Something like Evernote?
April 3, 2013 5:36 AM   Subscribe

Is there a program along the lines of Evernote that can deal with .pdf and .doc files?

I've recently discovered Evernote, and getting into it I thought it would be ideal for schoolwork that I've doing. Problem is it can't add pdfs or docs as a "note"...for some reason. Evernote is great because it crosses platforms and I can do work on my home computer and work computer, which are Mac and PC, respectively. But without .doc and .pdf support, it's not an option, as much of my research is in one of those formats.

Any (free, cross-platform) options out there?
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I have Evernote, and it does take .doc and .pdf - you have to add them in the Files section (which did take me a little while to figure out).
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 5:42 AM on April 3, 2013

Response by poster: thanks, Fruit, but where is the Files section?
posted by zardoz at 5:49 AM on April 3, 2013

Best answer: File > Attach Files (I'm on a Mac, I assume it's the same on Windows)
You can also use Evernote's Web Clipper extension to clip PDFs you find on the web.
posted by puritycontrol at 5:54 AM on April 3, 2013

Response by poster: thanks, I actually just figured out the pdf part of it and those look great in EN. The word docs, though...there's an option to see a preview of the first page and another to open it up in Word, which is what I'm trying to avoid doing.
posted by zardoz at 5:57 AM on April 3, 2013

Best answer: On a Mac you can also drag a file onto a note, and it sits comfortably there too.

Thinking of reading the contents of a Word document, on a Mac you can use the Quick Look button in Evernote to quickly preview the file -- plus search seems to work really well, too. How come you don't want to open it? If you just don't want to have to open it to search inside, then I think you should still be ok.

Don't forget about Dropbox, which is a great way to store and sync all kinds of files between your computers. I use the free tier and it's more than enough for me, though you might feel differently depending on how much stuff you need to store.
posted by raena at 6:05 AM on April 3, 2013

Response by poster: I don't want to open Word if I can help it, just because it would be more convenient to have it all in Evernote and read from there. With word I have to keep switching from window to window; I'm talking about shuffling through upwards of a dozen Word docs. And my work computer is an ancient POS so keeping open apps to a minimum is necessary.
posted by zardoz at 6:45 AM on April 3, 2013

If you just need the text from the Word documents, you can copy and paste it in as a new note. The formatting may not be as pretty, though.

I find Evernote is ideal when you mainly just need the information inside a file. If you need the file itself to stay mostly intact, Dropbox is better.
posted by payoto at 7:00 AM on April 3, 2013

I haven't tried Word documents, but DEVONthink Pro Office handles my Pages docs with aplomb.
posted by ferdinandcc at 7:23 AM on April 3, 2013

Does your version of MS Word have the option to save as PDF?
posted by Boxenmacher at 9:06 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you just need the text from the Word documents, you can copy and paste it in as a new note. The formatting may not be as pretty, though.

And it'll crash Evernote more often than not (experience based on sample 6 page Word document containing simple 3 column tables, no images).
posted by humph at 9:10 AM on April 3, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all for the replies. My only real issue is with Word files. I may be doing it wrong, but when I have a dozen separate Word files open it means that many windows--not easy to navigate. Which leads me to hijack my own thread: is there a way to view multiple Word documents as tabs, instead of going window to window? Much the way Excel and sheets work.
posted by zardoz at 11:05 PM on April 3, 2013

Best answer: The extra context is handy!

Are you working on all the documents together, or just referring to them?

I'm not sure whether viewing separate notes in Evernote would be any more or less annoying with regards to having to swap between windows. But it really is such a great interface for searching, still, which should help with the whole issue of bouncing around in a mess of different documents looking for that one sentence you know is one of them, somewhere.

I haven't tried this myself, but Tabs for Word looks like it'll do the trick of making all your open documents appear in tabs. It does seem to be Windows only, and it's not free at $15, but to me that sounds like a pretty reasonable price to pay to avoid being annoyed all the time.

I don't know if this is relevant to the kind of work you're producing at all, but you might also like to take a look at Scrivener. It's a really great writing tool in general, and it would let you collate a bunch of reference matter (PDF, Word, whatever you want) and keep it all someplace handy alongside your own work. When you import a Word document it comes in as RTF, which may result in some changes to the appearance, but the original is left untouched. It's also not free, but if your schoolwork includes a lot of writing then the additional features might kill a lot of birds with one stone for you.
posted by raena at 3:46 AM on April 4, 2013

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