Automation: Using Evernote to store your life

I am a big fan of Evernote and Microsoft OneNote. I have been using both for quite some time now and I have been automating several things to Evernote.

For more information on how to choose between Evernote and OneNote see this post.

Evernote have several features for automation built in and you can use it directly with several other applications and web services. Here are a few ones I found noteworthy: sends copied information directly to Evernote and more. You can use Evernotes normal global hot key shortcut to paste the clipboard to Evernote (Ctrl+Alt+V) but using and configuring Evernote as a Satellite action makes it a more visual option. Also, can send your clipboard contents to several other applications directly, such as your search engine, Google Translate etc. sample

Image: Choosing copy brings up the menu.

Auto Import Folder

Evernote has an auto import feature where you can designate folders as a pickup points for your files. You define it under Tools, Import Folders. I have a specific folder for import that also deletes the source file once it has been imported. I have placed the folder in my favorites list in explorer so that I can drag and drop files directly into Evernote without problem. I move the files I don’t want to save to Dropbox and copy files I want to retain at other locations.

Since Evernote doesn’t have a printer driver (OneNote does and it works very well) I can print a .pdf file from any application to this folder and have it in Evernote directly without to much fuss.

import folders

Image: Setting Import Folders in Evernote

auto import folder

Image: Part of explorer with Evernote Auto Import folder in favorites.

Send from Snagit

Snagit from TechSmith is a great way to make screen captures. I highly recommend it if you need to make any form of screen capturing on a more regular basis.

Once you have made your capture you can use the Share Tab in Snagit Editor to send your screen capture directly to quite a few applications, including Evernote and OneNote (and Facebook, Twitter, Word, PowerPoint, FogBugz etc…).

Automation from Dropbox with Wappwolf

Wappwolf is a Dropbox automator. It can do loads of stuff to your files in Dropbox such as convert your recently purchased e-book to Amazon format and send it to your Kindle for reading. Or you can use it to store information from Dropbox to Evernote.

You can choose to give Wappwolf access to your whole Dropbox system or you can choose to limit it to an application specific folder in your Apps folder.

Once you have given Wappwolf access, create an automation you need. In this case we want to upload the file to Evernote so we will choose the Any file area and specify “upload it to Evernote” and since we only want to store our file in Evernote we will also choose “Delete the original file” under Advanced.


This works very well for applications that aren’t on my desktop but that can save to Dropbox, such as my Android phone applications (if for some reason the share to Evernote feature doesn’t work) or other web services that can connect and deliver to to Dropbox but not to Evernote.

Side note:

For Swedish e-book readers with a Kindle the convert and send to Kindle is very useful. You can buy/download a Swedish e-book (unless its DRM/copy protected – then you would have to first remove the encryption since the normally used Adobe Digital Edition DRM format isn’t compatible with Kindle) and automatically transfer it to your Kindle.

Using IFTTT to archive your online stuff

IFTTT (If This Then That) is a very nice automation tool that can deliver directly to your Evernote notebooks.

You connect other services to Evernote and specify what should be saved and where.

ifttt sample recipe

I use IFTTT for several automations and a few of them are for Evernote:

I use it to:

  • Archive copies of my blog posts in Evernote (and also as .pdf files on Dropbox)
  • Save copies of all my Facebook updates in a notebook
  • Save copies of all my Tweets in a notebook
  • Save copies of all my LinkedIn updates in a notebook
  • Save copies of all my Foursquare check-ins in a notebook
  • Save logs of specific emails (from Google mail) automatically in a notebook (invoices, license information etc.)
  • Save all starred articles from Google Reader to Evernote

There are quite a few other useful applications of IFTTT but these are my current Evernote related ones.

Skipping mail in Sweden

The Swedish postal service manages mail for a lot of customers. The corporation will send the information it needs to send you to the postal service electronically and the postal service will print it and carry it to your mail box.


Since I will scan it anyway and put it into Evernote, I signed up for their e-mail postbox (ePostBoxen) (a SharePoint implementation btw =) ) where I can sign in and pick up the electronic copies of the mail instead. From there I can save it to Evernote directly. Someone should write an automation channel for IFTTT of Wappwolf etc for this service so that I can get it to where it should be without intervention.

Standard features not to forget

While I’m writing, here are some plain old standard features I like.

Send email to Evernote.

Your Evernote notebooks have an email address that you can use to send information directly to. Its very easy to use when sending mail, just add the evernote address as a BCC and it will be automatically stored. If you send a mail directly to Evernote, you can also specify notebooks, tags etc in the message header. Don’t use this when BCC’ing, it will be very confusing for your recipient).

You find you Evernote email address alongside your account information.

Using Google search to search your notebooks.

You can let Google/Bing search search your notebooks at the same time as you search the web in Chrome. Very easy to find already compiled information while searching as usual.

You find this information in the Evernote Web Clipper add on.

google search in evernote

Image: sample (in Swedish) of Evernote search integration in Chrome Google search

Scan directly to Evernote

I also use Evernote to store all my incoming papers. All normal scanners have the possibility to send the scanned result directly to an application and this works well with Evernote. I just put my papers in the scanner and press one button to get them into a notebook. If you want to get a scanner, make sure it has a proper paper feeder and can scan both sides of your document in one go.

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