Evernote paperless-flow

Evernote is keen to lock users ever deeper into its ecosystem. Especially if it can upsell them its premium services. And this weekend they emailed me a list of “8 paperless tips for Evernote” – mostly focused on Evernote’s image, scanning, and camera functionality. But how many of them are really useful? And how many can help users of other apps and platforms?

Juli Monroe wrote an insightful piece a while back on using Evernote as a task management system. Consequently, it’s no surprise that a lot of the tips are not so much about Evernote as about workflow. Hence, they should be applicable to any platform, as with Tip #1 in the picture above – “Configure your workflow.” Just replace the central elephant with any connected digicam, such as an Android phonecam uploading to Google Drive, and you’re away, with or without Evernote.

Unfortunately, other tips are linked to Evernote’s Scannable app – currently still only available for iOS, despite promises of an Android version. Evernote would also like to sell you the ScanSnap Evernote Edition scanner in conjunction with this – at $495 a pop. If you don’t have the odd $500 lying around, though, and if you’re on Android, you might want to invest in a free app like CamCard Free, or one of its many rivals, to do your business card scanning for zilch bucks. Also, note that Google Drive has a built-in scan function for any picture you take with your Android phone – rather like Evernote’s vaunted camera functionality, in fact. And the tip about combining Pocket with Evernote sounds very like what Google wants you to do with Google Keep.

Tip #4, “Collect your digital files,” makes sound sense, and is applicable across platforms. So are other tips about templating notes ahead of time and creating paperless meetings. And in general, I don’t want to diss Evernote too heavily for trying to push readers into its own solutions. Many people do use it, and even rely on it. For those who don’t, though, there’s plenty of other ways to apply the same principles with just a little lateral thinking.


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