So what happens when you work in an office, with a computer?Then you leave work and go to dinner at a restaurant. Afterwards you go home. Now imagine that you don’t want to lug all your work stuff with you to dinner and then you don’t want to lug all the wine bottles from dinner home. What are you to do? Evernote! This site/desktop app/iphone app/browser plugin allows you to do just what its website promises; “Remember Everything.”
You will first experience Evernote as a website… a very useful site. Once you have signed up for an account (Free standard version or a Premium version – more on that in a bit) you are able to start remembering stuff. The initial set up is quick and relatively painless. The interface is clean and usable. I like the Grey and Green (they just happen to be our company colors). In this review I will be writing about the free version of Evernote.
There are three major areas of Evernote online; the header bar with account preferences and search field, the notebooks menu on the left (sort of your main navigation tool), and the content area in the center.
The header bar is fairly simple and lets you change your account settings, invite friends, and upgrade. But the most important feature of the header is the search field. Can’t remember what you named a note… then just search for tags or contents or the name.
Lets look at the Left menu now… our main menu. This is where you navigate and control all your notes. Notes are how things are stored in Evernote.There are several types of notes that can be added. Text notes are the easiest and smallest to store on your small storage space (if you need more than 40mb/ month then you will probably go for the Premium version). There are image notes, video and even audio notes. Once we understand the different types of notes we can view them via the Notes menu. This menu has all your notebooks listed as well as the ability to add more notebooks and control the ones you already have. Just below the Notebooks menu are the Tags and Attributes menus. These work just as you would expect, letting you sort by tags or attributes like Created dates and Sources. You can also view your saved searches and your trashed notes (before you trash them of course!).
Before I get into how you can add notes I want to talk about the other versions of the application. As I mentioned there are desktop versions for both the Mac & PC. These operate very closely to the online version but with some more bells and whistles. You can see visual gauges of your storage capacity. Take a Video Snapshot… though it’s just a single frame. It’s a snap shot but not much of a video. You can also sync your account so that any changes you have made here are available in the other versions of the app. There is also a nifty little menu bar icon (on the Mac version) that lets you paste anything in your clipboard into a new note in the desktop app… very handy!
If you remember at the start of this article I mentioned a browser plugin. Well if you use Firefox you can add the Evernote Clipper. The Clipper allows you to add the site you are currently viewing to your notebook. You can choose the specific notebook to add it to along with any tags. This really makes Evernote even more useful since you don’t need to manually copy and paste in to the application.
The final piece to Evernote is the iPhone app. There is also a Windows Mobile version but we won’t cover that in this review.. Once you download the app to your phone via the app store or iTunes, you just enter in your info and you have all of your notes at your fingertips… literally. This for me is what really makes Evernote so damn powerful. You can take a photo of something… say a wine bottle at a restaurant and save it to your notebook so you can purchase it later. You can also use the microphone to record an audio note to your self. The interface is good on the new note screen but the other screens are a bit bare and simple. This version is being updated fairly frequently and most bugs are getting fixed quickly.
So, my overall review of Evernote is positive. Evernote is a very powerful tool if you get in the habit of using it. Since there are several ways to interface with the application it’s easy to use it consistently. There are some kinks they are working out (the web clipper is a bit buggy sometimes) but overall Evernote is a helpful and handy service. Especially,if you bounce around from different computers and mobile devices.
Evernote really does help you remember stuff!
Daniel V. Licht