Evernote is one of the most robust documentation apps available on the market today. Regardless of what you want or need, Evernote can probably deliver in one way or another. Today's post might run a little long, but we're not striving to cut corners, we're striving to give you the best information we can so you can go out and use what you've learned to improve your life and work flow.
That being said, people are always asking us what the best apps are and our response will almost always be "the one you'll use." What we mean by that is, the best app is the one you're going to use and will commit to using regularly. Sure, something better may come up in 6 months, but until then we wholeheartedly believe in committing and working with what you have in front of you. Like any tool, you need to understand how to use it completely so you can then create anything you want. Can you imagine trying to make a kitchen table without understanding how to use a table saw? It would be nearly impossible. Until you take the time to learn and get comfortable with Evernote, don't expect to be a master of documentation.
Pros of Evernote
Evernote is simple and easy to use. Once you spend a little bit of time getting used to the interface and understand where everything is, using the app becomes a breeze. You can absolutely make Evernote what you want with ease. Understanding how to manage notebooks and the notes within them will make your life much easier. Evernote is always with you. The iOS app is just as robust as the app available for your Mac. The two versions easily sync together making sure that any and all changes are accessible on whatever device you are using at the time. Possibly one of the best features of Evernote is that it's searchable. We'll get into the functionality of search later in this article, but being able to search tags or keywords in your notes makes life so much easier.
Any time you create a note within Evernote you can customize just about anything. Much like a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Pages, you can change fonts, alignments, and highlights. Also available for your customization are bullets as well as checkboxes in case you need to create a "To-Do" list or a grocery list. Reminders are included within notes along with tables so you can fathom the varied functionality. You should also keep in mind that you can attach audio files, images and other types of files to notes. Evernote even allows you to draw or handwrite your notes if you have an iPad (using apps like Penultimate).
Notebooks may be one of the best parts about Evernote. It's amazing to be able to organize notebooks based on your own personal preferences. Our recommendation is to have at least one 'personal' notebook, one 'work' notebook, and then have others as needed such as a medical notebook, sermon notebook (if you're a church person), project notebook, and shared notebooks. All of these can be incredibly useful if you put in the small amount of effort it takes to keep up with them.
Tags are also arguably one of the best features of Evernote. Whenever you create a note, you have the ability to tag that note with specific keywords that will enable you to search and find it easily later down the road. Tags are the most flexible way to organize because you can create notes without regard to what notebook they are in, but later when you want to find that note you can just search the tag you added. Then regardless of which notebook the note is in, you can easily search and find exactly what you want. We still strongly advise you organize via notebooks, but if you don't then tagging will make your searches much easier.
Tags are also a great way to save articles that you want to read later on (we'll cover how to do this later in the article). You can tag important notes, client notes, team member notes, social media ideas and more. The list is only limited by your imagination and how creative you can get with your note organization. It is totally up to you how this plays out.
Search in Evernote is one of the more robust tools available. I wish the search in my email worked as well as the search in Evernote. The beauty of this feature is that when search, Evernote is not only search typed text, but also handwritten text as well as text in any images you've attached to notes. You read that correctly. If you've uploaded any handwritten text or images with text to Evernote, then when you search a word or phrase Evernote will include all of those formats in it's search. When you are creating notes or uploading items to Evernote, the question you should always ask yourself is, "how will I search this in six months?" The answer to that question will help you determine the best way to organize your workflow within Evernote.
You can make each individual note a reminder in Evernote. When you open a specific note, just look for an alarm clock icon and click it. You can then set a reminder for a date in the future, clear a reminder you've already set, or mark one as already done. You can also use these reminders to be 'due dates' if you need to keep yourself on a specific deadline. Reminders have saved our tails more times than we can count within Evernote.
If you're going to commit to using Evernote then you need to install this extension in whatever browser you use (please tell us you're using Safari). Once you add the Evernote Clipper to your browser, you should see the Evernote icon embedded in a button somewhere on the top of the browser's bar...Once the extension is installed you can then easily click that button to save articles, make notes about specific webpages, and tweet articles. There are other features, but those are the three we have found most useful.
Evernote Paid Versions
For $24/year Evernote will give you 1GB of storage, access to notes offline, the ability to clip from anywhere on the web, the ability to save emails into Evernote and the ability to add a passcode lock on the mobile app. For $49/year you can have access to notebooks offline, you can share notebooks, you can have access to presentation mode, in-document searching, you can view previous versions of your notes and you get unlimited storage!
Evernote Business is also available for $12 per month/user. With that pricing you get more storage, centralized management, the company owns the data, and you have the ability to share notebooks between teams.
Evernote is simple enough to conquer your everyday documentation and project needs while also having the ability to tackle robust team-based workflows. If you've never given Evernote a chance, then we highly recommend you do so. Download the app on your Mac and your iPhone and work with it for 30-60 days. After that time, step back and reevaluate your progress. If your life has been made easier and simpler by using Evernote, then stick with it! Come back to this article and re-discover what you've been doing right and what you can improve when using this awesome app.
We're always here to answer questions you may have and help however we can. Just Tweet at us or leave a comment below!
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