After the scanning is over

Once you have scanned all of your loose papers, meeting notes, and old highlighted copies of articles, you probably want to make sure that you can find that information again. Evernote and OneNote can both make your documents searchable using OCR (optical character recognition).

The programs organize information quite differently, so your choice will probably come down to your organizational style. I have heard an analogy before that OneNote is like a notebook while Evernote is more like a filing cabinet. I prefer the Evernote style so that I can tag my notes, but unfortunately the OCR functionality only comes with the paid Evernote Premium.

Here are the pros and cons of each:



  • Free
  • Can extract text from an image! Right click on the photo in OneNote, and click “Make Text in Image Searchable”. Once you’ve done that you will be able to right click the image and choose “Copy Text from Picture.” This could be really useful if you have a scan of an old document and want to use a quote from it without having to type it out.


  • I haven’t had any success getting OneNote to recognize my handwriting within an image – though it does very well recognizing my handwriting if I use a stylus on my iPad!

OneNote OCR



  • Automatic! One you are running Premium Evernote will start making your scanned documents searchable with out you doing anything extra.
  • Can search lots of types of documents -PDFs, business cards. Power Point Presentations,


  • Paid, though if you want to give it a try you can recruit people to Evernote. You can trade the points that Evernote gives you for recruiting for a free month of Premium service.
  • Though Evernote can read the text from an image, I haven’t found a way to extract the text from an image or PDF.
  • I also haven’t had any success getting Evernote to recognize my handwriting in an image – but it is also very good at interpreting my handwriting when I use a stylus.


There are a lot of other softwares that also do OCR but I like these two because they are already open on my desktop. EverNote has a few shortcomings compared to OneNote, but since my brain doesn’t organize documents in the same way as OneNote I will often just use OneNote to do the heavy lifting (like extracting text from an image) and then transfer the extracted text over to Evernote. For most documents though, I don’t even bother. As long as my search term brings up the correct document I am happy to leave it as an image!


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