Thursday, September 3, 2015

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Evernote – Change the Way You Take Notes

by fouts

Productivity software? Tried it. It never does what I need it to do and I spend more time setting it up and loading stuff into it than I do actually using it. Most of the apps I’d tried also had accessibility issues. Sometimes they synced, sometimes they didn’t and I was constantly maintaining the tool that was supposed to make my life easier.

Until now. In a nutshell, Evernote lets you add information to a database that is accessible through the web, a desktop app, and your iPhone,  or smart phone. Items are tag-able and fully search-able so you can add pretty much anything, run a search, and quickly find it again wherever you are.

Here’s an example of how I use it for blogging. Many of my best ideas for bog post come when I’m out for a hike or driving. I don’t always have a pen and paper with me and I never text and drive so what to do? SIRI to the rescue. I just tell SIRI to email Evernote with my special upload address, I make the subject line “blog post” and then dictate the idea, or sometimes even most of the post. and SIRI emails it to Evernote. I can finish what I’m doing and come back to my Evernote file full of blog posts, ready to finish.

 

Now when I say you can upload things, try to visualize this. You’re at a networking event and you suck at remembering names. With Evernote you can take a picture of a person with your phone, tag them with their name and they’re saved for future reference in your database. Even more interesting, include their name badge in the snapshot, even a handwritten name tag, and Evernote will recognize the handwriting and enter it as searchable text!

evernote-biz-cardWhile you’re at it, take a photo of that person’s business card through the app and connect your Evernote account with Linkedin. Evernote will digitize the image and create a searchable note in your account with the most up-to-date information about your shiny new contact. It will also prompt you to connect with them on Linkedin Attach notes about the meeting to the note in Evernote and you’ve got a great reference for the next time you meet.

evernoteEvernote can find text within images, recognize it and make the text search-able. The image at right is a snapshot of the bag given out at N2Y4 Mobile Challenge. The highlighted yellow text is the result of a search for the words “Mobile Challenge” in my Evernote database. I hadn’t even tagged it yet. I also found my notes from Raj Singh’s lecture, the images of the slides he put up, the website homepage with session info, and a reminder to connect with one of the people I met at that talk.

Never again will I collect a bunch of paper at trade shows just to remember the product offering. A few quick photos of the booth, and not only do I have faces to relate to later, but the booth itself, logos, products and the text of the brochures ready to use in my post. all in one swoop. This is going to make blogging after conferences a breeze.

 

What else does Evernote do? A lot. Here are some of the ways I use it.

  • Evernote now includes another of my favorite tools. Skitch. Skitch allows me to take a screenshot and annotate it. When I’m doing a webinar and need screenshots or a recording a tutorial for a client i can easily take the shots I need and mark them up to show the client exactly what I mean. Sweet.
  • Record an audio message to listen to later, take a photo and tag the two to record an event or item to remember.
  • Drag and drop content like a PDF right into Evernote from your desktop and it’s filed (and searchable).
  • Save your  Tweets (public or DM) directly into Evernotes database by simply including @myENin the message (quick set up required)
  • Create a shared notebook to share notes or whole notebooks with your team.

Evernote constantly syncs with the database, so you are only seconds away from totally available information.

Did I mention it’s free? Yes, you have to put up with some small rotating banner ads, but believe me it’s worth it. Odds are very good you’ll upgrade to premium anyway, not to get rid of the ads, but to get more storage because you can fill it up pretty quickly.

Are you using Evernote too? share some tips and tricks here. Got an even better app? Tell me, I love finding new toys!

(Note, this is a revised post from my first review back in 2009!)

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  • http://www.joselise.com/wp cjlise

    I’m a huge fan of Evernote. I use it to collect Web pages, photo and Tweets. The character recognition in photos feature is amazing. I just regret they don’t have a full version on Linux (Only a bookmarklet to capture web page is available for Linux).

    José.

  • http://www.keithrowland.com K Rowland

    Even in Linux, yes, I use the web clipper for FireFox to post stuff to Evernote, then use the web interface to actually use evernote. It can do most of the routine stuff you’d want to do in Evernote.

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  • Aarni Heiskanen

    You have found creative ways to use the tool, thanks for the tips! Evernote is my daily companion as well. I use it on two Macs and my mobile.

  • Megan Keane

    Thanks, this post gave me a lot of new ideas for how to make the most out of Evernote. It’s very handy to have it synch seamlessly between iPhone, desktop, and laptop and both Mac and Windows platforms. I like using it for note-taking, as the client can be used offline. It’s a great place to store important information I never seem to remember (i.e. the voicemail code, that conference call #). I find it handy for saving screenshots for later use and for storing templates.

  • http://www.pelotonics.com Troy Malone

    You have made a great find here! Evernote rocks. If you want to have the ability to port your notes into a project management software solution, you should look at Pelotonics. It is integrated with evernote and it comes in handy! Think about taking a voice note on your cell phone and then assigning that out to someone as a task…with that voice mail attached.

    Here’s some examples: http://www.pelotonics.com/evernote.html

  • Janet

    Great to see so many Evernote fans, and thanks for al lhe tips you posted here, emailed and tweeted!I’m off to check out pelotonics now!

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  • Dale L.

    There is a LINUX version of Evernote – it's called Nevernote and you can find it here:
    http://nevernote.sourceforge.net/
    There's just a few requirements to get it running… follow the instructions and visit their forum!

    You can choose between 32 bit or 64.

    I got it working fine and it runs well…!

    After that, you can add the evernote webclipper to your browser…

  • Clarayovi

    Somebody
    has tested http://clicktoapp.com with Evernote??

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