How to save PDF to Joplin


I'm new to Joplin, migrating from Evernote.

With Evernote, I was able to "Save PDF to Evernote" via the print dialog. This was a very convenient way to save any document as a PDF file in Evernote. It would arrive in my Evernote inbox and from there I could move it to a folder and assign a tag.

Is there some permission I can set on my Mac that will allow me to save PDFs to Joplin?

I have relied on this functionality in Evernote all the time, so I'm really hoping to be able to do this in Joplin.

Is it possible?

Joplin 1.5.14 (prod, darwin)
MacOS Big Sur version 11.1

Joplin is a react app, which uses Electron on macOS/Linux/Win and react-native on mobile.

Unless someone writes a native macOS service extension this won't be possible. Or you could ask the Electron developers to provide such a service on macOS.

Update: I always wanted something like Send to Joplin on macOS, but unfortunately that would require native code and is out of the scope for this project. Personally I am no longer interested in coding for macOS, since Apple has made it less and less fun over the past years.... But maybe somebody else wants to look into it, who knows. A lot of people in this forum came up with great solutions.

Thanks, @tessus. I appreciate your prompt reply. It's good to know about this limitation. Unfortunately it's a bit of a show-stopper for me, as I have relied heavily on the "Print to Evernote" functionality.

Very happy so far with the other features of Joplin, which seems to be fast and efficient, and I love the encryption; but I guess I'll have to keep searching for an app that better suits my needs.

What is with the Option Save as PDF and make a Hotfolder for importing to Joplin?

I think that is a great idea.

Well, you will never find a 1:1 replacement. Either way, there are workarounds. Also, do you seriously create hundreds of PDFs? Joplin is a note taking application, not a content management system. Thus using the clipper is probably the better choice. Especially if you want to search for content.

While I understand that you have a certain workflow, Joplin is not meant to be a content management system. And if people want to misuse it in such a manner, there will be drawbacks. I'm not saying that you can't do it, I'm just saying that it will lack certain features specific to content management systems.

Oops, it's way past my bedtime. Good night. :wink:

I disagree about the seperate content management system. I'm coming from evernote as well. My evernote database is my single point of access to all my personal data, including scanned documents to create a paperless office. I don't want to scatter my data in different repositories.
I use the open source NAPS2 scanner tool which can encrypt and index my PDF files. I stored them directly in evernote via a "hotfile". I'm in favor for that solution as well.

Talking about pdf, how can I make Joplin search in my indexed pdf's?

Joplin can't search in attached files.

I visited your website on GitHub. Thanks for the plug-ins!
Does the Joplin API provides some kind of "search hook method" that allows plugins to search attached files (ie is it possible to extend the search with specific plugins) ?

Apparently so is the new Evernote v10 app. Do they still support this feature? If so, perhaps some steal... er, borrowing of the code is possible? :smiley: Just thinking out loud, unfortunately I'm not a coder...

I think you misunderstood. I didn't say you should use a separate content management system. I said that Joplin isn't one.

You can't, because....

....Joplin is not a content management system.

This is precisely why I stated: And if people want to misuse it in such a manner, there will be drawbacks. will lack certain features specific to content management systems.

I'm not saying that those features will never, ever exist. I'm saying that Joplin was not designed as a content management system.

Not yet, but maybe this will be added at one point. Laurent can elaborate what the plans are for the API.

I don't know, maybe an Evernote user can answer that question.

AFAIK Evernote is closed source, thus we can't check how they implemented it. Either way, such a functionality requires some sort of native interface. If that native interface does not exist in any of the frameworks, one would have to code it themselves.

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Haha true, but that wouldn't be me. Joplin all the way baby!

All jokes aside, you can just save the PDF file to the drive and then drag it into Joplin. It really isn't more work that way, unless you have to save dozens of PDF files a day. And then I agree once again that Joplin might not be the right tool in that case, I'd probably save that amount of PDF files in a system dedicated to that sort of storage.

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Thanks for the tip re drag and drop. I've tried and it seems like the following is true - please correct me if I'm wrong:-

  • I have to create an empty new note in Joplin first

  • Then I can drag and drop a pdf into the markdown editor

  • As a result I can view the rendered markdown (the pdf) in the Note viewer

At this point, I'm a little confused.

  1. Is this a COPY of the PDF, or is it just a link to the original document on my Mac?

  2. Since I don't have synchronisation turned on yet, where are my Joplin notes stored on my Mac?

Well I'm not really an experienced user and I'm sure others will correct me if I'm wrong. But as I see it, when you drag a PDF file into Joplin it becomes an attachment within Joplin itself and you can safely delete the "original". It will be synced with all your devices through Dropbox or whatever means you have set up.

Edit: oh and I'm a Windows user. My attachments are stored in the Windows user folder, I'm sure it's similar with the Mac though!

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I still wonder what's the point of storing data if you can't retrieve it easily later on, such as attached pdf files?
Apparently, I had the false impression that Joplin was originally intended as an open source Evernote alternative. Evernote is frequently used for paperless office applications.

Nope, you can drag it into an existing note.

This depends.

A normal drag and drop will create a copy.

You will see a link that looks like [bla.pdf](:/6dd6d304afc24525aa9b65183eb58e77)

A drag and drop while pressing option will create a reference to the local filesystem.

The link will look like this: [bla.pdf](file:///Users/tessus/Downloads/bla.pdf)

P.S.: There's also a toolbar button, a menu item, and a shortcut (if you set one) to attach files.



I suppose you're describing the situation under Windows. I have just tried to drag-n-drop on Mac. With the MD editor selected, drag-n-drop doesn't work at all. In the wys editor, drag-n-drop'in a PDF does work, but pressing option (alt) does not seem to make a difference.

Hi @ajay
I've got a Mac too (MacOS Big Sur version 11.1). When I first tried to drag and drop into the MD editor, it didn't work. I had to FIRST create a new note and drag and drop into the new note, then it did work.

Hope that helps.

Hi @Nick1

Thanks for that comment. I am one of those people, using Evernote as a paperless office application. (Evernote works quite well as such for the micro business/freelancer who wants to send their business records to the cloud. Often I use my ScanSnap scanner to send my scanned PDF directly to my Evernote inbox, and from there I move it to the appropriate folder and add a tag, The paid version of Evernote is great in that it does a good job of searching the content of PDFs).

It seems that @tessus rapped my knuckles for trying to 'misuse' a note taking application as a content management system:

So I'm concluding that I can't use Joplin in this way, but I can use it purely as a note-taking application if I find another solution for going paperless.

I think this ^^^ is the statement that you should take away.

You can use it the way you do. But, if you want to - let's say search for text in the PDF - it won't work. Simply because it was not designed for this.
This doesn't mean that such a feature won't ever be implemented, but people have to be aware of those limitations. And keeping in mind that it wasn't designed as a content management system helps to understand those limitations.