Using Evernote to file correspondence

As I was trying to find a letter the other day, a letter I hadn’t yet filed, it occured to me how useful email is form a retrieval perspective. Every email system has search built in, and even if it’s really lousy search, it’s still search.

No search for pieces of paper.

But actually there is – Evernote. It’s not exactly news that Evernote makes scanned documents searchable, and lots of people have posted on this. I’d even toyed with scanning all the pages of my journals and uploading them in the past. It just seemed like it might be a good fit to photograph letters and putt them in Evernote, for a few reasons:

  • One of the challenges in letter writing is keeping track of what’s been sent to people. I don’t want to bore people with news they’ve already read. Evernote should let me see both their last letter and my previous letter to them, and see what we’ve discussed.
  • I can carry my complete file of correspondence with me. Always.

So I photographed all of my letters and their envelopes, and have nearly all of them tagged. Some observations so far:

  • I found that scanning took way too long. Photographing in a shady spot on a sunny day worked much better. I found a good exposure setting, set the camera on manual, and made very quick work of it. Photos are also more pleasing to the eye than scans.
  • Reading a photographed letter on an iphone screen is not real fun, but it does work.
  • This is a workflow that requires discipline. I’m not sure I’ll remember to photograph my own letters when I need to.
  • I think I’ll try using .unanswered and .answered tags to keep track of who’ve I’ve replied to. Otherwise I’m tagging only with the person’s name.
  • I’m keeping all of the correspondence in its own notebook.
  • The search capability works pretty well.

Have any of the rest of you tried this? How’s it working for you?

One thought on “Using Evernote to file correspondence

  1. I am working on a solution to this issue right now. when I get close I can mail you a copy of what I’m working on (FileMaker database).

    If you work with it I can send you a working copy of the file for some ideas.



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