EagleFiler Is A Great Mac App For Going Paperless

EagleFiler Is A Great Mac App For Going Paperless

EagleFilerA Mac application that has been on my to-do list to check out for years is EagleFiler. I know that a lot of DocumentSnap readers use it to go paperless, so I finally decided to take a look. I don’t know what took me so long.

You can class EagleFiler as an “everything bucket” application. It allows you to save pretty much anything in it, and you can structure your information however you’d like.

EagleFiler View PDF

Evernote for People Who Don’t Want To Use Evernote

I am not sure how much the developer would appreciate this (especially since I believe EagleFiler came out first), but I think of EagleFiler as a great Evernote alternative on the Mac.

It allows you to save documents, take notes, clip web pages, save emails, and organize research.

For going paperless, EagleFiler does have some advantages over Evernote as far as I am concerned:

  • Your files are stored locally. There is no server component, so the worry of having sensitive information in the cloud goes away. (If you want to store your documents in the cloud, you do have options).
  • You can encrypt your EagleFiler library locally.
  • Your files are stored in the regular Mac folder system. Nothing is stored in a proprietary database so if EagleFiler disappears tomorrow, you don’t have to figure out how to get your information out.
  • You can create folder structures to your heart’s content. You aren’t limited to Evernote’s flat hierarchy.

Given all that, EagleFiler allows you to add tags to your files and has a great search ability, much like Evernote.

Getting Information Into EagleFiler

If you have existing files outside of EagleFiler, you can drag folders and files in and it will create your folder structure from them.

EagleFiler also has a great clipper function. If you have a file selected, are viewing a web page, or viewing have email messages selected, hit the clipping shortcut (by default F1) and the information will be automatically imported.

If you want to add some notes, give the file a title, tag etc. at the time of clipping, you can hit Option-F1 and it will pop up an options box.

EagleFiler Import Options

There is also an import folder. Anything that gets scanned or saved here will automatically be imported to EagleFiler

EagleFiler Import Folder

Web Clipping

If you are viewing a web page, hit the quick capture key and it will clip the page to Eagle Filer, downloading all images etc.

EagleFiler Clip Web Page

Double-clicking on it will take you to the URL in your browser.

You can control how pages get saved. For example, you can have it create a PDF which can be handy.

EagleFiler Save Page PDF

Saving Emails

One nice benefit of EagleFiler is the ability to save emails from your email program. If you capture messages from Mail.app or Outlook, it will save the messages to your EagleFiler database along with attachments and information about the message. This gets them out of your email program and into a long-term storage location where you can apply tags etc. along with other files and documents. I can see this being great for project and client work.

Information such as sender and date are also preserved.


Some Things That Would Be Nice To Have

Some may feel that the fact that EagleFiler does not have a server component is a plus, but others will see it as a drawback. A benefit of Evernote is that your files can be available anywhere without you needing to think too much about it.

With EagleFiler, you can accomplish this by storing your EagleFiler library on Dropbox. Thanks to the fact that EagleFiler doesn’t store your documents in a proprietary database, this means that your files can be accessible from any device. However, you do need to be careful that, for example, you don’t have the EagleFiler database open on more than one computer at the same time.

Since EagleFiler is not strictly a “document management application”, it doesn’t have any PDF editing or OCR capabilities built-in. For PDF editing and manipulation, you can open the PDF in Preview or PDFpen, and for OCR there are AppleScripts supplied to have PDFpen perform OCR. Of course, this means that you need to own PDFpen.

If your PDF is already searchable (and these days most good scanners have OCR capability), EagleFiler will read the text perfectly with no additional software needed.

A Great Choice For Storing Your Documents On The Mac

The more I use EagleFiler the more I like it. It is $40 (a one time fee, unlike Evernote). There is a free trial, so you can try it out and see how you like it. If you want to purchase it and buy me a beverage while doing so, you can use this link.

I know there are lots of rabid fans of EagleFiler out there. If you use it, leave a comment and let us know what you think.

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 1 comment

Clive - August 31, 2014 Reply

I’m really pleased that Eagle Filer using the Mac folder structure: proprietary databases that lock documents in I avoid.
But I’m sceptical of any ‘organisers’!
I can easily save everything I want into a Mac folder structure of my own and finding information is dead easy using Spotlight. I just don’t see the need to spend $40 to do what the OS already does…maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t know what it would be!

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