What is Evernote?

Attempting to describe Evernote is much like the story of the three blind men attempting to describe an elephant based on the place that each touched the elephant. Each one has a separate perception based on the area that was touched. In a similar way, different Evernote users have different descriptions about what it is and what it does.

A Place to Store Everything

Evernote can store almost every kind of data that you could imagine and in most cases, does so with a high degree of structural accuracy. Documents are readable from Evernote and if from a web page, the link is included. There is unlimited storage for all users; the amount that can be uploaded each month varies with the type of account. Free accounts allow up to 60mB per month in uploads, which is usually adequate for casual users. Paid versions increase the monthly allowance.For a writer or researcher, Evernote provides a place to store papers, notes, web pages, and even references.

Where did I put that document?

Evernote is much more than just a place to store everything. If that was the case, what would make it any different from the piles of papers and folders of electronic documents that you already have? Instead, what Evernote provides is structured storage. You decide how you would like to store your documents and then use multiple ways to find your documents once they have been added to Evernote.

You Can Have It Your Way

Evernote is flexible to allow you to decide how you would like to arrange your documents. When adding a document, you can place it in a notebook that you created, together with other similar documents. Later, if you want to move a document to another folder, it is as easy as clicking on the current folder and selecting the new one. Here is a practical example. You could create notebooks for each of your courses and then groups documents for each course using the notebooks.

What Are Tags and Why Are They Important?

Being able to move your documents to different folders is a great organizational tool but what if some of those documents have more than one use? Maybe you have an assignment in a course to write a paper about changes in the environment over the past 20 years and in another course, you must research the economic impact of congressional legislation. You find two articles about environmental policy that can be used to write the first paper but those might also be useful in the second course. Making a copy of the articles and adding them to the notebook for the second course would be an awkward and space-wasting way to do it but tags provides a simple and effective option. The articles are about environmental policy so you add multiple tags to them such as “environment,” “policy,” and maybe “legislation.” Now, it doesn’t matter what notebook has the articles; a search of one or more tags will give a list of all documents tagged with the search tags. This is such an effective way of identifying documents that some users bypass the use of notebooks and use tags exclusively. Evernote is flexible enough to allow that customization.Some notes are time sensitive and need your attention at a future date and time so Evernote allows you to set reminders for each document then sends you an email on the due date as well as notifying you in the app! No more overlooked due dates for assignments or meetings.Evernote is a powerful tool but cannot be everything to everyone. Some may use other more powerful apps for scheduling or task management. You can create a link to any document/note and then use the link in other apps, including sending it as an email. The use of links is really only limited by the user’s creativity.

What if I am working on a group project?

Evernote will let you share notes with other users and even discuss the notes in a live chat. This is very useful when working on a group project or asking for feedback on a composition.

How can I search?

The answer to that question is, “How would you like to search?” Just type in the word or phrase and Evernote will find every document/note that matches the search. It will even search in handwritten notes that were added using a scanning app.

How can information be added to Evernote?

A better question might be, “Is there any way that information cannot be added?” The simplest way to add information to Evernote is to just type a note. The note can be a simple note, a checklist, a bulleted list, or a combination of all or any. You can give it a title, tags, and notebook then set a reminder, share with others, and create a link to the note to use in other apps. There are so many ways to add notes that it would take a separate post to list and explain all of them.One characteristic of Evernote is that it will work with so many other apps. I will only mention three here but this link provides a more comprehensive list.I still like to use pen and paper to take notes or make lists. I also use Apple everything so my favorite app is Scannable for IOS (Camscanner is a comparable Android app). With this app, I can scan multiple pages of my writing and add to Evernote. I can add anything I can photograph, including pictures, pages, business cards, or objects. It has an automatic setting that let’s me scan pages and have them automatically sent to Evernote. It’s like having a scanner in my phone.Another powerful tool is a plugin for all major browsers called Evernote Web Clipper. This plugin will capture all of a web page, a simplified version of the page, or even clips of the page. The clip can be renamed, tagged, assigned to a notebook, and contain your comment. There are default settings that can be used when researching a topic, avoiding the need to tag and assign a notebook to clippings. This speeds up the research process and once done the settings can be adjusted as needed.Sometimes, you will find good material as you are reading on your phone or tablet but don’t have time to do a thorough read. With IOS, you can send the article directly to Evernote or if that feature is not available, just email the article to a special email address that you can set in your Evernote account. If something can be emailed, it can be added to Evernote, including emails that you would like to keep for future reference or as receipts for purchases. Note that there are also apps that can be used to automatically add things to Evernote that can be found on the Evernote Appcenter page.Files that you have in your computer can be added to Evernote using several different methods such as emailing the file, dragging and dropping it, copying and pasting it, or using the right click menu shortcut available in many file managers. Just like all other documents, notes can be added to the files as can tags.

Want to know the real power of Evernote?

This article has only touched on a few of the strengths of Evernote but what good would these features be if they could not be used from any computer? Simple answer… That brings us to the key feature. Evernote accounts can be synchronized across all devices and accessed using the web version from any device connected to the Internet. If you use a school computer, you can still access all of your notes by logging in to your account via the web. Any changes or additions that you make will automatically be synchronized across all of your devices that have Evernote installed.With these features, what will it cost you to use Evernote? In most cases, nothing and if you need a few more features, a ridiculously small annual subscription. Check it out as the free version and see how it can improve your workflow. There is a version for everyone depending upon the amount of usage and your use.