OCR Solution: PDF XChange Viewer (and maybe Editor, too?)

Short version: 

I think the free PDF XChange Viewer (and perhaps Editor, I don’t know) solves a lot of the headaches associated with trying to achieve OCR of non-OCR PDFs. Here’s the link: http://www.tracker-software.com/prod…xchange-viewer. You have to search around to find the Viewer because it is being replaced by Editor, but Editor might be fine. I don’t know. I just know that Viewer works (and I need Viewer instead of Editor).

—————–

Detailed version:

A while back someone was asking about how to deal with PDFs that don’t allow you to highlight text for copying, pasting etc.

As was explained, the problem with such PDFs is that they are photocopy images (pictures) that do not have character recognition (i.e., OCR) of the text in the PDF-picture.

And so, a lot of times when you apply OCR apps to such PDFs to try to obtain OCR, these apps’ accuracy at interpreting pictures of text is somewhat good but you usually have to watch out for a significant number of errors. Also, many OCR utilities will generate a separate, new PDF or text file that usually does a little distortion of the layout of the original.

Well, I’ve only used it once, but the free program PDF XChange Viewer has an OCR button (I accidentally saw it today). I clicked it. It asked me whether I wanted a medium or high level of accuracy. I selected high. Then it took a few minutes to do OCR, and then voila: Still working in the original PDF, I was then able to highlight text and right-click and save.

Link: http://www.tracker-software.com/prod…xchange-viewer

The developers are replacing PDF XChange Viewer with PDF XChange Editor. It is still free I believe, and it’s an upgrade to PDF XChange Viewer. You can still find the Viewer if you look carefully for it on one of the pages of the website. I mention this because if you are a Docear user (Docear is a program that looks at your XChange Viewer highlights, annotations, etc. and extracts them onto a mind map for you), then you will want to use PDF XChange Viewer and not Editor. Also, I don’t know a thing about Editor: I don’t know if it has the OCR button, though I would imagine it does.

Fingers crossed that the OCR is truly as accurate as it seems to be. That would be gravy!

Godspeed!

Mickey

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[Downloadable] OneNote Binder Tailored for Academic Researchers and Writers

Featured

Link to the binder: http://tinyurl.com/zcqvu95 or https://app.box.com/OneNoteBinderForResearchers.

NOTE: I’ve made this post a sticky: That means it stays at the top of the blog. Newer blog posts show up below it.

[ADDITION] OneNote PRINTING HELP: To the end of this post I’ve added instructions on how to PRINT OneNote items from OneNote 2010 (other versions may differ).


MAIN POST CONTENT

OneNote is now available for Windows, Apple, and Android devices.

I have created a OneNote binder tailored for academic researchers and writers. The video below previews it. Once downloaded, you can customize and tweak it as you wish.

OneNote is a powerful, robust tool because OneNote mirrors the layout of a physical binder of notebooks, syncs across computers via SkyDrive/OneDrive, and allows for such features as:

  1. Automatic versioning of OneNote pages
  2. Tagging of content in OneNote (including creation of custom tags) and searching by tags
  3. Password protecting of tabs and sections
  4. Dragging-and-dropping into OneNote
  5. Adding screen clippings to OneNote
  6. Printing to OneNote via the OneNote printer
  7. OCR
  8. Deep searching across notebooks, in one notebook, or in one section (including Boolean searching and use of quotation marks to search for exact wording)
  9. Searching for words in audio and video notes/content
  10. Inking (handwriting)
  11. Handwriting to text conversion
  12. Nesting of notebook sections groups
  13. Nesting of subpages under pages, with the ability to collapse and expand subpages
  14. Notebook sharing and real-time collaboration with others
  15. File attachment
  16. Page templates
  17. Docking to desktop
  18. And more . . .

The learning curve is not bad, and OneNote can become even more powerful for users who read about how to use OneNote, view video tutorials, learn keyboard shortcuts, and add in OneNote add-ins of choice.

One of the best introductory videos about OneNote that I’ve encountered is the YouTube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuTBdonbYZo. If you already know the basics of OneNote, you might advance to about time stamp 17:44 of the YouTube video for some of the more advanced features and tips.

I’m pairing OneNote with my Livescribe Pulse pen (see this video to get the gist), my Windows laptop (see this video to see OneNote paired with a tablet), and my Windows Nokia Lumia 1020 smart phone to work smart, especially in terms of going “analog” more often when it’s more prudent to hand-write than to work on the computer. See this post and this video and even parts of this wonderful book for more about the importance of balancing analog versus digital working modes for learning and creative/academic work.

OneNote is an application to consider among options such as EverNote and Devonthink. Some people use OneNote in conjunction with EverNote or Devonthink, while others replace EverNote or Devonthink with OneNote. It is helpful to search the internet and read blogs and comments about the differences between OneNote and other similar programs and about different ways of using OneNote in conjunction with other programs.

Trying to figure out how to print an entire section or particular pages in a section from OneNote 2010?

Directions:

  1. Click on the desired section tab. Look at the list of pages down the right-hand column.
  2. Select the pages you want to print, while holding down the
    1. the CONTROL KEY to select individual pages one at a time or
    2. the SHIFT KEY to select the first and last page you want . . .which will THEN result in selecting the first page you clicked, the last page your clicked, and all pages in between.
  3. Click on “File” at the very top of the OneNote program. Then click on “Print.”
  4. Click on “Print Preview” to format things or scroll through what will be printed . . . and/or click “Print” to print.
  5. IMPORTANT: If you need a PDF printer, install the free program CutePDF Writer onto your computer, and you will now have a PDF printer installed as an option for printing any time you print any document.

I hope that helps!

Mickey

New Menu Item: Tools (Favorites, Abandoned or Replaced, Under Evaluation, and Watchlist)

Greetings!

Inspired by the blog Dr. Andus’s toolbox, I have added a new menu item to this blog. If you select “(0) Tools” in this blog’s menu at the top, you’ll reach these clickable, drop-down hyperlinks menu subitems:

(0a) Favorite Tools

(0b) Abandoned or Replaced Tools

(0c) Tools I’m Evaluating

(0d) Tools on My Watchlist

There is some information at these pages now, but it’ll take me a bit to get the pages in “good, good” shape. But, I wanted to let you know these exist! It’s a way of updating all the talk about tools in ONE place–the tools menu–instead of all over the blog.

Blessings!

Working Well To Get Things Done: The documentation manual at this site is a strange . . . find! WELL worth a read even if you ignore the expensive product, IMO.

Greetings!

The above link (to a subpage of a product’s documentation manual) is surprisingly one of the most educational sites I’ve read about this topic since . . . EVER, personally. How random and strange: It was an off-topic item that showed up in my google search for something else entirely.In my opinion, the site’s content is really, really worth a read if you want to evaluate or think a little more deeply about how you operate to stay on a path you want and how you get things done. Goes from discussing the mechanism of having valued goals all the way down to the details of how to design and work through the process a goal requires. Insightfully, insightfully done, IMO.Here’s a link to the documentation manual’s home page: http://www.watership-planner.com/documentation.html. NOTE: I was tempted to skip over reading the Table of Contents item 2 (on how the product works), but it’s really insightful in general about this topic.

Anyway, I’ve done pretty well at resisting posting (I’m on a hiatus from too much blogging so that I can concentrate on finishing my thesis), but I truly felt that this information is so germane to the MA, MS, PhD, etc. journey and I’m getting an education from the material! So strange.  (It’s a product documentation manual)! Somewhat of a hard link to “sit on” if it will help anyone.  But I’ve done well and “sat on” many others, such as this one http://thesiswhisperer.com/2013/11/0…hd-research-2/   The author has some downloads at her own web site that are PHENOMENAL, though. (Really. 🙂 )

Do you have insightful resources to share about self leadership, how to operate to get things done, etc.?
Alright! Blessings, all. Be encouraged, journeyers (smile). Back to hiatus I go. 
Mickey

The Hacked Role of Idea Mason’s “Material” and “Reminder” Items in My Workflow (and a Shout-out to Google Chrome’s MindMup)

Greetings!

For my next post, I’m going to share how I do  a technique I came up with which I all S.M.A.R.T. pomodoro tomatoes (the word “S.M.A.R.T.” in that sentence takes you to one link, and the word “pomodoro” takes you to another link). This technique I’ve come up with is for fostering writing affinity, or developing what Bolker calls writing addiction.

For now, I’m inspired to post about how I’m writing right now. I’m methodical so it’s not super fast for me, but it’s going just fine. I am looking forward to speeding up with all this in the future simply as a by-product from having more experience. I will likely always take a fair amount of time. I write just like Monica Lee says she writes (I feel SO affirmed) in her chapter “Finding Voice: Appreciating Audience” (see Rocco, T. S., & Hatcher, T. (2011). The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing. John Wiley & Sons).

Overall I’m a happy camper. I’ve grown and learned much beyond where I began. I can write and actually understand that I can. Good deal. 🙂

The Reason for the Post: Sharing Three Critical Resources That Have Come to Be THE Difference-Makers for Enabling Me to Write

I was writing today using my resources and realized: “Where would I be without THESE?!??” I mean, nothing’s really a necessity, and even if I only had a typewriter, I’d be pecking away! LOL! But, I do need to document these resources for my future self.

I share about them below.

Of course, your mileage may vary. Especially regarding the last resource, which works wondrously awesomely for me because I can only get out drafts by turning not-so-great drafts into better drafts pretty methodically and visually.

Two of the three resources below I found on my own. One I discovered at PhinisheD.org. Two are pretty normal. One is not-so-normal, and I have completely hacked it!  It’s also slightly quirky, but pays me back over and over for any and all quirks.  Feel free to post a question in the comments or email me if you are testing it out and have questions about how I get the most out of it.

This tool is all about facilitating good WRITING. It is not for final publishing, IMHO (too many little formatting issues and not the best citation method for ME, but other “fans” don’t complain of these). Depending on what you write in your various “text containers,” you can send sentences, paragraphs, sections, chapters, etc. ONE AT A TIME or the whole draft to an open MS Word file. Then you can format (e.g. change straight quotes to curly quotes with a find all and replace all –ugh!) and do dynamic citation via, say, the Citavi Add-in if added to MS Word (that way the reference list gets built automatically). That’s what I do. If you want to try it but are on a Mac, you could but would need to run something like Windows Parallel.

Resource #1: The Single Method of Note-taking and Writing for a Dissertation as detailed here. PRICELESS! I would not finish without it. Many at PhinisheD benefit from it. If you read the reviews . . .

Resource #2: The Handbook of Scholarly Writing and Publishing. Wow. Can’t say anything more because I wouldn’t even know where to begin. (And that’s saying a lot! )

Resource #3 (see image and videos below) is my life saver. Despite the straight quotes thing.  (And dashes. That’s the last thing: Why don’t long DASHES export to MS Word? ). But genuinely, it would take me hours to explain all that it permits for me because of the way I use it.

If it didn’t exist, I’d still finish. But I write 1,012% better with this resource than in Scrivener or MS Word because of what writing is like for me and how writing works and goes for me.

The main, MAIN thing is that this resource allows me to very SEAMLESSLY blend the Single Method of academic reading, note-taking, and writing; the advice in the Carlis “one-draft dissertation” document (ignore the title if you like because beyond it all of the advice therein is just so illuminating for newbies); and Dr. Murray’s snack-writing method as I discussed elsewhere at this blog (feel free to use the search box to learn about it).

Below are a picture and links to videos I made (old videos, now, that don’t show my now-learned hacks but still explain the resource).

Note: The red arrow in the picture points to a tool you have called “Reminders.” Of course I’ve completely hacked and repurposed this tool. 🙂 It’s resizable, it floats with you wherever you go on your computer or the Internet, etc, and you can give it a title. You can open up multiple ones, drag and drop them onto your outliner in the program.

I write my paragraph’s or section’s Focus Statement in one, and let it hover over my drafting as I draft. You can paste and resize images in it (and that is a hack move so it takes a special move to do). Then you can hover the image over your draft as you write about it. One time I opened up two “Reminders” (I call them “sticky notes”), sized them both to half the size of my computer screen, placed them side by side, and placed draft #1 inside one and draft #2 inside the other and compared . . . copying and pasting, transferring headings . . . numbering sentences and paragraphs in order to ORDER things . . . comparing the before-and-after of how the draft read after moving one paragraph . . . etc.

Creating a reverse outline of a draft is super easy: Open a new file, paste your composition in a “text container.” View it. And start building the outliner, which sits to the left of all drafts. Unlike in Scrivener (which is great, too), adding an item to the outline doesn’t necessitate creation of a new, placeholder text file. You can make it so if you want to per outline component or not. You choose PER outline item.

I explain more in the caption to the image below.

NOTE: To enlarge the image for better viewing, please click the image. It will open in a new browser tab.

I set my writing containers to display three windows side-by-side. First I create the writing PLAN in window #2. Then I think about what to cite and what tables, figures, and appendices to use to support parts of the writing I've planned. Finally, I draft in window #1. You can click and send the main text window to MS Word.

NOTE: I’ve totally repurposed “Materials” in Idea Mason. In Idea Mason, you can create different “Materials” (for building draft content) and configure them however you like. I decided to take a blank container type, call its type “(sub)section,” and save the configuration of it to display three windows side-by-side. Every time I create a new (sub)section type of material, it opens up with this layout. Meaning, the comment and footnote are tabbed documents drug to the top. I don’t use these windows for comments or footnotes. Not at all. 🙂 To do good writing with this setup: First I create the writing PLAN in the middle window. Next I think about who to cite to support my intended writing and what tables, figures, and appendices to use to support the parts of the writing I’ve planned. I type that up in the right-most window. Finally, I draft in the left-most window, copying quotes and paraphrases from Citavi because the citation info comes along. Of course I draft referring constantly to the middle and last windows. You can click and send to MS Word whatever you like (the content of each of the windows, one window, or two of the windows).

Here is a link to a post containing my series of short videos about the tool: http://theblossomingfledglingresearc…tware-program/

NOTE: Video #5 (3 minutes in length) is no longer an issue. The developers responded immediately and remedied it. They are very responsive.

You can check out reviews here and otherwise learn more at other pages of its website.

Other actions in my workflow include mind mapping in Google’s MindMup because it’s kind of fun. (I create a child node first to anchor/build everything off of because it then “organizes” better, and then mind map AWAY!) You can drag the canvas, open and close nodes for clarity, export to FreeMind (*.mm), which I do and open in Docear so I can toggle back and forth between the concept map, branching layout and the vertical outline format. You can export your MindMup to a vertical hierarchical format (MS Word, HTML, etc.). NOTE: You can drag the canvas in Docear, too, highlight nodes to size their width, open and close nodes to put away details, etc. You can export both the MindMup or the Docear mind map to Ms Word. (NOTE: The Docear mind map in MS Word opens in Web Layout View so you have to select Print Layout view to “get back to normal.”)

So what are your favorite strategies and what tools enable them? I’d love to hear your experiences. Learning how you write and why and finding ways to do it well are victories indeed. 🙂

As always, take care, and happy writing! 

A Probable Academic Writing Workflow, Given What’s Available as of January 10, 2014

PDF: A Probable Academic Writing Workflow, Given What’s Available as of April 16, 2014

Two to three years ago I was exploring academic writing software such as Qiqqa and Docear. Since then, their developers have made impressive improvements and additions to them, and there’s been a FLOOD of new academic software into the mix. I’ve somewhat had my nose to the grindstone and have missed some of the new software, such as PaperPile. In light of these recent changes, I have decided to maintain a record of my latest estimation of the best personal academic writing workflow that would work for me. This doesn’t mean I’m going to make tweaks now: I’m submitting soon and want to focus there. As has been said by many folks, everyone’s BEST academic writing workflow will necessarily be very individual, to accommodate preferences and needs. For instance, I can’t handle wondering about whether everything that was supposed to be cited has a citation, and whether every citation has an entry in my works cited. Therefore I don’t anticipate removing Citavi from my workflow ANY time soon. Citavi gives me great clarity and confidence in that area. Others trial Citavi and am glad I like it but keep EndNote (or their reference manager of choice). But ask them to let go off Scrivener, and you might have a fight on your hands!

The Process of My Decision Making

Instead of aiming to have the lowest possible number of apps in my workflow, I aimed for

  • Sustainability: Will this product remain available for a while and are any costs affordable?
  • Program and work data stability and data protection
  • Psychology and nature of academic writing
  • And utility: Is what I do or make with this program actually important for my writing? After controlling for sustainability and stability factors, does this program do/enable this thing I need in the way best for me? And . . . OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE: Can I move or use what I produce or do in this program out to the next place it needs to be to ultimately result in finished, not-too-hard-to-then-format, sharable writing?

In the end, there’s much overlap among the programs I included (every developer is trying to be comprehensive), not every program is “perfect” (whatever that means!), but what each program does well can be accomplished with no other software (or not well) and helps me finish up writing.

A key take-away I had from completing this exercise was to understand the overlap among academic programs I use and to NOT do double work: Choose which program does the overlapped task best, and work efficiently by using THAT program ONLY for the task.

Here are my preliminary thoughts, then, captured on a PDF and prioritizing what might enable me to write best and most “safely.” Please click on the following link to enlarge the PDF (which contains hyperlinks to the software mentioned in the workflow diagram). The “scary” thought I’m having right now is that if Qiqqa developers were to add the functions of outlining, quote-attaching to outlines, and citation-attaching to quotes, I’d be all messed up! (What to do then, what to do then, what to do, then!) It’s crazy. That’s why I’m taking a step back and just writing down my thoughts on tweaks and keeping with what I’ve got that’s working for me. PDF: A Probable Academic Writing Workflow, Given What’s Available as of January 10, 2014 UPDATE: Now that I’m sitting down to draft, I’m remembering Idea Mason as an amazing outline, sketch-write, and zeroeth draft environment. I have to add it to the mix!: PDF: A Probable Academic Writing Workflow, Given What’s Available as of April 16, 2014

Closing

There’s just too much out there now! I feel it’s good and it’s not. On the one hand, you can spend a lot of time doing work and putting resources into a program that makes it hard to then use the work and resources.So you’d better trial software and plan and choose carefully. On the other hand, there can be no end to exploring these apps and thinking through workflow. Rule I’m imposing on myself: If the workflow you’ve got is working, there needs to be a mighty good reason to make tweaks. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. How often do you tweak your workflow? What would you hate to do without in your workflow? Is there too much of all this “stuff” out there now, such that it’s getting confusing? Or is all this influx of choice good? Click the bubble to comment! 🙂 Take care! Mickey

[Video] Easier Writing in Gingko App, the Most FLUID Writing Environment Imaginable

Greetings!

It’s been a long while since I’ve been able to post. My thesis deadline is fast looming, and so this will likely be my last post until I finish my thesis and finish presenting in Spring of 2014.

I’m going on hiatus with a bang, though: Below is a very quickly-made video of how I’m using Gingko App (you’ve GOT to see it) to do the Single Method of Academic Writing, which Dr. Single outlines in her book “Demystifying Dissertation Writing.” Her method is a game changer. You want to know about the method. 🙂 Gingko App makes it SUPER FLUID. But, even if you don’t use her method, Gingko App is still just an amazingly fluid writing environment.

ASIDE: One thing I left out of the video is how easy it is to create the quotes in Citavi by just highlighting the quote in the PDF preview displayed in Citavi, and then pasting the quote into a Citavi quote bubble. This makes quote-gathering a BREEZE!

Well, I hope you enjoy the video. (Click on the little square in the lower-right corner of the YouTube video to expand it fully to a large view.) Please feel free to post comments and/or questions. Take care, and as always, happy writing!

[Videos and Links] Prepping for Academic Writing Month. It Starts Today!

Academic Writing Month Is Here!

Greetings!

For the past week or so I’ve been prepping to participate in AcWriMo, or Academic Writing Month. I revised my outline, gathered my materials, re-examined my writing process, and made some revisions.

I’m using Write or Die to create writing challenges for myself, and I’m using James Hayton’s Three Month Thesis blog as my academic writing coach. Other writing helps include those found at Duke’s Writing Center web page: http://twp.duke.edu/writing-studio/resources/academic-writing/drafting. NOTE: The two links under “Paragraphs and Transitions” are particularly useful.

Below are two videos documenting some of that process. The first video shares my streamlined computer folder/file structure. And the second video shares the amazingness of Citavi: How it can reside within MS Word to make citation and bibliography-building a cinch, and how it is best friends with Adobe and web browsers. This is especially useful with Google Scholar. NOTE: Mac users can run Citavi via Windows parallel.

Enjoy the videos, and many vibes for your current endeavors!

Blessings!

 

 

An Alternative to EDrawMax: Lucid Chart (a Google App)


Hi, all. I hope this post finds you well.

I’ve been using EDrawMax to make some of the images I need for my thesis paper. EDrawMax is expensive!!!

Here is a NIFTY alternative. There is a free version, and then different versions with increased functionalities for different monthly rates. It’s called Lucid Chart and it is a Google App.

There is also an educational version of Lucid Chart. I am not sure of the difference, but I believe that if you sign up with a legitimate school email, then perhaps you get more of the functionalities for free. Teachers use this app to assign flowchart and diagram and mind map -making to their students. NOTE: You cannot use both the generic and the educational version with the one, same gmail account. Just FYI.

Here is the url to the generic one:
https://www.lucidchart.com/

Blessings, all, and vibes for your current endeavors. 

Yours,
Mickey
P.S. From last month, the pomodoro utility Orkanizer, available at http://orkanizer.com/, was a hit! A good handful of people let me know.  !Maravilloso!

Beta Release of Scapple for Windows

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So, Literature and Latte have recently released a beta version of Scapple for Windows (not Scrapple, but Scapple :)). (They had already released a Mac version.) I gave it a whirl this weekend. It’s similar to mindmapping, but freer. Here is … Continue reading