PDF - OCR and Storage

I have been an Evernote Premium user for over 10 years. Lately, I have been trying other services like KeepIt, Bear, Apple Notes, GoodNotes, and Notability. I need to store and search medical EOB statements. I could simply store them in iCloud, but they are not easily searchable.

One of my kids generates several EOB’s a month and I need to be able to quickly search them with a system by name, cost, or date for reimbursements.

It seems that Evernote is really the only system that offers OCR. I briefly tried Devonthink, but it seems way more than what I needed. I need to store general notes, PDF, links, sites, images and the like.

I am still under the old pricing for Evernote, so I don’t mind keeping it. But, I find myself wondering if there is something better.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m a long time EN user who tried other apps/methods and returned to EN. I’m retired and prefer an iPad to a Mac, so Evernote is a better solution for me. I am also a long time user of EagleFiler. It’s search is superior to Spotlight, it keeps my files in standard folders, and it also deduplicates files as they are imported. I continue to use EF to archive files I wish to keep that I prefer not to store online.

I scan original documents with Scanner Pro on my iPhone, which OCRs the scans and uploads the PDF to a folder in iCloud. Hazel running on a Mac mini then moves the file to EagleFiler located on an external drive. If I receive a non-OCR PDF, I use PDFify before loading into EF.

This method also worked well with my iPhone/iPad by storing the EF library on iCloud/Dropbox and using Documents by Readdle for search, etc.



IMO, if storing your files online isn’t a concern then Evernote is a much simpler solution. But EagleFiler is also an excellent choice.


@Porterw24 are you receiving the EOBs in paper form that need to be scanned / OCRd, or electronic? If not electronic, can your provider give you digital copies?

Take a look at GoodReader. It was revamped about a year ago and is a pretty good iPad-based document repository with some features that might be useful for what you described. It doesn’t get a lot of attention in the Mac forums, and I’m not sure why – it’s very solid and I’ve used it for years.

I know you rejected it, but DEVONthink is well suited to do as you say you want, including OCR, notes, PDS, links, sites, images, etc.


@WayneG I should have added additional information. I am mainly an iPad user. I have a Mac mini, but no scanner. I frequently use Scanner Pro to capture when needed. I could go back and look at Documents. I haven’t used it in a long time.

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@anon41602260 I do get the digital version of the EOB, I just need the searchablitly that Apple Notes is not giving me. I used to be a GoodReader fan, stopped using it a long time ago. Not really sure why that was. It may be worth another look.

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Yep, same here. I stopped using GoodReader when it went into a years-long spell with promised updates but no support. I think it’s good now, however. At least it has been over the last year since the major update at that time.

@rms I think my problem with DEVONthink is I don’t really understand it. Maybe I will do another trial of it.

In that case, Documents may be all you need. FYI, Indexing needs to be turned on to enable Full Content Search.

do the trial. get the manual and read it. it is good.

@Porterw24 DT is very good and I use it (I tried to use Finder and iCloud exclusively but that did not work for my research needs so I’m back using DT) for all personal file storage. However, the iOS and PaDOS versions need a lot of work, which I understand is in process.

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@Bmosbacker Being that I am an iPad first user DT may not be the best option right now.

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GoodNotes is looking promising without a subscription model. GoodReader and Readdle Documents seem to push you to a subscription model.

Evernote is already starting to annoy a bit on iPad as it does not have the trackpad support. The magnetism feature of iPad OS doesn’t work in Evernote on iPad Pro.

I’ve used several of the apps you’ve tried out (albeit for slightly different purposes). Since it hasn’t been mentioned in further detail yet, I’ll give Keep It a vote for your purposes. It’s not obvious, but it does index text in PDFs, all done in the background. There’s some details on Reinvented Software’s website here.

I also appreciate Keep It’s feature parity between iPadOS, iOS, and macOS (a big complaint I have of DEVONThink is how different the MacOS version is from mobile versions). Saved searches are really good, and there’s a few different ways to organize your data. Finally, it’s very flexible in terms of the files you can store in it.

Maybe this won’t meet your needs but I use OneDrive. I’ll scan/save for OCR into OneDrive and I have found the search to be really good.

since i now understand you are IOS only i cannot recommend using the DEVONthink IOS app. it is really best as a supplement to the superb OSX version

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“PDF Search” will let you point it at any folder and it will index the contents of all your PDFs to make them searchable. It may not help your other need for a general bucket to hold everything, but it could be used in combination with other tools.

I don’t think it’s the reader or storage mechanism you need to worry about here - it’s how you’re scanning and saving the PDF’s in the first place. I have a little Brother scanner, and the software for that gives the option for saving as a searchable PDF. Therefore I scan & save with this, to my Documents folder which is in iCloud and just searching for any of the content in Finder seems to work well for me.


I use devonthink and really likes it. What worked for me is that i started using devonthink for everything and nothing has broken in last 4-5 years.

@Porterw24 This is a random question: What’s your file naming convention for your EOBs? I have two kids that have generated many of them as well and I’m not happy with how I’m currently naming them.