Have you seen this Elephant icon lurking around in advertisements, perhaps on your friends’ iPad or iPhone? Have you heard of Evernote and felt out of the loop? Well, here’s a comprehensive guide to what Evernote is and why you might want to give it a try.
What is Evernote?
Imagine Stickies on steroids. (Stickies are like Post-It notes on your computer, for you non-Mac users out there).
Start with an application that lets you keep and organize all your notes and reminders (i.e Stickies, Word docs, etc).
Now start adding Evernote’s selling points:
- Global Access
- Top-notch Organization
- Remember Everything
- Superb Searchability
- Amazing Tutorials
- Creative Uses
If you can see it, hear it, or read it, Evernote says they can remember it for you. Then you can access it easily, anywhere!
Ever gotten sudden inspiration and there isn’t a pen or notepad in sight? With Evernote, you can pull out your cell phone and save your flash of insight instantly. When you get to work, just pull up Evernote on your computer and start implementing your great idea.
- Run the Evernote application on your computer, phone, or tablet (Evernote can be accessed by installing the app or online through any web browser.)
- Make a new note and it will be saved to the magical cloud of elephants (their cloud server).
- You can now access your note from anywhere with internet service or on any devices on which you have installed the Evernote application.
Organization in Evernote works much the same as folders in your computer. You write a bunch of “Notes” with different cake recipes. These notes can be stored in a “Notebook” (that maybe you would like to call “Cake Recipes”). You can store your cake recipe notebook with other notebooks dedicated to different delicious recipes (ex. “Cookie Recipes” and “Pie Recipes”) in a “Notebook Stack” that you might call “Post-Diet.” Now, the second you’ve given upon your diet, you will easily find the recipes for all your unhealthy favorites (but until then, they’ll be tucked away safely).
Short of remembering tastes and smells, Evernote has got you covered:
- Simple Text: This is the easiest – all you do is click “New Note” and start typing away!
- Pictures: Simply click a picture on your desktop or in a file on your computer and drag it into your new note. Or take a picture with your camera phone and then save it straight to Evernote.
- Live Update: This feature lets you open a photo from Evernote straight into Photoshop. When you hit save in Photoshop, the edits you’ve made will also save to Evernote. If you’re willing to pay a little to be a Premium user, this works the same way with the Microsoft Office Suite.
- Web Pages: You can install an Evernote Web Clipper to your browser which will let you save a web site to a new note. You can clip sections, the whole page, or just the URL. No copying and pasting; you get the text, links, and pictures all in one go:
- Screen Shots: Don’t just get the websites; capture any screen by taking a screen shot with the Evernote clipper and it will be imported automatically into a new note.
- E-mails: When you download Evernote, they will send you an e-mail that will let you know what your unique Evernote e-mail address is (ex. [username].firstname.lastname@example.org). You can then e-mail this address and the body of the e-mail will be created as a new note in your Evernote account! You can even put the note into the proper notebook by adding @ + notebook name (ex. @recipes) to the end of the subject line of your e-mail.
- Twitter: Once you link your Twitter and Evernote accounts, you can save a new note to Evernote from Twitter by adding @myEN to your tweet. An example tweet would look something like this: “Remember to bring portfolio to meeting on Monday @myEN.” If you don’t want the Twitterverse to see your reminders, you can just send this as a direct message to @myEN.
- Audio: Leave yourself a voice note on your iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, iPad, or Blackberry for a more hands-free way to make and save reminders to Evernote.
- PDFs: Work the same as pictures, just drag and drop to insert a PDF into a new note.
If you can’t remember what you labeled your notebook or note, all the text within Evernote is searchable: imported PDFs, text captured in pictures, and even handwritten text! So at your next meeting, you can take a picture of the whiteboard and if it’s saved as a jpeg, Evernote will be able to find the written text. While cool, this feature is also a little buggy, so take it with a grain of salt.
Image from: evernote.tumblr.com/page/2
There are other features that make searching your Evernote notes even easier:
- Add tags (keywords that will make searching for the right note a snap)
- Search for all the notes that contain a certain kind of media (images, encrypted text, unfinished to-do’s, audio files, etc.)
- You can also search for all the notes that came from a specific source (e-mail, web page, etc.)
As if this wasn’t already enough, the folks at Evernote also added a great optional feature called “Simultaneous Search.” This automatically searches your notes in Evernote whenever you enter a search in Google, Bing, or Yahoo. The number of Evernote results is displayed right under the search bar. This feature lets you know things like the fact that you already have 12 lasagna recipes and shouldn’t be Googling for more. (Although, this option can be disabled if its mocking of your feeble human memory annoys you).
The Evernote team is great. If you bother going through the “Getting Started Guide” (which is almost unnecessary because the program is very intuitive), you’ll get started off on the right foot because Evernote gives you definitions to the terms they will be using – a delightfully fresh approach to customer service (starting with proper communication, who’da thunk?).
There is also a whole gallery of video tutorials that are short, to the point, and incredibly helpful.
Creative Uses of Evernote
Although I stuck mostly to recipe examples above (because food lends itself easily to humor), obviously there are a huge variety of applications for a program like Evernote in the workplace, schoolroom, home, and on the go:
- Use it to help organize meetings, clients, and ideas
- Capture inspiration whenever and wherever it strikes
- If you’re a student, use it to keep your studies organized
- Transfer files and track ideas instead of a zip drive or e-mailing yourself
- For shopping, clip something you want to buy from a web site so you can find it in the store
- Save pictures of business cards to create the 21st century version of a Rolodex
Have you started using Evernote? What’d you think?
Please share all of the creative ways you’ve used Evernote!