Evernote can store anything and everything, and it’s amazing. Not only can you store any text you’d like, but you can also capture audio, photos and PDF files, and have them appear in the note. Not only that, but the images and PDF files you add to Evernote become searchable. When you search using the main search box at the top it not only searches within text, it also searches within those PDF and image files. But what about all those other files you’ve added? How can you search through the Microsoft Word documents, the Powerpoint slide decks or the spreadsheets you’ve dropped into Evernote?
The secret is turning them into a PDF file first. If you’re using Microsoft Windows, then you’ll need to have a PDF printer installed. And then it’s a simple matter of configuring the Auto-Import Folder location in Evernote and whenever you want to store a file in Evernote, you simply print it as a PDF and save it into that folder. Evernote will pick it up and automatically create a new note with it.
Here, though, I’d like to discuss how to do this with Evernote for Mac.
Printing a PDF to Evernote
It actually follows a fairly similar process. When you want to store a document in Evernote, open the document first then go to print it. You’ll notice in the bottom left corner of the popup is a “PDF” button. This lets you save the document as a PDF somewhere on your computer. In the screenshot, you can see that “Evernote” is selected. If you see “Save PDF to Evernote” instead, that’s ok, it’s the same thing. But what if you don’t see anything to do with Evernote? Don’t fret, it’s actually very easy to add the Evernote option, and I’ll explain that shortly.
To send your document directly to Evernote, as a searchable PDF, just click the Evernote option in the PDF drop down menu. In less than a second a new Evernote note window will appear and your document will appear inside it as a PDF! It becomes searchable a little while after – first the note needs to synchronise up to the Evernote cloud and be put through their magical scanning machines to look for text and index it. That’s all a bit complicated, so just trust that the PDF will be searchable when you need it. So just give the note a title, add any tags to it and then file it under the right notebook. I often drag the original document into the same note. This way I’m able to search through the entire document (along with all my other notes) using the normal Evernote search and then I can easily open up and review or edit the original document if I need to.
Adding the ability to Print a PDF to Evernote
Normally Evernote will add the “Save PDF to Evernote” option in the PDF drop down when Evernote is installed, but sometimes it doesn’t quite make its way there. So, what if you don’t see the “Evernote” or “Save PDF to Evernote” option in the PDF drop down menu? It’s actually very easy to add. Click on the “Edit Menu…” option at the bottom of the list. Then, click the plus button. A Finder window will appear. From here you’ll need to find the Evernote application.
Click on “Applications” on the left and then scroll down until you see Evernote. Select it and click “Open”. This will add “Evernote” to the “Printing Workflows” popup (see above).
Then just hit OK and you’re done! Now when you’d like to print a document as a PDF directly into Evernote, click on Print then select “Evernote” from the PDF drop down menu.