Help with working with handwritten notes

I was using Evernote to hold my handwritten notes. I liked the fact that it would do a good job on OCR my sloppy handwriting.

I now switched to DT and want to hold them, any suggestions on good work flow? I have a ScanSnap 510, but every time I scan a note it tries to OCR them (and it can not read my handwriting ). Also after the PDF is in DT, I want to put a few words around it (more than a TAG), something like “Notes from the meeting in Miami” so that I can search for them.

anyone have a good work flow?

For hand notes I use a Livescribe smartpen. The pen syncs with its own desktop app, which will export PDFs, with your exact handwriting, to Evernote, or DT. I keep groups in my databases with the PDF copy of the notes, but you could put them anywhere. I use one of the annotation templates, with a link back to the hand note PDF, so that search’s find the annotation and I can click to open the hand note. The pens are getting cheaper. You have to use their encoded paper, but you can print your own encoded paper with a decent laser printer. Livescribe includes a handwriting recognition app, but it’s not so good with bad handwriting like mine.

You don’t have to OCR every coming to DT from your ScanSnap. In DT > Preferences > OCR turn off “Convert to serachable PDF”. You can OCR on the fly by using Data > Convert > to Searchable PDF.

Thanks for the tips. I will turn off the OCR, and the Scribe Pen has been on the radar, BUT, I always break :open_mouth: , loose :cry: , or have dead batteries :angry: at the wrong time, and went from Microsoft One Note on a Tablet to paper over a year ago due to the B,L,DB issue. Paper and a pen seems to have a lower failure rate. If I could just get some ‘notes’ around the PDF I would be good.

For short notes, just use the Spotlight Comments field – add a column for that to your view in DT. They’ll be searchable in DT and in Spotlight.


Thanks for the tip, I did discover that one, and Devon Support just sent me this that ROCKS too;

Take a look at the Annotation template (Data > New from Template > Annotation). This template has a keyboard shortcut (Shift-Option-Command-A) and can be invoked for any selected document with that shortcut.

The resulting rich text document includes in its name the name of the target document and has a clickable link to it. The target document, such as a PDF, will then display a clickable link to the Annotation note in the navigation bar immediately above the pane that displays the document. Thus, there’s visible evidence in the target document’s display that an annotation note exists for it, and can be easily accessed.

Because the Annotation note is rich text (unlike the plain text annotations in PDFs) one can use character formatting, tables, lists, and additional hyperlinks to other notes or documents (as well as Page Links for notes referring to specific pages in the PDF) and even images.

I make heavy use of linked notes when I’m working on a writing project, as this not only allow one to gather reference materials and make comments, include quotas, etc. but also to save time by doing drafts to be included in the final product when copied and pasted for final editing into a word processor such as Pages, Word, etc.

Thanks for posting that tip; 'tis new to me. So far I’ve discovered it only works if the document is being displayed. And deleting an annotation doesn’t remove the x-devonthink-item://… link in the URL field of the document it was created from.