by Dan Toland
I pride myself in finding the best mobile apps to keep me productive. You know, the ones that help me do a tad bit more than squash green piggies with disgruntled feathery friends.
I like to focus on apps that work on all platforms and gadgets. This avoids the whole Apple vs. Android vs. BlackBerry vs. Windows Phone vs. whatever else is out there issue, and just lets you get to work.
In this regard, Evernote tops the list of “must have” apps I always recommend to others.
Its concept is simple: “Remember everything.”
It takes awhile to fully understand the value of this. But once you finally remember to remember to use it to remember things, it may very well become your most-used app.
You’ll also travel a lot lighter without all those notebooks you used to have to drag around.
Here’s a look at some of the reasons to start using Evernote, and ways I’ve found it useful.
More than just Note-taking
Evernote is for note-taking, but it goes way beyond that. You can format your notes, making outlines, lists, reminders and more. It’s not just typed words, either. You can add photos, audio and other attachments, or just create separate notes for whatever format you would like.
Evernote is literally available on all of today’s mainstream devices and platforms. You can use it at Evernote.com, download a desktop version, or use the Evernote app on any smartphone or tablet. And since notes are automatically synchronized across your devices, you have access to them wherever, whenever and however you are able to access Evernote.
Evernote can do the typical searches that help you find any word you have typed in any note you’ve ever created, but it gets better…it can also find words in the photos you have taken. How cool is that?! It will even recognize words in photos of handwritten notes (if you write legibly).
One of my first great moments with this was when I took a photo of my grandmother’s homemade ice cream recipe and saved it as a note. When I wanted to access it, all I had to do was search for the word “eggs” (because I remembered eggs were in the recipe). Lo and behold, up popped the photo with the word “eggs” highlighted in the picture. This is a great feature for those who like to clip recipes, classified ads and other items out of magazines, newspapers, etc.
Tagging and Sharing
Organize your notes by “tagging” each one with specific keywords. Then when you search for these keywords, all related notes will appear. You can also create “Notebooks” where you can save notes relating to specific topics.
Notes are private by default, but you can also share your notes with others. Keep your note private by emailing it or sending the link to it to others, or you can choose to make it public and post it to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Web-clipping and email forwarding
Evernote Web Clipper is a browser add-on allowing you to save a webpage or selected portion of a page as a note in one click. You also get a special Evernote email address to which you can forward emails from your inbox to save as notes.
Although there are monthly limits, I have never reached them. A paid version is available for those who start using Evernote for everything. There are also some great free add-ons you can get from the Evernote Trunk, making the app even more adaptive to what you want it to be.
Here are some ways I’ve used Evernote
- Jotting down meeting notes, shopping and to-do lists, Wi-Fi Router passwords, random ideas, drafting posts on the go.
- Recording audio interviews and lectures/speeches, and leaving voice reminders for myself.
- Snapping photos of powerpoint slides during presentations, things I would normally clip out of print publications, items I want to purchase (or receive as gifts!), parts I need to replace or model numbers I need to remember.
- Taking photos of handwritten notes or agendas/documents only made available to me in paper format.
- Planning trips: saving itineraries, confirmation numbers, receipts.
- Forwarding emails with information I want to save for later.
- Clipping entire web pages or portions of articles/blogs I want to keep.
- Sharing notes with others.
- Remembering where I parked at the airport during lengthy trips.
There are so many wonderful use cases out there for Evernote. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface here. Share how you use Evernote in the comments below!
Dan Toland is director of digital strategy at Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. He is passionate about integrating social technologies with collaborative environments for the betterment of the communities they serve. Follow Dan on Twitter @d_toland and @OhioFarmBureau.