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Jonathan Jensen on Thursday – Evernote for all your notes

Evernote

I used to keep odd notes in Outlook as it meant they were available on both my PC and my BlackBerry. However, using Outlook meant they were only available on one PC and one mobile device; not on my Nokia E51 or my other PCs. A few months ago I started using Evernote as the main repository for my notes. Evernote is browser based so can be accessed from any PC or mobile phone that has a browser. As well as the browser version there are local clients for Windows, Mac, Windows Mobile and iPhone. The browser version works well and is my preferred access method on my PCs and my mobiles. Compatibility with Google Chrome was added recently.

So how does Evernote work? I like the description from Evernote’s developers:

Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.

After creating notes you can assign them category tags via a simple drag & drop process. All notes are content searchable and this includes scanned images and photos, which is very neat. The web clipper feature allows any web page to be saved as a note for future reference – simpler than hunting through bookmarks. Evernote also provides a unique email address you can email notes or forward emails to. This is great for quickly dumping stuff into Evernote from anywhere.

The simple provision of an email address to each Evernote account provides some neat functionality when combined with other products. I’ve set up Evernote as the default destination for uploading photos from my Nokia E51 – when I see something, for example a book that I want to remember in the future, I snap a photo of it & it’s automatically sent to my Evernote folder. When someone leaves me a voice message via SpinVox, a copy of the message is automatically emailed to my Evernote account. When I think of something I might want to blog about in the future I email or drop a note into Evernote for future reference. Using SpinVox Memo I can record simple messages via my phone when I’m out and have a transcribed copy of the message in my Evernote folder next time I open it.

Evernote is a great place to store my ever increasing collection of PDFs – user guides, data sheets and other random documents that seem to appear! Plus, Evernote will search the PDF contents. Just drag and drop the PDFs into Evernote.

Evernote comes in two versions – a free version that allows up to 40MB of data a month to be uploaded and a premium version that costs $5 a month and has a monthly limit of 500MB. This is a nice example of the freemium model in action. So far I’ve found the free version more than adequate.

Is there anything missing from Evernote? One issue I’ve found is that when notes are imported in HTML it can be impossible to remove formatting, like double spacing, from them. The only workaround is to copy and paste into a text editor and back. I’d like to see the ability to highlight text in a note and remove all formatting.

The uses of Evernote are endless and there are more ideas on the website. This video is a good introduction to Evernote.

If you already use Evernote, have you discovered any neat tricks you can share?

Jonathan’s also at Sevendotzero.

5 replies on “Jonathan Jensen on Thursday – Evernote for all your notes”

Evernote really is a properly usable tool. I probably haven't got into the habit of using it enough. One thing I do find brilliant is the ability to snap business cards with my phone then shove them up to Evernote automatically via Shozu. Because the text is searchable I have created an archive I can access anywhere without having to keep a pile of cards knocking around or having to file them some other way. And, even better, if I want I can add notes alongside the card that can be updated anytime (or even a picture of the person who gave it to me if I have one). A truly excellent service.

Have your Spinvox voicemail e-mails forwarded or sent direct to your Evernote e-mail address so you can store, search and annotate them easily. I suspect the same would work for memos but I've not tried.

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