Evernote® is a very useful note-taking app with many applications that automatically saves to the cloud and syncs to all your desktop and mobile devices. You may create an unlimited number of notes in an unlimited number of notebooks. Evernote will install on your PC or Mac, Apple iPad or iPhone, Android or Blackberry devices or may be used as a web-based app using your internet browser. Free and paid accounts are available. A free account is ample for basic note-taking.
When I bought my first iPad, I found Evernote on the App Store during a search for a good note-taking app. At the time I just wanted somewhere to store ideas and notes from meetings. I used Evernote for a short while then went on to try other apps to find out which was best. Time and again, I came back to Evernote as I find it meets my needs. I’m not saying it’s perfect – it’s not. There are some improvements that could be made e.g. using tables in notes is very, very basic.
My Top 10 Uses for Evernote
1. Client meetings
Make quick notes during any meeting either typed or, if using the Evernote companion Penultimate, handwritten notes. You may also record audio of the meeting directly into the app.
2. Managing Accounts
To clarify, Evernote is not an accounts manager. However, I use it to attach PDF copies to notes. Every invoice and receipt is scanned and uploaded to my Invoices and Accounts notebook as individual notes. I do this for both business and personal purchases. You can take a photo of the document with the camera feature on your mobile (cell) phone or using a document scanner. You can attach the documents as images or convert to PDF using a third-party app such as the free open source CutePDF.
This article was written in Evernote before being published. The simple, user-friendly interface helps create a distraction-free writing environment. Any note can be opened full screen on your iPad or iPhone (probably on other mobile devices too but I don’t own any of those!) leaving you with a blank space and keyboard to compose any piece of text. Whether writing blog posts or letters, composing a novel or generally taking notes for classes or meetings, Evernote does everything you need.
4. Evernote Web Clipper
Evernote also has the Evernote Web Clipper available as an add-on or extension for all major desktop web browsers. This is ideal for cutting out all the extraneous adverts, banners and images from a blog post when you want to save the text as part of your research. The Web Clipper saves your clipping as a note directly into your Evernote account saving you time and allowing you to read the blog post later distraction-free.
The Evernote Web Clipper is not available for iOS Safari, however there are a number of third-party apps available for use with mobile devices similar to that used by the Pocket app which I also use.
5. Export email into note
Ever get an email you want to save in a secure place? With Evernote you can make any email into a note. Simply forward the email to your own Evernote email address, provided free-of-charge with every account, and add the email note into whichever notebook you wish. I find it useful to create a default notebook entitled _INBOX to which every note created from an email or other source is sent allowing me to easily find and re-organize as I wish.
6. To do lists
If you are like me and make lists for everything, the checkbox feature will be invaluable. Create ‘to do’ lists, packing lists, planning lists, anything at all where you want to check off completed items. Any time I have a new idea for an article I add it to my Blog Ideas note along with a checkbox that is checked once I have written that article.
7. Reminders and tags
I haven’t used the reminder feature very much but you can set a reminder for any note. As well as an in-app notification you can opt to receive email reminders too. Ideal for reminding you when to pay an invoice, the bills or read the electricity meter.
Adding tags to notes make it very easy to search through your notes especially when you have got hundreds of notes in several notebooks. When purchasing gifts for family members I scan or email the receipt into Evernote and add the name of the person to whom I am giving the gift as a tag. I can then search for everything I have bought that person by tag to see everything in one place instantly.
8. Business cards
For premium users, you can take a photograph of business cards and Evernote will convert them into a contact note. Evernote reads the text on the business card and extracts it into the note. It also adds the image of the business card at the bottom of the note.
TOP TIP: When photographing business cards, place light-colored cards on a dark background and dark-colored cards on light backgrounds. This allows the text reader engine to ‘see’ the text on the business card more clearly.
9. Post-It® Notes
I find Post-It® Notes very useful when jotting down information from phone calls or quick notes on a project I am working on. If you are not careful you reach critical mass and end up looking a little like Jim Carrey in the prayers scene in the movie, Bruce Almighty. Fortunately, Evernote has a Post-It® Note camera mode where you take a quick photo of your Post-It® Note scribbles and add it directly to your Evernote notebook adding tags and a reminder as required.
10. Paper-free office
By combining all the uses of Evernote mentioned above, you are truly working towards having a paperless office. Gone are the Post-It Notes stuck to your monitor, invoices and delivery notes cluttering your desk, and all those scraps of note paper with illegible scrawl hiding under the keyboard or mousemat. Carry around twenty or more notebooks with hundreds or thousands of notes all in your pocket.
I have tried more note-taking apps than I can remember and every time I come back to Evernote as it does everything I need. The Evernote team are constantly working to improve their product and I for one look forward to what comes next.
Evernote has also produced a number of complementary apps aimed at improving your experience. Some are more useful than others depending upon what you need:
I find Penultimate for freehand writing/drawing and Skitch for annotating images the most useful of these apps. If you want to save or check out new recipes Evernote Food is great. Hello is a business app designed to help networking but I haven’t used it yet. Peek is for use with the official Apple folding cover for the iPad allowing you to Peek under the cover for information during meetings or, nefariously, in tests and exams.
Third Party Apps
Quite a number of third party apps are available, particularly on the Apple App Store. I use Journal for Evernote and I am looking at several web clipping apps as an official Evernote Web Clipper is not available for iOS. Merging notes is missing from the functionality of the iOS version of Evernote but again, there’s an app for that too.
Create an account
If you want to create a free account or download Evernote, head over to www.evernote.com and discover what Evernote can do for you. Premium Evernote accounts cost £35 / $45 per year (or £4 / $5 per month) giving you 1GB usage per month (a free account gives you 60MB per month) and a few extra features. Evernote also offer a business account option giving you up to 2GB upload allowance each month for £8 / $10 per user per month.
TOP TIP: If you are in the UK and you are an O2 customer you can get one year of Evernote Premium for FREE (offer is only available from 24th October 2013 until 24th October 2014).
Share your thoughts
Do you use Evernote? What do you use it for? Share your thoughts below. You may use Evernote for something I haven’t though of and might find really useful. I look forward to hearing from you.