The next item in my productivity series is Evernote, the notes app. You may have heard of it? I use it all the time to take notes, record technical details and write draft content. I’m drafting this blog post on it right now… It’s the one app that’s with me everywhere I go and it’s really useful if you work from several different locations.
So what’s the big deal? Why not use Word or Notepad?
Firstly, Evernote comes in several different forms:
- A web-app (running in all major web browsers)
- A desktop app (Windows and Mac)
- A smartphone app (iPhone, Android, Blackberry etc)
- A tablet app (iPad, Android etc)
Each version works well and is optimised for the host device (e.g. the iPhone version is different to the iPad’s). But here’s the thing – everything I do on one device is automatically shared, or ‘synchronised’ with the others. At this moment I’m typing on my MacBook in the office. I’ll probably make some tweaks later tonight from my Windows PC at home then re-read it later this weekend on my iPad.
If I go on holiday and leave my phone, laptop and iPad behind, I can go to an internet cafe while I’m away, log into the Evernote website and access all my notes online. OK, who am I kidding? I’ll never leave my gadgets at home! But you get the idea?
It’s got some neat features too…
Web Clipper – Save notes from a web page instantly
Evernote’s Web Clipper is a useful add-on for surfing web pages. Install it in your browser of choice (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer etc) and when you see a piece of content you want to keep, simply press the Web Clipper button. It’s a really easy way to save information for future use. I use it for online ticket purchases – once I get the confirmation page, I add it to Evernote via the web Clipper and it’s automatically saved, and importantly synched to my iPhone, so I have the details when I collect my tickets. It’s good for recipes and gym workouts too.
The Web Clipper is pretty clever at guessing what ‘tags’ to save your clips under so you can search and find them later.
Save emails to Evernote
If you want to save an email in Evernote, you can send it to a designated Evernote email address and the email will be saved in your notes. Also, if you use Outlook in Windows, you can install an add-on that does this in much the same way as Web Clipper.
As you’d expect you can import images from you computer and insert them into your notes. But, what I find really useful is that in the desktop version, you can take screenshots from within the application and paste them into your notes in one simple click. It’s really useful if you’re writing instructions on how to do something on-screen.
NB. This works best on a Mac (go to ‘Services->Capture Selection From Screen’). The Windows version isn’t quite as slick.
Search and find notes
It’s really easy to organise notes in Evernote. You can create different notebooks for different subjects and assign tags to notes. The keyword search facility works well too, so finding old notes is really fast.
Give it a try…
Evernote is free for a standard account. I have the premium version at a small fee because it allows me to use notebooks offline on my iPad (among other things). If you haven’t tried it yet, why not give it a go?
Evernote is a great app to help me stay organised and be productive whilst ‘out and about’. When combined with my Mifi and Livescribe pen, it helps to keep my work in one place and access it from anywhere, on any device. Wearing my techy hat, it’s a good example of web technology working together with desktop and mobile apps to really make things work better.
If you work in different locations using a variety of devices it’s definitely worth trying…
Find out more about Evernote at: www.evernote.com