28th April 2012
Where do I start!? I use Evernote for so many things! I’ll tell you where I’ll start: I’ll tell you what it is and what it does! It’s a place to store your documents. And everything you store is searchable. So it’s a bit like your own personal Google, in that sense! For me, Evernote has meant my office can truly go paperless!
Unlike Dropbox, it’s not really for every file type: it’s more about text documents. You can type straight into it and make a note or you can drop a .pdf instruction manual or .jpg photo/scan you took of a business card into a note. Evernote then wave their magic and make the pdf or image searchable! I know– great idea, isn’t it!
How does it work?
It works in typical ‘cloud’ fashion– you can access it online or through an app. And apps are available on your PC, Mac, iPhone, Blackberry, Android phone, etc. In the same way that IMAP email works, any changes you make on one device is reflected across them all. So if you add a new note on your desktop, it’ll upload it to Evernote’s servers automatically and then, the next time you open Evernote on your phone, it’ll be downloaded, ready to view or edit.
Evernote is secure so you don’t have to worry about your information being accessed by anyone else.
Evernote in action
Here’s a little scenario: your shoes have finally worn out and you’re looking for the cobbler. You remember that your friend was singing the praises of a certain Jimmy Shoeshine and you want to find out where he’s based. The problem is, you don’t remember his name but your friend had his business card, which you snapped into Evernote with your phone’s camera, knowing you might need his services at one point soon.
So you head to Evernote, search for ‘cobbler’ or ‘shoe’ and it’ll search your notes for those words, and even though it was a picture that you took, Evernote will be able to read the words and will return the business card in your search results!
More efficient than a filing cabinet
If I want to find something I no longer have to go rooting through a filing cabinet to find what I want. It’s only a quick search away! As Evernote allows you to add notes to notebooks, I can narrow my search by a particular notebook too.
Using Evernote creatively
I mentioned before that my office is now paperless. All the bank statements, utility bills and other documents (insurance policies and so on) I get is scanned into Evernote, shredded and recycled. I also scan or photograph all of my receipts too. So no more bulging filing cabinets, or shoeboxes full of receipts!
But it’s perfect for storing all sorts of things! If I get a new gadget or tool, I’ll have a quick search for the instructions on the manufacturer’s website. If they have them, I’ll download them to Evernote. If they don’t, I’ll scan the manual that came with the product and drop it into Evernote. That way I’ll never have to wonder where the manual is if I need to refer to it in the future!
I also scan my membership cards to save my wallet filling up with cards I only use once in a blue moon: my Boots Advantage Card, Tesco Clubcard, library card, Nectar Card, the list goes on. So if I’m out and about and I need to add some points to a card, I bring the image of the barcode up and the cashier scans my phone! Easy!
I also mentioned it’s a great place to store business cards– you can scan/snap and throw away all those business cards that have been filling up that drawer in your office. Evernote is a digital Rolodex!
Using the checkbox feature you can keep your recipes on Evernote! So if you’re at the supermarket and you can’t remember how many chillies you need for that curry, you can just open Evernote and check!
You could also share a note with your partner and use it as a shopping list! That way, when you notice the teabags are running low, you can add them to your Evernote shopping list and whoever’s at the shop next will know to pick them up!
Evernote can also be used as a repository for inspiration. If you’re planning a new kitchen or any other project you can take snaps of various websites, magazine pages, kitchen showrooms and so on to collect your ideas.
Wish lists and to-do lists are easy to keep on Evernote too. Whether it’s DIY jobs for the house, things to pack for the impending holiday, city breaks you’d like to go on, or whatever!
I like to organise projects on Evernote. With the sharing facility, I can easily keep collaborators in the loop, collect ideas, create to-do lists and so on.
I’m sure by now you’ll have some ideas as to how Evernote could work for you. It might be just one thing you have in mind, but I bet you get more and more use out of it as time goes by!
Evernote is all about content. The app itself is deliberately unobtrusive so when you first open it it might look a little uninspiring. Just wait until you start adding content and using its search and sharing facilities it’ll come to life!
Head to Evernote’s website to download it and have a play!
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