My first thought when I heard about Evernote was, “oh, a note taking app. I’m not in school taking classes. Why the heck would I need something like that?” I was completely wrong. I had a complete misconception on what type of notes Evernote takes. I also had a complete misconception on Evernote’s use. If you have never heard of this application/service I suggest reading on!
So what is Evernote, what does it do, and what is it’s use? Well, Evernote’s slogan is “Remember Everything.” Really, that about sums up the whole idea of the all the products in the suite. The main use of Evernote is to take pieces of information, stuff you’d write on a sticky note, jot down on the back of your hand, or plain just try to remember in your head and put it into a service that is easily searchable.
Our goal at Evernote is to help the world remember everything, communicate effectively and get things done. From saving thoughts and ideas to preserving experiences to working efficiently with others, Evernote’s collection of apps make it easy to stay organized and productive.
An example of how I make use use of this software can be seen through how I managed gifts for my friends and family this past Christmas. In the past my wife and I have had a spreadsheet or a Word document where we would maintain what everyone had mentioned that they’d like to receive. This became a chore to update. With the advent of online document storage such as Google Docs this became a lot easier. During this past Christmas I decided that I would use Evernote’s list feature to keep track of what people mentioned and what we had purchased them.
It soon became evident that the power of Evernote was not that it was available while sitting at my desktop but I could use it wherever I was. While at the store I could instantly update my list right from my phone. I could add and subtract items when talking to friends. All this would be sync’d up and ready for me to look at when the time came to purchase gifts. Another large power was the ability for me to forward lists that my family sent me in email form right into the service. My sister sent her wishlist and I forwarded it right into Evernote. It was as easy as taking out the bullets and putting in checkboxes.
After Christmas had come and gone I realized another huge advantage. All those lists I created and curated were now still available to me to search for future ideas for gifts. While adding the lists I took time to use Evernote’s tagging feature. That allows me to pull items by topic. It is as easy as clicking the keyword “gift list” and seeing all the different lists I’ve created for people.
Searching for information is a big part of our daily lives. If it wasn’t then Google wouldn’t be nearly a household name as it is. Evernote takes searching just as serious. A big chunk of my day can be devoted to looking for a solution to some problem I’ve encountered while at work. I may run through a number of different Google searches that have had me clicking through links in forums, blog posts, etc. I’ll finally find the one page that contains my answer or a clue on how to achieve a certain result and then I find myself at a quandary. I can just leave my browser open until I think I no longer need the info. Do I bookmark this page? What happens if the hosting site goes away? There’s no why I’d want to start looking though my search and browser history trying to find that page again. Evernote comes to the rescue with a web clipper function. I click the button in my browser and it highlights the relevant parts of the page, I can then adjust what it thinks I want saved, and then I “Clip It”.
Once an item is clipped it goes right into my Evernote notebook. From then on I can tag it, put it in a more specific notebook, AND search for/on it. When you use Evernote’s search functionality it will search for keywords not only in the title of your notes but also within the actual note itself. This makes finding those key bits of information that much easier. Plus when a note is clipped in this manner the whole page is saved to your notebook. If that site dies or if the owner removes the post you’ll still have the images and text of that page!
I could go on and on about the amazing features of Evernote. Once you start using it the service will help you better organize your digital life. Their pro feature, which is the step-up paid for service on top of the free edition, allows imported PDFs to be searched. If you have a ton of reference material for work or any research at all this can make finding those hidden gems of information that much easier.
I cannot stress checking out their suite of apps. Evernote is only the beginning. They have apps to organize your recipes and beyond. Check it out: http://www.evernote.com
I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what Evernote can do. If you find any cool features that you find yourself using over and over again let me know. What I use it for is already a godsend, I’d love to be able to share anything more that is found.