Emacs assisted PDF document filing
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MELPA Build Status

Paperless - Emacs assisted PDF document filing

You've just scanned a stack of papers that have been cluttering up your desk. Now what? Paperless mode is an Emacs major mode designed to assist with the filing of scanned documents into a hierarchy of folders.

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Paperless mode provides PDF document previews, ido-based target directory completion, and simple batch filing commands designed to simplify and speed the filing of all of your scanned documents.

Here's how it works...

Step 1

Scan your documents and dump them into a holding directory. Set the variable paperless-capture-directory to reference this directory. Use M-x customize-variable to set this string.

Step 2

Tell paperless-mode where to file the documents by setting paperless-root-directory with M-x customize-variable, or you can set both variables in your ~/.emacs/init.el like so:

 '(paperless-capture-directory "/home/green/CAPTURE")
 '(paperless-root-directory "/home/green/Documents"))

Under paperless-root-directory, create a hierarchy of directories that makes sense for you. For example, you might create directories to sort documents like so:


At the time of this writing, the author's directory tree contains over 620 folders.

Step 3

Once loaded, start paperless with M-x paperless and you'll be presented with the list of PDF files in paperless-capture-directory. Use the [SPC] key to open PDF preview buffers. The -, +, = and 0 keys will adjust the scale of the preview, just as they do in DocView or PDFView mode. Use the r key to rename the file. If you omit a filename extention, paperless will append ".pdf" to your new filename. Use the f key to select the destination directory. Files aren't renamed or moved until you select the x key.


Paperless requires Emacs 24.4, and is available in the MELPA package repository.

To install from source, simply download this package to your local filesystem, and add something like the following to your ~/.emacs/init.el:

(autoload 'paperless "paperless" "A major mode for filing PDFs" t)
(add-to-list 'load-path
         (expand-file-name "/home/green/git/paperless/"))

Don't forget to set paperless-capture-directory and paperless-root-directory as per above.

Paperless requires DocView mode, which currently ships with GNU Emacs, however it will always prefer to use PDF Tools if you have that installed.


Copyright (C) 2016 by Anthony Green

Paperless is provided under the terms of the 3-clause BSD license. See paperless.el for details.