Taking Notes



Do you have a need to keep notes on all sorts of subjects? Do you find it unwieldy carrying a separate notebook and pen?


Evernote is an app that quite literally allows you to store your life within its memory.


Write a note. Take a photo. Upload documents. Capture emails. Share ideas. Record audio. Repeat.


I would normally talk about an app from the 'free to use' perspective. However, since the majority of the goodness comes with the full product, I am going talk about most of the features.

I've been using Evernote for over 7 years and in that time I have recorded hundreds of notes. At the time of writing I have over 2500 notes across a complete range of subjects.


These include receipts from shopping, insurance documentation, notes regarding the Cub Scout pack that I run, school reports for the children, financial information, party planning etc etc.

I also use it for work, to capture notes from meetings, as well as somewhere to brain-storm ideas.


Using Notebooks

Of course, that number of notes needs to be managed and Evernote has a number of ways to categorise your notes. Most people set up Notebooks for specific subjects, and each note can be filed accordingly.


As a student, you could set up a notebook for each subject. For work, maybe a notebook for each project?


Tagging

You don't have to use notebooks. Instead, there is a mid-way solution to the 'no notebooks' choice.


Tagging is a big part of Evernote.


Tags can be anything, and once you start using them, you'll understand how powerful they can be when you need to search; or pull together all notes with a specific tag.


I've started to using them more often and it's sometimes quicker than moving notes to various notebooks.


Search

What about searching for notes?


The search functionality within Evernote is second-to-none. If you've scanned in documents, the OCR capability for documents, means that when you search for something, Evernote won't only look at the notes that you've created, but also inside the documents (whether word or pdf). It will also search any text that's part of a photo.


This means, that even without the notebooks, if you're looking for something, then there is a very high probability of finding it just entering a key phrase or word.


This does mean that the number of results returned from this search could be daunting; and another reason why tags will help to filter and focus on what you're looking for.


Reminders

As well as creating notes, you can also set reminders which will pop up at the requisite time. For example, you have your car insurance documentation stored in Evernote. You can set a reminder for 11 months time, to remind you to start looking to renew.


Or you need to pay a bill, that you've scanned into Evernote. Again, set a reminder and you'll never forget. And the bill remains a permanent record.


Web Clipper

One of the big benefits of Evernote is the Web Clipper. It's a fantastic way to take clips from the web and save them for later. Maybe you're researching a new car, or holiday or anything you like; you see something on the internet that you want to keep for reference.


The Web Clipper, which is installed as an extension on you browser, will let you either capture the entire screen, just a snippet or a text version and save it straight into your


Evernote. You can even set the notebook you want it stored in, along with any notes and tags.


It's worth noting that the Web Clipper is included as part of the free plan.


Free Vs Paid

As I mentioned before, there is a free to use plan, which offers a cut-down version of the app.

So, what is included in the paid plan that you don't get on the basic service?

  • Forward emails into your Evernote account - A great way to save important emails.  You can even send straight to a notebook and add tags

  • Scan and digitize business cards and create contact notes

  • Annotate PDFs

  • Turn notes into a presentation with one click - ideal for meetings

  • Recommend related notes based on content - Evernote will look inside your notes and show you other notes that relate to the one you're looking at

Whilst you can use Evernote for free, on their Basic plan, this does limit what you can do with it, and the number of devices you can use. At the same time, the individual paid for service is £4.99 per month. 


This doesn't make it the cheapest app by far, but you get a heck of lot of bang for your buck.


Alternatives

If you want to look at alternatives, then there are lots of other note taking apps available, from Microsoft OneNote, which is included as part of their suite of software, Bear, the Notes app on Apple iOS and Mac. Google Keep is another, basic, service.


If you have any questions about Evernote or any other note taking app, then please get in touch via the Contact Me button at the top of the page.

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