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Uses for Evernote

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.

Basic Structure

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.

Stack

-Notebook

–Note

–Note

-Notebook B

–Note

–Note

–Note

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.

tags and notes evernote

 

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.

web clipper

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.

Screenshot 2014-08-23 18.14.01
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. 

 

evernote list

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.

Reminder

 

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:

review requests

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.

6) Sharing

Evernote allows you to email notes, share notebooks, and send links to individuals from within the Evernote application.

7) Emailing

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.

Advanced 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.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

20 Comments

  1. Heather
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 09:00:45

    The big bonus of webclipper is that it actually copies the content, so you have the note even if the page is removed.

    You get the mail address even with the free version, but you are limited to 25 emails/day I believe. I have a rules in gmail to forward recurring receipts to an Evernote folder & mark them read.

    The OCR feature in the photo notes works pretty well, though you have to give it time to sync with the mothership. It makes it really easy to figure out when you replaced that transmission, if you end up arguing warranty. I also do this with my go to recipes from paper cookbooks to make them searchable.

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  2. Sunita
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 09:09:57

    Great post, Jane. I don’t use the premium version but even with the free one I know I don’t take advantage of everything it offers. It took me a while to find uses for it that worked for me, but now I find it indispensable. I use it to save articles and posts to separate folders for teaching, research, blogging, and “reader later.” And I have a recipe file.

    I also have a shared file for a teaching and research project on privacy; I set it up when I first developed the course, and then when my husband taught the course the next time it was offered, I shared the file with him and now we both add to it. I’ve also encouraged my students to use it, and in one course where they have to keep an internet log and can do a multi-media report as their main project, some have submitted the work that way. Because it’s free and cross-platform I don’t feel bad about encouraging them to use it.

    I know people who are scanning and copying their paper files into Evernote as well. There is a Fujitsu-Evernote scanner (not cheap) that will convert and file your written materials. I haven’t taken that plunge yet, but getting rid of one or two huge file cabinets in my office is awfully tempting.

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  3. Andrea T
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 09:52:32

    Oh wow! I guess I will give Evernote another try. Thanks!

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  4. cayenne
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 10:40:40

    This sounds really cool – thank you very much for the info. I’ve been one of the last Blackberry hold-outs because a) I love the keyboard, and b) my notes are in it and I’d have to copy them, so I’ve been resisting out of utter laziness. But the time is coming soon when I’ll have to get rid of the BB, so I really need to take steps to preserve the note info, and this sounds perfect. I have an Android tablet and a Windows laptop, so I should probably set Evernote up on those now, and then when I get the new phone, I’ll just sync it to get the notes there.

    I have a feeling the first note I’ll make is to clip this post :)

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  5. Sandal
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 11:30:31

    Just call me you ally clueless, but I am not seeing webclipper in Evernote. Can you get it for the iPad.

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  6. Lynn M
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 12:10:34

    Would Evernote work as an inventory tool? I use an app to keep an inventory of all of my books however, the app – BooksApp 2.0 Pro – doesn’t seen to be receiving any support or has gone defunct. I live in fear that one day I will no longer be able to use it and will lose all of the data stored in it. This app is hugely useful to me because I can check to see if I already have book before I buy a duplicate copy, keep track of ratings, TBR lists, etc. I would love to migrate it over to Evernote but don’t know if EN has the capability of managing such an inventory.

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  7. Jane
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 12:12:57

    @Sandal: There is no webclipper for iPad. My suggestion is to email your Evernote email address the webpage. Simplest way to “webclip” from the iPad/iPhone. some say this functionality is coming with iOS 8.

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  8. Jane
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 12:15:43

    @Lynn M: Can you export a CSV file? There’s a script that converts a CSV file to EN

    https://drive.google.com/folderview?ddrp=1&id=0B6RcZCcts8ceYWY4NTMzZjYtMmI2ZS00NmJiLWE5NTAtOGMyMGVmY2RhYmRi#

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  9. library addict
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 13:06:56

    I have Evernote and love the limited things I’ve been doing with it, but this post has made me realize I need to use it more. Thanks.

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  10. Lynn M
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 15:56:40

    @Jane: Wow – this would be fantastic. The BooksApp allows you to save your library, which I’m sure I could find a way to convert to a CVS file. I’ll play around with it and report back.

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  11. MaryK
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 15:58:17

    Wow, I use Evernote all the time but I didn’t know it had so many features. I’ll have to check out the list function. I just use it to save things I’ll want to look at later like recipes or book recommendations. It’s really helpful for recipes because I can pull them up in the grocery store to see what ingredients I need to get.

    Here are instructions for rigging webclipper into an iOS devices. It worked for me.
    http://lorenzocaum.com/blog/how-to-install-evernote-web-clipper-on-the-iphone-and-the-ipad/

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  12. Evangeline Holland
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 17:09:13

    I resisted Evernote because I loved Catch. I broke down and downloaded the app after my Kindle crashed and the reboot deleted all of my Catch notes (which I was still using despite the company going belly up a year ago). !!! I’m still not entirely sold on the app because it’s too busy, but it is easy to use across platforms. And its popularity means I won’t lose my stuff.

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  13. Erin Satie
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 17:42:35

    Huge, huge fan of Evernote.

    I also use it primarily for recipes. Not just for recipes that I find online–I also copy out recipes in dead tree cookbooks, then sort them all in different notebooks: “Favorites” “Would Make Again” “Never Tried” & also “This Week”, so can queue them up & look at the ingredient list while I’m grocery shopping.

    (Sometimes, if I’m lazy, I just take a picture of the cookbook page)

    I also tend to add photos of the dish after I’ve cooked it, so I know what it looks like when *I* do it instead of a team of food artists.

    I also use it to consolidate stray thoughts about plotting. I’m sure every writer comes up with their own system–I just have a file that tends to stick towards the top of my recent notes & if I get any ideas, I’ll type them up to consult later.

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  14. Maite
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 18:34:06

    Downloading it. I think I’ll be hooked by next week.

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  15. Statch
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 21:00:26

    This sounds like it has so many useful applications for me! I’m excited about exploring it further, particularly for recipes. Thanks so much!

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  16. Cofa
    Aug 25, 2014 @ 06:35:06

    If you want to clip web pages directly to Evernote on an iPad then you can use the Dolphin web browser. Not sure if it was created by the Evernote team but it has the same green shade icon.

    Also, for Premium users (recently took that plunge myself after using Evernote for a year), there is two-factor authentication, which Adds another level of security to Evernote.

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  17. Statch
    Aug 25, 2014 @ 08:12:52

    Just used the webclipper feature for some recipes. Fabulous.

    ReplyReply

  18. HJ
    Sep 13, 2014 @ 15:58:53

    I think from what you’ve said about tagging that I know the answer to this: can one word search the notes to find them? (I don’t expect to be able to do this for web clipped pages.) I ask because I’ve been using a great notebook app which synchronises between my Mac and my iPhone, and I find notes by searching for words I know will be in them. I love the app but am worried because I’ve just created my 500th note! I’m not sure of its capacity so am looking for somewhere to save them all and maybe use instead going forward.

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  19. Jane
    Sep 13, 2014 @ 16:17:17

    @HJ: Yes, it allows for a full text search of all the notes, not just the tags.

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  20. HJ
    Sep 14, 2014 @ 10:44:06

    @Jane: Excellent! I thought it did not, given the emphasis on tagging.

    ReplyReply

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