Going Paperless

Below is a condensed index of my weekly Going Paperless tips that I do in my capacity as Evernote’s Paperless Lifestyle Ambassador. These weekly tips are also available via RSS. Below the index are some supplementary posts I’ve done that may be of interest to folks.

Looking to get started going paperless with Evernote? Sign up for free using this link and get one month of Evernote Premium free when you sign up.

Category Index

Here are links to lists of the Going Paperless articles by category. The full index of posts, ordered from most-recent, is listed below the categories.

Going Paperless 2.0 Articles

Full List of Original Going Paperless Articles

Supplementary Posts


  1. This is so awesome. Thanks Jamie. I thought that I was pretty organized. Clearly I’ve got some work to do. I am sharing your posts with my family and friends. Cheers!

  2. Jamie,
    Always look forward to Tuesday(s) knowing you’ll be pushing a new post. I’ve yet to download the new update as I was waiting for the dust to settle. Do you think this version will replace your use of Drafts for quick note taking ?

  3. Jamie,

    Your blog has been a great help to me moving towards a paperless lifestyle. I’m still refining and trying to get it just right but I feel I’m making progress. I just wanted to let you know about two services I’ve been using that have been helping me with this endeavor.

    http://www.wappwolf.com and http://www.filethis.com

    wappwolf does a limited number of things that ifttt does however it does somethings that it doesn’t. For one, it can monitor a dropbox folder and whatever is placed in it can be converted to pdf and automatically loaded to evernote.

    filethis.com monitors my personal accounts such as bank and credit card and downloads statements for me then uploads them to evernote as well.

    Thought you might find these interesting. Thanks again for your work and writing in regard to going paperless.

    Best regards,

    Corey Wright

  4. Hi Jamie,

    I am 100 % paperless at home and at work (I work from home). I find it such much easier to function this way. I would love to join the Evernote Ambassador program but can’t find a link to do so. Can you help?

    1. Hi Kelly, a few years back when Evernote first started their Ambassador program, they used to have a link, but I believe it has been invitation-only for a while now. You can find the main Ambassador page here, if you haven’t seen it yet.

  5. This is one of my New Year’s resolutions. My husband is not completely on board (still likes to read paper books, makes lists on paper, etc) but I’m going to do it as much on my end as possible. A little paper isn’t bad. It’s cutting out the stuff that simply doesn’t have to be there.

    I jokingly say I have a “paper phobia” but with 2 kids ages 8 and 7, it’s kind of a true statement! 🙂

  6. This is a great and comprehensive list for going paperless. Liberating for me. I can’t wait to implement alot of your ideas. Evernote is my paperless BFF. Thanks for your posts they are a fantastic help!!

  7. Did you try also going paperless with digital signature? i would advise to check it out. Great post! I especially liked “tips on Evernote” – Thanks.

  8. Jamie,

    I’ve been an Evernote user for years to keep track of this and that, but I never tried to use it as anything more than a slightly glorified note taking app. Just this week, I decided to go all-in and try to get myself organized with Evernote as my paperless life hub, and I stumbled across your blog. Thank you for all of the tips and instructions you’ve already posted, and thank you in advance for continuing to post more. I know I’ll be a regular reader.

  9. Jamie, hi

    This is a revelation. I’ve been using Evernote for a couple of years, with it installed and sync’d on all devices.

    I have slowly been going through important documents and scanning them; I take photographs of receipts; screenshot web confirmation pages and more.

    It’s certainly something that needs to become a habit, and I think I’m almost there.

    Your blog has been very welcome in giving me ideas and tips – it’s now bookmarked for regular access.

    Thank you.

  10. Such a great site, Jamie. I’ve been reading posts on your site since I started Evernote a few years ago – well over 4000 notes ago. I’ve recently gotten a Doxie after reading about your mobile paperless office. My daughter loved helping me. Thanks for all the great information.

  11. I am trying to understand the use of post it notes and Moleskin. What am I missing? I am premium user. Been paperless using Evernote for over a year. Why would I consider using products that would cause me have “floating paper” again?

    1. Mitch, I think there are at least three categories where something like this is useful:

      1. Personal preference. Some people prefer paper for some things and scan it only to make searching easier or to have a digital archival copy. I say that I’m going paperless because it is an on-going process for me. One personal example, I still do my baseball scorecards on paper. I’ve tried apps and things, but for me, nothing is quite like having your score book and scratching in the scores with a pencil. (See my post later today.) That said, when the game is over and I’ve completed my scorecard, I scan it into Evernote so that I have a copy that is accessible anywhere.

      2. Circumstance. On a more practical level, I’ve been in meetings where you are not allowed to bring mobile devices or laptops because they are deemed “too distracting.” In these meetings, I’m stuck with scratching out notes on a pad of paper. Circumstance dictates this. It wouldn’t be my first choice, but as a good corporate citizen, I play along. When the meeting is over, I scan the pages into Evernote.

      3. Speed. For some people, it’s a lot faster to jot something down on a Post-It or in a notebook, especially if they don’t have access to a mobile device. But even if they do, some people are more comfortable capturing notes on paper and then scanning in the paper later.

      It all comes down to personal preference. In your case, there may be no need for Post-Its or Moleskine (I don’t use them, either). But I have to continually remind myself that not everyone works the same way that I do, and you’ve got to do what’s most comfortable for you.

  12. As soon as I got my iphone and discovered Evernote, I started going paperless. For years before that I kept everything I possibly could on my computer, but I didn’t always want to carry my monster of a laptop everywhere. Evernote fixed that problem.

    Now my workbench at school is clean – or at least clean of paper – because all the notes that get handed to me in the studio get scanned and handed back. I’m working on convincing my professors to just upload them to blackboard so I can download and forget the paper entirely, but that’s a slow process for people who are set in their ways, lol.

    Now nothing gets lost, and thanks to being able to search scanned documents I can find the notes I’m looking for quickly (it used to be 10-15 minutes wasted pulling paper out of drawers and shelves).

    I also purchased a bluetooth keyboard, so I take all my notes on my phone with Evernote too. The only thing I haven’t found a full replacement for is my sketchbook. I know there’s skitch, but for now I only have my phone and the screen’s a bit small. I do sketch in photoshop with my drawing tablet and then drop those files into evernote, but I don’t have a digital way to sketch at school.

  13. Jamie,

    I’ve spent a good portion of the weekend devouring your many posts on going paperless. Thank you so much for developing and sharing all of this really tremendous information!

    This summary page containing links to the posts is very helpful. However, having read through your years worth of posting, I’m not entirely sure I’m clear on the complete picture of what you are using today. Your approach, quite reasonably, has evolved on a number of issues, such as your notebook structure or which programs you use to handle to-do’s and reminders. Your catch-up notes and FAQ postings help to do a partial consolidation, but even they don’t provide a view of the entire forest.

    So, a suggestion for you to consider: Your system is complex, and I do want to make sure I am accurately visualizing both the entire forest and the key individual trees clearly. Is there a way you could graphically convey the current versions/states/choices/roles of the major elements of your paperless system in one architecture diagram, maybe with links to access more detail or the most current explanatory postings behind each element, so that those of us eager to start fresh and accurately with your current setup can be sure we’re working off an accurate picture of your entire system? Such a picture would also be helpful for us to then more easily visualize how our systems might or might not change when you inevitably make future revisions and improvements. I realize this might be a tremendous amount of work, but you’ve already drawn partial pictures, such as some of your flow charts and the five cloud apps that handle your digital life. I think it would be of tremendous value, even for long-time readers of what you’re writing, if you could pull these together in a way of both conveying the whole but also providing another means of organizing and accessing the wealth of information you’ve assembled.

    In any event, thanks again very much for everything you’ve posted so far and for all of the effort you’ve made to make things accessible and clear!


    1. Joe, this is a clever idea, and I’ll need to think about how to make it work. I like the idea, just need to figure out how to properly unify it. In the meantime, for a more recent summary of what I’m using, you can check how the How I Work interview I gave over at LifeHacker back in February.

      1. Thanks for the LifeHacker piece…that definitely helps. I’ll also keep my eyes open for whatever else you come up with. Thanks again!

  14. Hi Jamie,
    I really enjoy reading your “Going Paperless” blogs. They have helped me become more organized and I think the Evernote tips are great. I have found a program called IQTELL which I think works great. Have you tried this program? I would be interested to see what you thought of it and why you do or do not use it. Thanks

    1. Colin, thanks for the kind words on the posts. I’d never heard of IQTELL, but I took a quick look at it. It’s probably not for me, mainly because (a) I am a dismal failure when it comes to GTD methodology. I’ve tried it enough times to know it just doesn’t work for me. (b) I have a pretty good method for achieving inbox zero already and have no real need to replace it. But thanks for calling my attention to it. I imagine others might find it useful.

  15. Going paperless totally depends on a constant supply of electricity and the constant presence of the internet. What if one or both go away? EMP or such? Shouldn’t we have paper copies of important documents? Or did you already say that?

  16. I’ve been making my way through your posts, but so far I haven’t seen an answer to my question. Why do you use Evernote over say, Google Drive?

  17. Jamie, just found your blog and as a avid user of Evernote/Scansnap since…. well since EN was a stand alone piece of software and it was NOT interfaced directly with EN. I’m always interested in seeing how other superusers make use of these valuable tools.
    As of late, I have begun to snap documents/receipts directly from my (Android) phone into the EN app. photos too. I am curious about your thoughts of any advantage to using a scanner to capture docs and receipts. Because I am a EN (what do they call it when you’re a subscriber that pays?) I have the additional functionality of OCR in jpg … which I think is just magic! I love it. With that capability covered, what other features/advantages are there to scanning vs. photographing into Evernote? Thanks in advance for your feedback.

  18. Annoyingly if I try and clip this article in evernote either you have the choice of:

    1. simpified, which strips out all of your hyperlinks; or
    2. Full – which makes the whole thing totally unreadable with one letter (yes just one letter!) per line scroll down the page and nothing else

  19. @Jamie, yes, we still can. But see the link I posted to a thread over at the Evernote forum, which quotes this response by an EN employee:

    “”I was forwarded this ticket from another representative in order to help you out with the inability of your Evernote account to create local notebooks.

    This is by design, but there is a current work around.

    A little back story – Evernote is studying the possibility of eliminating local notebooks all together and moving to a completely synced service. The reason we’re trying this out is because synced notes can always count with our Note History feature as a back up, or “safety net” to recover previous versions of your note if something is erased by mistake. Local notebooks don’t currently have any backup tool as such, therefore we feel that this is not the fair and compete solution our users expect from us.””

  20. I am New to evernote. I am going paperless at my office and have started scanning files into evernote using scansnap, however, it is imperative that i am able to add blank pages to those notes and edit them. For some reason, however, I am not seeing the pencil icon on the tool bar, allowing me to edit. I see everything else, font, text alignment, highlight, colour etc. I feel silly, like dam missing something. Please help.


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