Annotating notes in class

2nd year is about to begin and I have been playing around with how to implement the EN-GTD system without having to lug around my laptop. The iPad offers the added ability to annotate with a stylus. Once you get the hang of it, using a PDF annotating application is a great way to sit through a lecture. I chose to show this guide using GoodReader, but iAnnotate is just as usable. I have found that the best way to get a file from iAnnotate back to EN is to email the flattened file to your EN email address, and that message, annotated PDF included, will be in your “inbox” notebook. From there you can rename the note to the original name you started, tag it appropriately, and move it to your “online cabinet” notebook. So without further adieu:

Go ahead and open Evernote, and view by tags. As long as your note is in your “online cabinet” it should be viewable from your iPad EN. (As a side note, be sure you are being diligent about what goes in your “online cabinet” because you will hit that 1gb quickly if you are all willy nilly)


Once you’ve downloaded the file, go ahead and open it and click the open in icon indicated below. If you don’t see the annotating app you use, close EN, open the app like iAnnotate, then switch back to EN. That open in button usually only shows the most recent apps that can open PDF documents.


It should take you over to your app. In this case it’s GoodReader. Go ahead and open the document.


Get to annotating. As soon as you start, a dialog box pops up asking how you want GR to handle the document. It’s fine to save over the document because it saves over the imported file, not the one in EN.



After you are done annotating, go back to the main GR page and click the “manage files” button and select the document you were working on. Remember that EN doesn’t care about file names, only note names, so don’t be intimidated by EN’s organization system.



Once you click the document, more options open, including the “open in” option. Click it and choose to flatten the annotation (not shown). This makes all the annotations you made part of the actual PDF file. Now the changes will be visible in EN. Preview and Adobe flatten automatically, but if you use another application on your Mac or PC like Skim (my favorite) you get used to flattening annotations. Go ahead and open it in EN.



Now you’re back in EN. The annotated PDF is a new note in your default notebook, which should be your synced “inbox”. Because you keep your inbox small, it should be easy to find.


You can rename the note, TAG THE NOTE before you move it, and put it in your “online cabinet”. Then just delete the original note. This process is easier on a desktop, so you can just wait till you get home. The big advantage is that files in the EN cloud are accessible from any wifi connection, editable, and can be returned to the cloud.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or additional suggestions.

Posted in EN-GTD Theory
2 comments on “Annotating notes in class
  1. Jack O'Sullivan says:

    Very informative post. My Android device unfortunately doesn’t have as flexible a version of the iAnnotate app, but I think I’m well on the way to getting the perfect system for med school!

    Looking forward to reading more. 🙂

    • Mark says:

      It’s all about a system. Success = Efficiency x Effort. If you study 8 hours a day, but only retain (efficient) 1/3 of it, someone who studies 4 hours a day at 80% efficiency will do much better.

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