How to use import folders to import PDF's

Operating system


Joplin version


Desktop version info

Joplin 2.12.19 (prod, win32)

Client ID: b230bbd7d8fe4d7fb5771ceed9b6c561
Sync Version: 3
Profile Version: 43
Keychain Supported: Yes

Revision: 7081046

OCR: 0.3.2

What issue do you have?

New user to Joplin, (hopefully) migrating from Evernote. I want to scan PDF's into a folder and have them automatically import into Joplin (just as I did in Evernote). So I go to File>Import>MD - Markdown (Directory) and select my folder (which has the PDF files I want to import in it) but they are not visible to Joplin. What am I doing wrong? Thank you for any suggestions!

@southofmotown welcome to the forum.

That's because the importer is expecting Markdown (.md) files, not PDFs.

There is a plugin called Hotfolder that lets you select a folder on your system to be an import source for Joplin. Any file you put in that folder will be turned into a note and then the source file is, I believe, deleted. Files will be created as attachments to separate Joplin notes unless they are txt or md files, in which case those files will be used to create the actual text of a note.

If you want to see the complete collection of Joplin plugins visit Joplin Plugins

1 Like

Ok thanks for the info! I will try that out!

Great plugin, and yes the files are deleted having been imported into new notes, so care must be taken, @southofmotown, that you copy there if for some reason you wish to retain the original/s.

Although I suppose the content should then be in Joplin and can be exported if needed. ¯_(ツ)_/¯


If you do want to scan directly into the "hot folder" (and so the only copy of the scan is in Joplin) also consider the Simple Backup plugin. This can be set to automatically keep multiple backup archives of all your note data and attachments at regular intervals.

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You wouldn't use both, right? Which one do you prefer?

Yes, use both. They do two different things.

Hot Folder lets you turn files into notes just by putting them in a nominated folder,

Simple Backup makes sure all that work you have done turning your files into notes is safely backed up (along with all your other notes).


Okay thanks! I'll try it out too. Now, and maybe I'll have to start a new thread for this but, is there a way to search my entire notebook (of mostly imported PDF files) using OCR? I installed a plugin and set the language to English, but nothing comes up when I try to search. So it doesn't seem to work (at least in the way I would like it).

If the PDFs are text for the most part, then this plugin may be of interest, the Resource Search Plugin.

It doesn't OCR anything, but can accesses text within PDFs, thus making them searchable. However, it will not scan text from images.It might be a partial solution.

There are a couple of other plugins that may be of interest; if you go to Joplin Tools > Options > Plugins and type OCR in the search box you'll find them.


Thank you!

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