Apple’s Notes (aka Notes.app) is an application that received a big overhaul in OS X El Capitan. Since its release, I’ve received variations on this question: “How do you scan to Apple Notes (with the ScanSnap or otherwise?)”
“No problem”, I thought to myself. I figured all I’d need to do was add Notes.app to the Applications tab of ScanSnap Manager, hit scan, and be good to go.
Yeah, not so much.
That approach did absolutely nothing, so it was back to the drawing board.
I did manage to get scanning to Apple Notes working, but it was a bit more complex than I had expected and took some AppleScript tomfoolery.
The easiest way to scan to Notes.app
Honestly, the easiest way to scan to Notes is to scan to a folder on your Mac and then drag the PDF(s) manually to a note.
If you want the least complex way, that’s the way to go. If you want something more automated though, read on. We are about to get geeky.
Create AppleScript To Scan To Apple Notes
To seamlessly scan to Notes.app, we are going to create a folder on the Mac (in this example I called it “Notes”, but you’ll probably want to be more descriptive).
We are then going to create an AppleScript that automatically creates a note in Notes.app for any file that is saved there. This is called a Folder Action. Let’s get started.
Here is the AppleScript. Copy this to your clipboard, or download the file below.
On your Mac, go to Applications > Utilities and start Script Editor.
Hit the New Document button in the window that pops up.
Next, paste the clipboard contents into the Script Editor window. Hit the little hammer icon to make sure there aren’t any errors.
Go File > Save. In the Save box, navigate to the /Library/Scripts/Folder Action Scripts folder and save it there.
If copying and pasting doesn’t work for you, you can click here to download the script. Unzip the file and copy the .scpt file to /Library/Scripts/Folder Action Scripts.
If you’re not sure how to get there, go to a Finder window, choose Go > Go to Folder… and paste the path in.
Awesome. You’ve got the script ready to run. Now we just need to attach it to our folder.
(By the way, this script owes a huge debt of gratitude to Larry Salibra for his Evernote to Apple Notes script. I never would have been able to do this without his work.)
Set Up The Folder Action
Create a folder if you don’t already have it. Mine is called Notes. Anything we scan/save here will be imported to Apple Notes, so you won’t use it for anything else.
First, right-click on the folder and then second, choose Services and third, choose Folder Actions Setup….
If you are prompted, choose the script that you saved to the Folder Actions Script folder and hit Attach. If you aren’t automatically prompted, hit the + button on the right side and then choose it.
Check Enable Folder Actions and hit Yes if prompted. You can now close the window.
Test Out The Folder Action
You should now be good to go! Drag a PDF into your Notes (or whatever you called it) folder. It should pause a bit and if you go to Notes.app, your new note should be there with its PDF attachment.
Set Up ScanSnap Profile
You can use this Folder Action for any scanner, or use it to manually save files. However, since I get asked how to use the ScanSnap, you can manually scan to your Notes folder, or you can set up a ScanSnap Manager profile to automatically scan there.
Choose None (Scan To File) on the Application tab and your Notes folder on the Save tab.
If you aren’t sure how to create a ScanSnap Profile, check out the ScanSnap Manager help or you may find my Unofficial ScanSnap Setup Guide helpful.
Now when you scan to your Notes folder, the file should get imported to Notes.app.
How Does It Work For You?
Notes.app’s AppleScript support isn’t the greatest, so scanning to it is a work-in-progress. Leave a comment and let us know how it works for you, and if you have a better way let us know as well.