Last week JSON did a list of favorite apps and categorized Evernote as an app that sits there. “I know I should be using this app. But I don’t.” I used to feel that way about Evernote. I remember reading a post about Michael Hyatt’s uses and figured I should try again. Evernote is now one of my “dock” apps meaning I use it so often, I’ve placed the icon in the dock of my devices–both on my tablet and phone and I have extensions on my web browser as well. Everyone has a different system for Evernote and I can tell you that I’m only scratching the surface of its power.
The following post is just a few ways that you can use Evernote. It’s a free program and I’m not getting paid by writing this post (not even an affiliate fee). You can upgrade to the Premium version but I think it’s unnecessary. I have upgraded solely because I want Evernote to stay in business and continue to provide its services to me.
Evernote is free, cross platform compatible, instantly syncable with the cloud meaning that all your devices have all the same information without you thinking or doing anything.
The main features are it’s ability to take notes–handwritten, typed, audio, and even visual. You can save websites, images, notes, lists, and more.
The basic form of Evernote is the “note”. Everything builds off the note. Assume the note is a piece of paper. The Notebook is the folder holding all the notes of one kind together. If you have several notebooks belonging to the same subject you can place those in stacks.
You can further organize and identify your notebooks by “tags”. Tags are single words or phrases you use to identify and categorize your notes. Tags can be anything from “shopping” “blog” “review” “food” “todo” “personal”. From the list of tags you can see the corresponding notes.
1) The Web Clipper
a) Recipe organizer
I’m a big fan of Allrecipes, but I also find recipes at various sites all over the internet. Rather than keeping an extensive bookmark, I can “webclip” these recipes and create an index on Evernote. This way I can avoid constantly going to the site, signing in, and pulling up my recipe box. On nearly any website that you visit, you can “clip” the entire article (often with the images) or just a selection. As you can see by the image, the evernote view of the website is exactly the same as the allrecipes version.
Instead of keeping bookmarks, webclip the page. You can select the information you found useful and then tag it to be searched later. Even better, everything that you clip is searchable via Evernote’s search engine.
Because Evernote syncs with the cloud, every version of Evernote has the same information no matter if I am on my phone, laptop or even a friend’s PC. Evernote data is available even through a web browser.
You can tag these recipes with things like “chicken” or “dinner” or “faves” and the easily pull up an index of all the relevant items later.
If you are a heavy user of the internet, love to save things, you should be using Evernote if for nothing else but to save relevant websites. Get the webclipper for your browser to make it even easier.
b) Travel organizer
I like to do a lot of research before going on a trip and I plan our days carefully to maximize our time. The best restaurants or sites to visit? I use evernote to keep track of the restaurant websites, the address and time of the museum. Later I can go back and add in confirmation codes, if necessary.
c) Article saver
I used to use Instapaper to preserve my favorite website articles but I use Evernote now. You can take a screenshot, save a bookmark, highlight and save a selection or just save the whole article. I usually save the whole article. Again you can tag the article in whatever way you think would be helpful. And remember, the entire article is searchable.
2) The Listmaker
Evernote allows you to make checklists for anything from grocery shopping to packing lists. Evernote even allows you to search for lists with unchecked items by typing todo:false in search box. The command todo:true finds all notes with a checklist.
By combining the ToDo list maker with Reminders, you can create alerts for when tasks need to be done. Create the note/todo list and then tap the alarm click at the top. Set the reminder. Evernote will send in-app notifications, emails and a badge on the app tile to nag you into getting things done. Plus, reminders appear on the top of the notes index.
I can even make a list of books I should be reading for review along with the book files or links to where I can download the book:
3) Image saver
You can drag and drop images from your desktop into the evernote app. On the iOS devices, tap the paperclip icon and on Android devices tap the + icon and select “picture” for an existing image or “camera” to take a new photo. Evernote will also try to OCR (scan and convert images to text where it can) so that the image is searchable.
I’ve started taken photos of my receipts and keeping a record of those as well. (Evernote recommends the APP ScannerPro which is available on iOS and Android).
4) Note keeper
I’ve saved the best for last. I used to use Notes on my iPhone but when I switched from iPhone to Samsung, I was stuck with no access. That was when I started using Evernote hardcore. I had used it regularly for taking notes during my work meetings but I wasn’t using it for everyday note taking which was stupid. Now I do.
I use evernote to jot down a phone number someone gives me or I save an email with a reminder note. I keep my work research and blog research in different folders.
In Evernote, I can keep track of giveaways and corresponding winners.
I can create reviews and import screencaps of sections of the book that I think are important. From Evernote, I can then copy and paste my text into a blog editing window (or Mars Edit or other blogging software platform). Because it syncs automatically, I can start something on my desktop, pick it up on my phone, and then finish it on my iPad later in the day.
5) PDF Annotator
Evernote bought Skitch and has now implemented PDF annotations. Basically Evernote creates a PDF of your note, opens skitch and allows you to use some limited tools to markup a PDF. It then will save the PDF annotation in another note.
Evernote allows you to email notes, share notebooks, and send links to individuals from within the Evernote application.
If you are premium user, they assign you an email address and you can email yourself things like promotional emails received from publicists, arcs, giveaway notices, and more. Edit the subject line to add notebook (@), tags (#), and reminders (!).
Subject: Shannon Stacey Giveaway @blog posts #giveaway !08242014
8) Finding Stuff
The more that you use Evernote, the more stuff you’ll have and the harder it will be to find things. Evernote’s search engine is pretty powerful and here are some tips. You can limit your searches by date the note was created, location of the note’s creation (if you have location services on), tags, and type (i.e., picture, handwriting, text note). Check out the special syntax here.
- Filter out tags. Let’s say you don’t want to see anything that’s tagged “family”. Type in -tag:family
- By date: You can search by a specific date or a relative one. Specific date: created:20140822 would pull up anything created after August 22, 2014. Relative date: created:-2 would show you anything created in the last two days.
You don’t have to remember this code. Evernote has a drop down Advanced search option that helps you choose your search inputs. Then you can save your searches!
From the Evernote site itself:
- Windows: Perform your search, then click the Save Search icon (magnifying glass with + symbol on it).
- Mac: Perform your search, then select Edit > Find > Save Search.
- iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch: Perform your search, then tap the Save Search icon (magnifying glass with + symbol on it).
- Android: Perform your search, then tap Add to Home Screen.
You can also save a shortcut for saved searches such as the todo:false above. On the desktop versions, click on search bar and drag the saved search to the sidebar.
I find Evernote indispensable. I love its cross platform compatibility, the effortless sync to the cloud, and its myriad of uses.
- Templates. By editing the HTML of evernote, you can create templates for phone calls, sales calls, meetings, and so forth. Create a notebook full of templates, use the “Copy a Note” feature and proceed.
- Use with Moleskine Notebook.
- Lots of apps that I haven’t spent time with.