How-to: Create a paperless office with Evernote

How-to: Create a paperless office with Evernote
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How-to: Create a paperless office with Evernote

Create a paperless office with Evernote

Effective team collaboration requires a central place everyone can quickly store and find documents. This used to mean centralizing paper files in heavy metal cabinets or, more recently, tossing those digital files onto shared servers that were difficult to access and navigate.

Enter Evernote, the digital "file cabinet" for how we work today. Evernote travels with you on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet so you can instantly find any document or asset you or a colleague have created. You can also add and update notes, capture ideas, and relay information back to your team, making Evernote the ideal tool to help busy, engaged teams be their most productive.

Set your structure

The first step toward maximizing productivity is to set up a clear, consistent structure for your team's digital files.

First, consider a naming and organization structure for team notebooks in Evernote. Ideally, your notebook structure will mirror your company's current digital and paper file storage systems. This creates consistency across all of your platforms, making it easier for everyone to get comfortable quickly with the new process. Once your team notebooks are set up, you can begin migrating your paper and digital files into Evernote.

For more ideas on creating your team's structure, read "How-to: Set up your team's Evernote Business workspace."

Bring your paper into Evernote

Most offices still deal with varying amounts of paper. With Evernote, you can reduce the amount of paper in your office and make any paper you bring into Evernote searchable and shareable among your team.

Before you start the process of making your current paper documents into notes in Evernote, you'll want to first take a pass through your paper and discard anything that is no longer needed or relevant.

Strategically speaking, you may want to first spend time scanning your recently-completed documents. Once you've completed those, then go through your paper file cabinets and scan one file at a time. You may choose to do this all at once or work your way through it over time. When you're done, review your company's document retention policy to determine whether and how to dispose or destroy the old paper documents.

Once you've selected which documents to collect in Evernote, it's time to get scanning. With Evernote's mobile scanning app, Scannable, it's easy and fast to migrate paper documents into Evernote. Once you've downloaded Scannable onto your iPhone or iPad, you can swiftly capture and save into Evernote everything from receipts to business cards and contracts.

To start, position the paper you want to scan on a contrasting background. Then, open the app and place your mobile device over the paper you want to scan. Hold it over the document until the app's blue document detection rectangle appears, activating the scanning process.

Scan with Scannable

When the countdown timer finishes, your scan has been processed and is ready in Scannable's scan tray to preview. If you're happy with the scan, just tap the checkmark to approve it. If you want to improve the image, you can either make adjustments to it or scan it again.

After you've approved a scanned image, you can save it to Evernote and organize it into the notebook of your choice. Single scans will be dispatched into Evernote as images or PDFs, depending on the original document type, while multiple images will be batched and saved as one large PDF. Make sure to take a moment to title or retitle your notes containing your scanned documents so that you can easily identify them later.

Save Scannable scans to Evernote

Pro-tip icon If you have more than a handful of documents that you'd like to bring into Evernote, you'll want a faster way to scan. Scannable was designed to work with the ScanSnap Evernote Edition scanner, which is ideal for a team that needs a scanning workhorse for larger volume scanning jobs.

Collect your digital files

In addition to paper documents, your company likely has digital documents and files scattered among personal computers and shared drives. Collecting them in Evernote makes it easier for everyone to find the files they need and collaborate on them with the team.

You don't necessarily want or need to move every file into Evernote. Instead, think of the files and identify documents that are regularly shared among the team, or ones that multiple people could benefit from accessing. Good candidates for files you may want to move into Evernote are ones related to specific projects, company policies, product reference information, sales tools, and so on.

In this example, we'll bring in the files related to a recent newsletter redesign project. Start by creating a new business notebook, and title it "Project - Newsletter Redesign."

Create notebooks for existing projects

You now have a spot to collect all the files related to the project. Evernote makes it easy to just drag and drop any existing files on your computer to move them directly into Evernote. In this example, we'll open the folder that contains the various design ideas, research, and other work that's been done on the newsletter redesign project. To bring them into Evernote, just drag them into the new notebook we just created.

Drag and drop files into Evernote

Evernote will automatically create a new note for each of the documents.

Notes automatically created from files

Your original documents still live on your computer in their original locations. If you'd like, you can use the version that's stored in Evernote as the "official" version, a benefit to your team because the latest version of the document will always be automatically updated across your devices - computer, smartphone, tablet.

“Pro-tip You can open and edit the files that are stored in notes, and any changes you make will automatically be saved. This makes it easy for everyone on your team to be sure they're working on the correct version of a document.

Share among your team

Once you've completed the process of moving paper and digital documents into your team's Evernote notebooks, amplify your team's collaboration by sharing them with anyone who needs access. You can easily share individual notes or entire notebooks via Work Chat.

Share notes with the team