There are many options available to take and manage notes in a digital format. I had used Google Notebook before Google decommissioned it. Google Drive was nice for awhile, but it was missing something when it came to notes. I used various productivity suites like Microsoft Office and Open Office, but still something was missing. I recently picked up Evernote again and started using it for everything. Evernote has a lot of features and has two options, free and premium.
Overview of features
Evernote has many different features, most of which are free. Starting with the clients; there is a web client, a desktop client, and several mobile clients. The desktop client is the most powerful of course offering a lot of tools. You can rotate images that are inside notes as well as utilize Evernote’s “Trunk”, a series of add-ons, extensions, and hardware to enhance the Evernote experience. The web client is a bit limited, but will still get the job done if you need to access your notes and you don’t have a mobile device or your computer handy.
I get the most benefit out of the mobile applications. I sync my notebooks to my iPhone and iPad for offline use. I put all my blog ideas, school info, and miscellaneous notes into Evernote from my phone or tablet. I then have all the information I need, when and where I need it. The desktop, web, and mobile applications all stay in sync with each other.
Evernote’s organization can be broken down into three parts. Most of which are quite simple if you equate the terms to a more physical sense. First you have stacks, which are collections of notebooks. For example, you can have a stack called school and fill it with notebooks for your finance notes and classes. Notes go within the notebooks of course and each note can be tagged. Example, you can have a notebook for a class and have several notes on a single topic and tag with “term paper” or “assignment.”
You can snap pictures and upload them into notes for faster data gathering and those images are then then ran through an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system, making the images searchable. Same goes for non-searchable PDFs. The Evernote screen clipper allows you to quickly grab screenshots and articles from the web and add them into notes.
All uploads are based on bandwidth, not space. So you can store and many notes as you want, but Evernote will eventually cap you after you exceed a certain amount of bandwidth.
By default, you start with a free account. You can upgrade to a premium account for either $5 per month or $45 per year ($3.75 per month). With a premium account you get:
- Priority OCR
- 1GB of bandwidth per month
- Attach any file type to a note
- Offline notebooks
- Maximum note size raised to 50MB
- PIN lock for extra security
- Ability to hide promotions (ads)
- PDF search capabilities
- Allow others to edit your notes
Use Evernote to manage tasks. It is not a task manager by definition, and there are better tools for the task, but the option is there. You can use Evernote to plan a wedding, a trip, or handle back-to-school season for the kids. There are several pages on Evernote’s website to help give ideas as to how to take full advantage of Evernote.
I also use Evernote to store sketches I create for projects around the house or things that I would like to make.
I take notes in Penultimate during all my meetings at work as well as notes while I’m learning a new technology or programming language. I can them upload them straight into Evernote and then I can search those notes while they are OCR’d. This functionality really comes in handy when drawing out diagrams and flow charts quickly.
Evernote can be used to take class notes. The clipper is a great tool to collect information into one place for projects and papers. The ability to add drawings into your Evernote notes is great for those classes where you just cannot type notes. Those types of classes where you have you draw a process out. If you do not have an iPad then you can always write your notes out onto paper and then take a picture of the sheet or scan it into Evernote to get the search benefits. They actually make paper notebooks specifically for this task.
Evernote has many uses and is a very capable service. They make it very easy to integrate it into the aspects of day to day life to make your day easier. I highly recommend the service and encourage you go try out the free account. It can’t hurt, and does not cost a thing.
Do you already use Evernote? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments below.