From PDF to Evernote

In my presentation entitled “Evernote for Genealogists” given at the Seattle Genealogical Society last Saturday (10/6/2012), I demonstrated some ways in which genealogists can use Evernote to record their research as it unfolds. Even though I had 90-minutes and a three-page syllabus, it still wasn’t enough time or space to delve into some of the details. Since I find Evernote to be an indispensable tool, I have decided to use this blog to share the occasional tip for genealogists (or any researcher, really) wanting to incorporate Evernote into his or her digital research process. In this example, I will use the NGS Magazine to illustrate this useful application.

One of the benefits of membership in the National Genealogical Society (NGS) is a subscription to NGS Magazine, a quarterly publication filled with useful articles for genealogists. Members are able to access PDF copies of the magazine by logging into the “Members Only” section of the website. You could download and store the entire issue in Evernote, but that would take up unnecessary space, and invariably include material like advertising that you may not wish to archive.

Today’s Evernote tip is how to extract a few pages from a larger PDF file using Adobe Acrobat and save those pages in Evernote for later reference. There are several different ways to accomplish this task that come readily to mind. I will share one method here. In my example, I am using an older version of Adobe Acrobat Standard (version 6.0 for Windows) and the free Evernote desktop client version 4.5.8.

  1. Download the complete PDF file to your computer.
  2. Open the downloaded file in Adobe Acrobat (not the free Adobe Acrobat Reader – there is a difference).
  3. Click the Pages tab on the left side of the window to expose thumbnail images of the pages within the file.

    Adober Acrobat | Pages tab

  4. Click the first page you want to extract, then press and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard. Click the other three pages (then let go). You should see blue borders around the four thumbnail images indicating your selection.

  5. Right-click and select Extract Pages.Acrobat | Extract pages
  6. Press OK to confirm your selection in the Extract Pages dialog box.
  7. Save your extracted pages somewhere you can find later by going to File > Save As on the Adobe Acrobat menu. Browse to the location you want to save to, rename the file if you like, and click Save.
  8. In Evernote, click New Note.Evernote | Toolbar showing new note
  9. Right-click in the newly created blank note and click Attach File.Evernote | Attach Files
  10. Browse to the location you saved the file to in step 7, then click Open. Your extracted PDF article will appear in Evernote as a new note!

Evernote | Extracted pages from fileExtracted PDF article attached as a note in Evernote.1 The article text and a portion of the photograph have been deliberately blurred since I do not have permission to republish the article. The attached article in Evernote is for my own personal research.

The photograph used by the author in the above article is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs housed at the Library of Congress. See a close-up of the image here:

1 The article of interest was authored by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens, “Compiled Military Service Records, Part III: The record of events,” NGS Magazine, September 2012, 28-31; downloaded from the National Genealogical Society website ( : 07 October 2012.

[Post edited 2 Jan 2018]