Free Video Tutorial: Automating Document Capture & Filing - Apple Mac, iPad & iPhone Tutorials from ScreenCastsOnline

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Tutorial Description

In this episode, Todd Olthoff takes a look at some sample workflows to automate the capture and manipulation of digital files using some of our favourite tools - Hazel & DEVONthink Pro. He also takes a look at a great iOS app that allows you to scan and process documents directly on your iOS device - Scanner Pro 7. Although Todd uses some sample workflows, they are provided to give you some ideas on what can be achieved and allow you to create your own workflows to match your way of working.

The full tutorial covers:

  • Setting Up Your Folder Structure
  • Laying Out Your Workflow
  • Adding Actions to Your Folders with Hazel
  • Scanning into Your Workflow
  • Devonthink Pro Office Workflow
  • Scanner Pro 7 Set Up
  • Working with Scans in Scanner Pro 7
  • Working with Settings & Workflows in Scanner Pro 7
  • Adding Your iOS Scans to Your Mac Workflow

Show Links:

Clickable Links (Except for Apple TV App)

Hazel - Link

DEVONthink Pro Link

Scanner Pro 7 - iOS App Store Link

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Video Tutorial Comments

(10 comments posted)

Gray Hodge

Oh dear, way too complicated for me! There is a much simpler option, it's in one word - Evernote.


Todd Olthoff

Thanks for the comment Gray! If you have a system that works you definitely should stay with it. I prefer my private dara on my Mac so this gives a fully automated system for me that involves only scanning a file to my Mac and it's taken care of. It does involve up front work but it has saved me hours of work now. Thanks again for the comment! I hope you have a great weekend!

Iain Dunn

I don't like to rely solely on third party apps to be my primary storage option given the lack of control and inherent uncertainty about such services (

I use a similar process as demoed here, then make a copy on my NAS and a cloud copy using OneDrive. This way I have complete control and redundancies built in.


Todd Olthoff

Thanks for sharing your process Iain! Love the reminder on redundancy! I too have multiple back ups especially when you are scanning & shredding paper! Thanks again and have a great week!

Gray Hodge

I hear what you are saying Iain, Evernote, or any other third party app could fall over at any time. We had that happen to apps like Everpix, which threw a lot of users into confusion. Also Aperture, (NOT a third party app).
As long as there are backups and/or alternatives, I guess digital life will go on.

Michael Clark

Great job. I'm intrigued. Your first solution looks so easy. The DevonThink solution looks pretty cool. I had to go back and re-watch the two tutorials you did on DevonThink. Can you help me out with one thing? Why would I want to use an app like DevonThink? I have trouble getting my head around the idea of using a database application to save and organize files that already exist on my computer. If I already have a folder structure and tags, is what is the benefit to dumping everything into a database? It seems that a lot of people find such a workflow beneficial. What am I missing?


Iain Dunn

I have to and froed between folder structures and Devonthink as the process of storing files.

I have recently gone back to using Devonthink as the initial storage of my files. The primary benefit is the ability to automatically classify and file most documents and the numerous additional utilities provided by Devonthink such as annotation, duplicate cleaning etc. I also find the IOS app much better for finding documents than Cloud based storage searches.

As I mentioned previously I like redundancy in my file storage and they way I achieve this is after processing files via Hazel to rename on the internal document date (or creation date if not found) I import into Devonthink and file in a heirarchal folder structure (ie Home> Electricity.

Every so often I will export the Devonthink folders to a Cloud storage location (ie One Drive). This gives me the open folder structure of my files to which Devonthink adds OSX Tags to the exported files (ie Home, Electricity) providing another way to conduct search. This doubles the storage space used by the documents but I am not concerned with that.

If the file name is still based on the date only (sometimes I will rename for clarity etc) a Hazel Rule can be run to rename to include the Tags (ie 20160530 - Home Electricity).

You could achieve the process of filing and renaming just via Hazel but you would have to develop and maintain a lot of unique rules. My process only requires 2, being Rename based on internal/creation date, import into Devonthink and Rename based on existing name & Tags (where name matches 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1). Devonthink does most of the heavy lifting via its auto classify process.

Give a me another month or two and the above process will probably change again, unfortunately I get enjoyment out of developing new filing processes. 8-)

Mark Warner

Is there any way to turn off the subtitles in your tutorial video?

Jeff Knouse

What do you think of EagleFiler? I'm retired and DevonThink seems like a lot of horsepower to file paperwork and receipts. EagleFiler seems to be a much simpler solution and does not put the files in a proprietary format. Thanks

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