Tag Archives: mac

Quickly Paste Bible References Using Accordance or Logos Bible Software

Often times when you are working on a project that includes bible references you will want to actually quote the bible verse. Generally the workflow would include opening up your bible software of choice, searching for the reference, and then copying and pasting that reference into the document. There is actually a quicker way to do this through the use of services on the Mac. Services allow apps to communicate in the background and do some basic functionality from that particular app. In the two videos below I show you how to use both Accordance and Logos Bible Software’s services to quickly retreive the text of a bible reference all with a simple keyboard shortcut without leaving your word processor.

Accordance has more robust services to offer:

  1. Insert verses – this service pastes the text from your default resource
  2. Insert verses from any text – this service allows you to choose the resource that you want to paste from
  3. Search for words – allows you to highlight a word (in any app) and search for it in Accordance
  4. Search with options – same as above but you get to choose what resource(s) you search from
  5. View verses – opens up Accordance to the verse you highlighted

In order to download Accordance’s service go here.

Logos Bible Software offers two services:

  1. Copy Bible Verses – opens up Logos to the copy bible verses module. At the time of writing I think this has a bug as I can not get it to work correctly
  2. Replace with passage – pastes the bible verse of the highlighted reference

For each of these services you can add keyboard shortcuts from the System Preferences. Note: If you have trouble getting this to work in some apps such as Pages then try changing the keyboard shortcut. If there are duplicate keyboard shortcuts for two different commands then both of them will not work.

Cleaning Up Your Research PDF Workflow

One of the many conveniences of the digital world is to be able to have loads of research all on one device, such as a computer, tablet, and even your phone. Personally, I love the fact that I can scan copies of journal articles, book chapters, and other content into PDFs. This allows me to have all my research in one place and I am not scrambling around with hundreds of pieces of paper around my desk when writing a paper. But one of the problems of this (and it is not just limited to digital documents) is how to collate all your highlights and notes in one place. In the past I’ve done this by hand by typing out quotes and notes into Evernote.

Welcome to Highlights for Mac!

*If you just want to checkout my PDF workflow video without reading the post click here


First, one caveat. For the Highlights to work to its full potential the PDF needs to be searchable/OCR’d. Most journal articles that you download from a database are probably already searchable[1]. Articles/book portions you scan to PDF from your library are probably not searchable[2]. There are several gimmicky and “cheap” solutions out there but in my experience there are really only one excellent option: ABBYY FineReader Pro for Mac[3]. At the time of writing this piece you can purchase the app for $83.99 with a student discount. This app also comes packaged with the excellent DevonThink Pro Office for slightly more money. You should really check out this program as it will transform your research[4]. The reason you need a searchable PDF will be explained below.


Ok, now we can actually look at Highlights. At the foundational level Highlights takes your highlights, notes, and images and creates a text file that is connected to the PDF and actually links to it. When you highlight a PDF then Highlights will take the text that is highlighted and copy into into the linked text file in a blockquote. Making a comment on a PDF will result in italics text. And underlining results in a reference.

You can also add notes to the PDF either from the Highlights app or any other PDF reader such as Preview. The text of the note will be added to the text document associated with the PDF.

One other helpful feature is to sort annotations by category. This allows you to set colors as a specific category and the linked noted will sort it accordingly.

There have been other workarounds for this type of functionality but most of them involved using a specific app for highlights and notes. But this will read the highlights and notes from other aps and create the linked text file. After you are all finished you have one PDF with text of your highlights and notes in one PDF without retyping. So as you are reading your PDF you are creating this document without any extra work.

I’ve put together a video below showing a soup to nuts PDF workflow using DevonThink and ABBYY FineReader to OCR, read and highlight on the iPad using PDF Expert 5, opening the PDF to create the linked text file using Highlights, and then finally exporting to Evernote to my notebook for a paper. Perfection.

Apps mentioned:

  1. Highlights for Mac
  2. ABBYY FineReader
  3. PDF Expert 5 (iPad/iPhone)
  4. DevonThink Pro Office

  1. In order to check to see if the PDF is searchable just open up your document and try to highlight the text. If you can then it is searchable if you can’t then it is not searchable.  ↩

  2. Some of you may be one of the lucky ones that the scanner OCRs the document but I would venture to guess that most out there do not.  ↩

  3. There are other OK options. If you are wanting a full-fledged PDF application that rivals Adobe Acrobat Pro I would definitely check out PDFpen Pro 7 from Smile Software. The issue I have found with this program in regards to OCRing PDFs is correctly rendering a scanned PDF that is of facing pages. For example, if you are scanning from a book it does not correctly read the text on both sides of the page. Therefore, you will have issues highlighting and searching. ABBYY FineReader is far superior in this regard. Personally, this constitutes about half my scans so it is a deal breaker for me.  ↩

  4. At some point I will write a blog series on using DevonThink similar to my Evernote for Academics series.  ↩

Evernote for Academics: Day 02 – Tagging vs. Notebooks

Introduction

If you do a quick Google search for “organizing Evernote”, “tagging vs. notebooks”, or “Evernote file management” you might be quickly overwelmed about all the “answers” and “solutions” to how to organize Evernote.

Well, I guess I have good news and bad news for you. The good news: there is no “right” answer. The bad news: it generally takes trial and error to figure out what works best for you. Below I will outline the basics of notes, notebooks, notebook stack, and tags. This series isn’t necessarily focused on an in-depth “how to” but rather to give you some basic ideas and principles on using Evernote. If you are wanting some help getting started creating any of these I will provide a link at the end of each section for you. The videos at the end of the post are not meant to rehash the text of the post but to show you some additional tips pertaining to this topic.

Click here for a basic getting started guide

Notes

Notes are the most basic component of Evernote. These can store basically any type of information ranging from just typed text to image files to PDFs. This is where you will input all your information. For my purposes most of my notes are typed text. Evernote allows you to format the text as you would in a typical word processor (i.e. Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, etc.). This means you can bold, italicize, and underline your text. Create tables, bulleted lists, and enumerated lists. You can also hyperlink text to other notes and external websites. Basically any formatting you want to add to your text you are free to do so.

One of the great aspects about notes in Evernote is that you can have multiple files within the note in addition to text. For example, if you are reading an article you can screenshot a section of the article, add it to Evernote, and then add your commentary on the related section. See video below.

Personally, I tend to keep my notes very brief and have multiple notes within a notebook. I find this organizational strategy more effective when going back to review notes.

For help creating notes click here.

Notebooks

These are a collection of notes. There are two different types of notebooks: local and synchronized. If you want your notebooks available on multiple devices choose the default, synchronized notebook. A local notebook is only store on the machine it was created on and will not synchronize to other devices. You can have unlimited notes in a single notebook.

Notebook Stacks

Notebook stacks are groups of notebooks. The one caveat to notebook stacks is they can only go down one level. For example, if you have a notebook stack called Student you can have multiple notebooks in this stack but you can’t have notebooks within those notebooks. In a traditional file system you can have as many folders within a folder as you want but Evernote limits this to one level. I used to balk at this idea because I like the hierarchal structure of a file system and having many folders within a folder but I have found that Evernote’s solution is perfect for their system because it keeps your Evernote database clean and structured. With the powerful search features of Evernote you never have to worry about digging through an endless line of notebooks to get to a file.

Go here for a short tutorial on how to create Evernote Notebook Stacks

Tags

Tags are a way to group similar notes across notebooks. Unlike notebooks you can have multiple tags on a single note (Notes can only be in one notebook at a time). For example if you have a note about the history of interpretation of Matthew you could theoretically tag it with: history of interpretation, Matthew, Gospels and include it in your Biblical Studies Notebook. If you wanted to see all your notes on Matthew you can search for the Matthew tag and it will bring up all the notes tagged “Matthew” regardless of what notebook it is in.

If you are going to use tagging I suggest these three basic tips, which are by no means unique to me:

  1. Create a standardized tagging system. Decide before hand if you will use singular or plural tags. In the above example you may tag one note Gospel but another note Gospels. This ruins the purpose of tagging because now you have to search for two seperate tags for the same idea.
  2. Keep tags broad or for very specific purposes such as individual projects. I will address this more below.
  3. Don’t be afraid to review your tagging system and modify it later. Evernote makes it very easy to edit tags for multiple notes at once.

For some helpful tips on tagging see this post.

Update: Here is another helpful post on tagging and searching in Evernote.

How I Use Tags and Notebooks

Using tags and notebooks may seem simple at first. The example I gave above with the note on the history of interpretation of Matthew seems great for a single use. But what if you have hundreds or thousands of notes with 3–4 tags each? This can be daunting and you will soon most likely lose track of what tags you have used. At one point I think I had upwards of 600 different tags in Evernote in a database around 1,000 notes. This means that my tags were either singular or plural for the same idea or too specific so I only had one note labeled with a certain tag.

A couple months ago I deleted all my tags and I am in the process of retagging my notes with a specific system. I now use many notebooks with fewer tags and specific tags. Most of my Evernote database consists of biblical studies related material so I have now created a biblical studies notebook with a more simple tagging scheme.

  • If a note pertains to one book I tag it with that book (i.e. Matthew)
  • Since sometimes my studies involve different sections of the bible I also broadly tag the grouping of that book (i.e. Matthew, Gospel). This way if I am doing research on the Gospels I can search the “Gospel” tag and see all my notes with Matthew-John in there for I can dig a little deeper and just look at notes on Matthew.
  • If a note is original language specific I either tag it with Greek or Hebrew. For example, if I have a note pertaining to grammar on Matthew I will tag it Greek, Matthew, and Gospel.
  • Finally, I use tags for specific projects. Instead of creating a seperate notebook for a project and moving my notes from one place to another I instead add a tag. For example, when I was working on a paper in my James class I just tagged everything pertaining to my research “James paper”

I don’t just have articles and notes related to biblical studies but in many other areas of theology as well. I haven’t come up with a specific tagging system yet for these types of notes so I am leaving them without tags. Evernote’s powerful search capabilities will help me find what I need regardless.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it. I hope this short post will help you get organized using Evernote. To sum up, I would recommend using many Notebooks with Notebook Stacks along with a few very specific tags. But there is no right or wrong way to organize Evernote. You may find that you work better by dumping everything into one notebook and using tags for organization or you may choose not to use tags at all. My only warning though is that if you use too many tags it does tend to get overwelming and ends up not being useful.

Below I have included a couple videos in addition to the content above.

  1. How I organize my notes (using an “Inbox” notebook and some Notebook naming schemes).
  2. Using Skitch to capture a screenshot of an article, adding it to Evernote, and then adding some commentary on the note.
  3. Quickly add tags to multiple notes, create a table of contents for a notebook, and how to move notes from one notebook to the next.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please leave a comment below. I would love to interact with you and help with your Evernote organization.

Links to the Evernote for Academics Series

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