will auto-detect the edges of a document and clean up the image. Big deal.

This is where the special Evernote Post-It colors come in. Buried in the settings of the Evernote mobile app[1], you can have Evernote take actions based on the color of the Post-It.

Evernote Post-It Note Rules

For each color, you can have the note automatically go to a certain notebook, add a certain tag, and/or create a reminder.

Evernote Post-It Automation Rule

For example, in this screenshot I had all four colors set to go to a Sketches notebook, and for Limeade (aka “green”) notes I asked it to tag it with Project4.

Evernote Post-It Notes Tagged

Capture Quality

Whenever I have seen the Evernote Post-It Notes online, the examples have always been written/drawn with big chunky black marker.

I decided to try it with a blue ball-point on an “Electric Blue” Post-It.

Evernote Post-It Blue Ballpoint

It turned out surprisingly well. If the text looks a little sketchy, that is due to my pen running low on ink and not due to Evernote’s app.

What About Normal Sticky Notes?

I know what you are thinking – do you need to use special Evernote-branded Post-Its?

I wondered that too, so I gave it a try.

First I tried a “normal” yellow sticky note. No electricity here.

Evernote Normal Yellow Sticky

The Post-It camera did crop and clean up the image, but even though it is yellow, apparently the yellow is not “Electric” enough. It didn’t move it to the Sketches notebook and it did not tag it.

I was at the dollar store and noticed this pack of off-brand sticky notes that look suspiciously like Electric Yellow and Neon Pink.

evernote-postits-dollar-store

 

Would the Evernote Post-It camera recognize a $1.29 CAD 2-pack? Let’s find out.

Evernote Sticky Yellow
Evernote Sticky Pink

Amazingly, the Evernote app on iOS does see these dollar store sticky notes as Electric Yellow and Neon Pink and files them away. Wow!

I Am Almost A Believer

As I said earlier, I am not really a “post-it note guy”. I mostly make notes digitally or in my Wipebook.

I still think the idea of Evernote-branded Post-Its is a little goofy, but I have to admit that the execution is excellent.

If you are someone who uses sticky notes and you are an Evernote user, it may be worth giving it a try (again, it is cheaper on Amazon). The free Evernote Premium months make it almost worth it if you don’t stumble across a dollar store find like I did.


  1. On iOS, at the time of writing tap on the gear icon near the top, go to General, then Camera, then Post-It Notes.  ↩
Comments ( 0 )

Scanbot Is One Fast Mobile Scanning App

ScanbotThe other day I was on the radio up here in Canada sharing my tips for the best apps of the week. One of my choices was a new scanning app for iOS and Android called Scanbot.

“Another mobile scanning app?” you might say. Yes, another scanning app, but this one has taken a bit of a novel approach – they are going for pure scanning speed.

As with all scanning apps on DocumentSnap, I took it to my local Starbucks to test it in real world conditions. The fact that it is Earth Day and I received a free coffee doesn’t hurt either.

Quick Capture

If you have used mobile scanning apps in the past, you will be familiar with the need to have your phone positioned just right, then work your finger over to hit the camera button. In the grand scheme of things this is not the world’s biggest problem, but it can occasionally be tricky and is one extra step.

Scanbot attempts to address this by detecting when it is lined up for a good image, and it automatically snaps the picture. If you don’t have the camera quite right, it will tell you to move it closer or adjust the angle. When you have it right – snap!

Scanbot Capture

Like any scanning app, I found this worked best when there is lots of light, and the auto-detection feature worked best when there isn’t any wacky page layout going on.

If it can’t detect the page, not to worry – you can adjust the page borders yourself if you need to.

Cloud Integration

Scanbot can make it easy to upload your scans to the cloud (if you want). You can set it to automatically upload your captures, or it has built-in integration with Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, OneDrive, Box, and Yandex.Disk[1]

Scanbot Cloud

Quality

I find the quality of Scanbot pretty good, though not quite up to the level of other apps like Scanner Pro and Genius Scan. Since quality is a subjective thing, here are a few scans that I did at my table at Starbucks.

In the end, it depends what you are looking for from your app – the fastest capture/upload or the highest quality.

Design and Other Features

I don’t know if it is because I am an evil or unproductive person, but I love and respond well to the color red, so I am probably biased towards Scanbot’s flat red interface.

Scanbot Documents

One cool feature that you don’t see in a lot of mobile scanning apps is annotation. Scanbot has basic annotation abilities to mark up your scan before saving it.

Scanbot Annotate

At the time of writing, Scanbot is .99 for iOS and for Android, and is working its way into my rotation of scanning apps.


  1. I don’t know what that is either.  ↩

Comments ( 1 )

Genius Fax 2.0 Can Now Receive Faxes

Genius FaxOn the rare occasion that I need to send a fax, more often than not I use the Genius Fax app which I have written about in the past.

Just two weeks ago I needed to sign and fax something, and I did it all from my iPad.

The makers of Genius Fax have just released version 2.0 of Genius Fax, and it is a nice update. A new feature is the ability to receive faxes.

Genius Fax Receive Faxes

For $3.50-$4 per month (depending on how long you sign up for) you can have a reserved fax number in the U.S. or Canada. Receiving faxes will use the same credits that you use to send faxes.

Speaking of credits, they’ve also lowered their prices. Now if you buy credits in bulk, they can be as low as .40/page.

I like the products the Grizzly Labs puts out, so it is nice to see Genius Fax get some new development.

Comments ( 2 )

Readdle’s Web Of Interconnected Apps

Readdle Booth At Macworld 2014On my trip to Macworld/iWorld 2014, one my first stops was the Readdle booth. My goal was to get an answer to a question that has been on my mind for a while: what is the difference between the free Documents 5 and the paid PDF Expert 5? What is the deal with having two apps?

In talking to the Readdle folks, what they are up to is more interesting than I had expected. The question is not the Seinfeld-esque “what is the DEAL with all these apps?” but the real question is “where is all this going?”

Instead of thinking of Readdle’s products as a bunch of standalone apps, it makes more sense to think of them as an interconnected web of applications that can work together, each one accomplishing specific tasks.

I Love You iOS, but…

iOS is a great mobile operating system, but it has some limitations. These are arguably for the user’s benefit security-wise, but they can be annoying. For example:

  • You don’t have access to a “file system” on the iPad the way that we are used to with computers. Each app is siloed and can only access its own data.
  • Apps have an extremely limited ability to talk to each other. Usually this is accomplished by the “Open In…” menu option, but that isn’t ideal because it creates a whole other copy of the file in the target application. Whatever changes you make are not reflected back in the original app.

Hub And Spokes

Readdle Documents 5

Readdle intends to address these limitations by having Documents 5 act as the iPad’s file system. You can store any type of file in the possibly-unfortunately-named Documents 5, and use that app as a hub.

In addition, they have baked in the ability for their apps to talk to each other and send information back and forth.

In Documents 5, Readdle calls their other apps Add-ons. These apps are all fully featured applications on their own, but when Documents 5 detects that they are installed, it exposes additional menu options.

Readdle Documents 5 Add-ons

I first noticed this ability in Scanner Pro, one of my favorite mobile scanning apps. I was using it on my iPad, and after I had installed PDF Expert 5, I noticed a button I hadn’t seen before.

Scanner Pro PDF Expert 5

When I pressed the button, it opened the scanned PDF directly in PDF Expert 5 for storage/annotation. No need to go through the whole Open In… dance.

Call And Response

Having a one button document transfer is nice, but what is more interesting to me is the way that Readdle has given their apps the ability to pass data back and forth.

For example, if Documents 5 detects that PDF Converter is installed and you are viewing an image, Word doc, HTML file, or the like, you will see a Convert to PDF menu option.

Readdle Convert To PDF

When you tap that, it will send the file to PDF Converter, let it do its magic, and then bring the PDF back to Documents 5, all within a second or so. No muss, no fuss.

Their Printer Pro app works similarly. If Documents 5 detects that it is installed, you can send your file there instead of relying on an AirPrint printer.

Readdle Printer Pro

The interesting thing about this is that they have somehow embedded the Printer Pro functionality inside Documents 5.

One Ecosystem To Rule Them All

This is the first time I can recall seeing an app vendor create such a tightly integrated web of apps. Each one works perfectly well on its own, but it becomes even more powerful and convenient when they work together.

Do you have any other examples of apps that work together like this? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Comments ( 0 )

How To Rename PDFs in iBooks for iPad

iPad iBooksiBooks is an app from Apple that allows you to read books, but it also makes a fairly decent PDF reader.

An awesome DocumentSnap reader asked if it is possible to rename PDFs stored in iBooks and it turns out – it is! It is just not exactly obvious how to do it.

View the video below, or click here to watch it on YouTube. If you are able to, I recommend that you watch it with HD turned on.

This video on renaming a PDF in iBooks is part of a series of quick videos on paperless tips and topics. View more in the series here.

Comments ( 1 )

How To Scan Business Cards With Evernote iPhone And Add To Your Contacts

Evernote iPhoneThe Evernote iPhone app recently added the ability to scan business cards and create a note with the information from the card.

Did you know that you can have the information automatically added to your phone’s contacts?

The option is a little buried, so this video shows how to set it up.

View the video below, or click here to watch it on YouTube. If you are able to, I recommend that you watch it with HD turned on.

This video on scanning business cards in Evernote is part of a series of quick videos on paperless tips and topics. View more in the series here.

(Photo by Heisenberg Media)

Comments ( 2 )

PDF Expert 5

PDF Expert 5Long time DocumentSnap readers will know that I am a big GoodReader user. It has been the file system for my iPad for years, and the new iOS 7 update is quite nice. However, recently I have moved to PDF Expert 5 as my PDF application of choice on the iPad.

Readdle’s apps are getting more and more polished, and PDF Expert 5 is no exception. Since I am using it more and more, I thought I’d do a bit of a runthrough.

PDF Expert 5

Getting PDFs Into PDF Expert

Like any other iOS app, you can “Open In” a PDF from an email or other application and select PDF Expert.

This works well, but the real power is in PDF Expert’s integration with a number of cloud services. You can access documents from Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive, Windows SMB shares, Box, and a whole host of other sources.

PDF Expert Cloud Services

You can either open documents from these services, or you can sync entire folders. If you do that, changes that you make to a document on one side are automatically reflected on other devices.

It would be nice if PDF Expert supported AFP shares like GoodReader, but it’s not the end of the world.

If you use PDF Expert for iPhone, you can store your documents in iCloud and they will automatically appear on all your iOS devices in the PDF Expert apps.

Organize PDFs

PDF organization is one of my favorite features of PDF Expert 5. The way they have done it really takes advantage of the touch interface.

If you want to move a document, you can tap and hold on the PDF. You can then drag it to a folder, or you can drag it to the sidebar and send it to one of your cloud services.

If you drag one PDF on top of another one, it will create a brand new folder. Nice touch.

If you hit the Edit button up at the top, you can select one or more documents and do a number of actions such as Copy, Move, Rename, Delete, Merge, Zip, Email, Upload, and Open In.

Many of these you can also do by dragging PDFs around, but this gives you a way to apply an action to multiple PDFs at once.

PDF Expert 5 Edit Mode

You’ll also see that you can star and tag documents, but don’t get too excited. These don’t translate over to Mavericks tags. Maybe someday.

Read PDFs

Until I bought an iPad, I was one of those people that needed to print out documents to read them.

I have found that tablets have changed all that, and I actually prefer to read PDFs on my iPad now.

PDF Expert 5 Reading

Reading in PDF Expert 5 is great. You can either swipe or tap between pages horizontally (my preference), or you can do vertical scrolling if that floats your boat.

A great touch for us old people is you can set the PDF to Night or Sepia mode to make reading a bit easier on the eyes, especially in the dark.

One of the more incredible features to me is the Text to Speech support. Just tap the reading button and turn on the Text to speech switch, and the app will read the text to you, highlighting each word as it goes. It works very well.

PDF Expert 5 Text To Speeech

Annotate PDFs

You can do the normal annotations on the PDF. You can add text, highlight text, draw shapes, strike out text, and there is a nice signature feature.

You define your signature in PDF Expert, and then you can drop it in a PDF. You can also add an image as a stamp and use that.

PDF Expert 5 Annotations

You can view a summary of all the markup you’ve made in the document, and you can send a “flattened” copy of the document which protects the annotations and ensures they are viewable on any device.

Edit and Manipulate PDFs

As mentioned earlier, you can merge multiple documents, and this works very well.

When you are viewing an individual PDF, you can work with the pages. When you tap the thumbnail button, you can delete pages, add a new page, and even copy and paste pages from another PDF.

If you want to split up a PDF into multiple documents, you can highlight and extract the pages you want as well.

PDF Expert 5

When you think about it, it is remarkable that you can edit a PDF to this level on a tablet.

PDF Expert 5

As you can imagine, I have many, many PDF apps on my devices. When I want to read, mark up, and manipulate documents, more often than not I find myself using PDF Expert 5 by Readdle. It’s $9.99 on the app store, and if you work with a lot of PDF documents on your iPad, it may be worth it to you too.

Comments ( 12 )

Password Protect Files and Folders In GoodReader

GoodReaderThe iOS app GoodReader is great for working with all sorts of files on the iPad and iPhone.

You can create a startup password, but you can also create an extra password to protect extra-sensitive files and folders. This video shows how to set that up.

View the video below, or click here to watch it on YouTube. If you are able to, I recommend that you watch it with HD turned on.

This video on password protecting files and folders in GoodReader is part of a series of quick videos on paperless tips and topics. View more in the series here.

Comments ( 0 )
Google Cloud Print

Create A PDF From A Web Page Or E-Mail On A Mobile Device Using Google Cloud Print

Google Cloud PrintSo you are on your iPhone, iPad, or (I think?) Android device, and you want to save the web page or e-mail to PDF.

If you are using Google apps like the Google Chrome browser for iOS, or the Gmail app for iOS, Google makes this easy using their Google Cloud Print and Google Drive services.

(I assume this is all more built-in with Android, but my Android device is stuck on Gingerbread so I can’t test it properly).

I’ll show you how it works with Chrome, but it is similar in the Gmail app.

Let’s say I am viewing a web page, and I want to save it to PDF. I tap on the little menu icon up near the top.

Google Chrome Menu
Google Chrome Menu

I then choose the Print option. I could send this to a printer, but obviously I cannot condone such behavior.

Google Chrome Print
Google Chrome Print

I then choose Google Cloud Print, as that is what will be doing all the work.

Google Cloud Print
Google Cloud Print

From there, if I had printers and other devices set up I could send to those, but in our case I want to choose Google Drive so that it will save it as a PDF.

Save To Google Drive
Save To Google Drive

After I choose this, I hit Save on the next screen.

In a few seconds, voila. The PDF appears both in my Google Drive account and, since I am running the Google Drive application on my computer, it magically appears on my computer.

Google Drive show PDF
Google Drive show PDF
Google Drive PDF Finder
Google Drive PDF Finder

If you live in the Google ecosystem, this Cloud Print feature can be really handy. How do you save PDFs on your mobile device?

(Photo by Reeda)

Comments ( 0 )

Video: Extract A Page Out Of A PDF On The iPad Using PDFpen

PDFpen iPadThere 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.

This video shows you how I did it.

View the video below, or click here to watch it on YouTube. If you are able to, I recommend that you watch it with HD turned on.

This video on extracting a page from a PDF using PDFpen for iPad is part of a series of quick videos on paperless tips and topics. View more in the series here.

Comments ( 1 )