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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Archive your receipts and account info with PDFs

Mac OSX bases much of its interface on Adobe’s PDF format and opportunities to use and make PDF files are ubiquitous.

My favorite PDF trick helps me create an archived digital receipt every time I make a purchase online.

  1. Create a folder in “~/Documents/” called “Receipts”
  2. When you reach a page that presents a receipt, account information, or other stuff you want to capture for future reference, Select “File > Print…”
  3. Click the “Save as PDF…” button
  4. In the dialog box, surf to the “Receipts” folder you made earlier
  5. Name the file something meaningful to you
  6. Click “Save”

You now have a single location for all your receipts and account info . If you’re really cool, you might want to create sub-directories for each type of item (“Receipts,” “Accounts,” “MySQL Setups,” “Affiliate Reports,” etc.

Brendon's picture

In answer to Len's question...

In answer to Len's question about searching as HTML, I think that when Safari prints a document to PDF, if also encodes the text into the file. I "print" from Safari directly into DEVONThink, and they show up as PDF+Text. So, I can search from there.

I import my scanned receipts into DEVONThink, and will often throw keywords in the comments field to aid searching. For example, if there is a receipt for a big ticket item that would warrant serious tracking (think, there is a new desktop computer on there) then I throw a keyword in the comments field.

When Tiger comes out, I'll probably evaluate if it's worth ditching DEVONThink in favor of spotlight for receipt tracking. It might just require a bit of magic to take the comments from DT and implement them as keywords in the PDF. I'll still use DT, Safari, and PDFs for archiving interesting articles however. It's "see also" functionality is quite useful.




An Oblique Strategy:
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