If you want to know how to use Evernote better, check out the ebook Evernote Essentials (aff). It covers a number of different use cases and shows you how to use Evernote to stay organized and get more done. It also covers a number of features that you are unlikely to discover on your own.
Evernote gives whole new meaning to the word “synchronized.” This software uses technology to help users organize various types of information from several different sources into one, central, web-based location. The product also allows users to clip web pages and archive them for later reference, store screen shots, photos and text notes, all within a customizable storage system. Evernote will also organize things for you by the date a note or other document was created.
The free version of Evernote allows only so much storage space. To obtain more, users may purchase a version that costs $5 per month or $45 per year. The nice thing about storing everything online is that data is automatically backed up each time the user logs in on any of the synced devices (mobile phone, desktop, laptop, etc.) Evernote runs on many different devices, and is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, iPhone and iPod Touch, Android, Blackberry, Palm Pre and Windows Mobile. On a side note, the premium version of Evernote also allows users to clip Word and Excel documents into the program.
Evernote allows the user to create simple text notes, save snapshots, clip web pages, and in some cases, take audio notes. For Blackberry and iPhone users, the audio feature seems to work very well.
Evernote employs OCR to allow the user to search for images according to the text contained in those images. Being able to search for text in images is a great way to save time. If the user needs to capture important information quickly, taking a snapshot for future reference is a handy option. Often, the OCR will even be able to read handwritten text in photos as long as it is fairly legible Finding the text, later, is easy because of the benefits of OCR. Other reviews have mentioned that the OCR on the free version of Evernote is a bit unpredictable compared to that of the premium version.
Note: Only Premium version users have the capability to search for text in PDFs.
The most beneficial element of Evernote is it’s organizational system. The software contains several different ways to categorize information, such as Tags, Note Titles and Notebooks. Evernote allows the user to keep track of several projects at once with the “Notebooks” feature. The user creates and titles a notebook, then can further organize the information within that notebook with “tags.”
Evernote also offers an alternative to “bookmarking” web pages. Instead of just saving the web address, the Evernote web clipper add on for Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari allows the user to save the HTML on the web page as a note with just the click of a button (Web clipper installs automatically for IE when the user downloads Evernote for Windows, and automatically when Mac users download Evernote for OS X).
With Evernote, you can access your notes from any computer that has Internet capabilities. The interface is very similar to that of the desktop version, and should not be troublesome to those that have already used the desktop version of the product. One neat feature of Evernote Web is that the user can share notebooks with either individuals or the whole world. Using the “Sharing” function, the user can specify which individuals to send the notebook to, or create a URL that is posted for everyone to see.
Evernote offers a neat function for those that store sensitive information in their notes. For those that want an extra layer of security on the Desktop version of Evernote, the user can right-click on any highlighted information, then select “Encrypt Selected Text.” The program asks the user to type in a passphrase to be used to decrypt the information for future access.
Note: Evernote does not store the passphrase anywhere, so you’re out of luck if you forget it. The box that opens to ask for the pass phrase has this same warning written close at hand, so it is a good reminder.
For those that find themselves drowning in piles of sticky notes, Evernote is a much improved alternative to the former. The organizational system and OCR make it worth a look for those that are looking for help in organizing ideas at work, school or just bits of data from every-day life. If you are looking for a book on Evernote, I highly recommend the Evernote Essentials book.
I’m Lauren from Springpad. Since I saw that you were posting about your experience using Evernote, I thought I’d let you know about Springpad (http://springpadit.com) which is similar to Evernote in that you can upload any notes or clip websites and access all your stuff online or on your phone. But, we take it a step further by putting all the info you store to work for you in our free apps. For example, you can save recipes from any website and then have them all neatly organized in your recipe box (http://springpadit.com/appdirectory/aboutapp/recipebox) and then use our free meal planner app to create a dinner plan and a complete list of ingredients. You can also keep track of all your wine notes (http://springpadit.com/appdirectory/aboutapp/winenotebook), keep a list of restaurants you want to try (http://springpadit.com/appdirectory/aboutapp/restauranttracker) or easily store all your travel plans like confirmation numbers, maps, places to go, etc (http://springpadit.com/appdirectory/aboutapp/tripplanner). You can also set alarms to send emails or text reminders. Other great apps include a budget tracker, a meeting notebook, a holiday gift planner, a date night planner, and other useful tools to help people get organized. Would love to get your feedback!
Thermal Spindle says
The storage limits between the free and paid for Evernote accounts are actually monthly upload limits. Currently these are 40 MB & 500 MB per month, but overall your storage is cumulative. You can just keep adding more data month on month.
David Dunn says
Nice review of Evernote :) – I couldn’t live without Evernote now, my whole life is synchronised within it pretty much. I do pay for it as anything I receive that is letter-based gets scanned in a synced.
Definitely would recommend it to everyone!
(as noted above though, the paid for version only increases your monthly upload limit rather than your storage limit)
real world user says
My (paid) experience with “evernote ” has been very negative.
Tried it with a real-world scenario of a thousand 1-page Notes,
and experience slowness and unresolved serious bugs
(with a weak and unresponsive “tech support”).
The scary part is you can NOT export you own Notes to CSV, etc.,
in case you want to move your Notes to another service.
It only exports to its own internal format…
I’m not renewing my paid subscription to them,
and will be trying SpringPad instead.
Hope it has the same functionality and that it works…
Just sharing my experience with other users.
Mark Shead says
Interesting. The export process does seem to be limited. DevonTHINK office has one of the best export processes I’ve seen.
Let me know if you have any questions getting started with Springpad! If you’re an iPhone user, we also have a new iPhone app that was recently released as well. I’m glad you’re giving Springpad a try.
Lauren, [email protected]
hi, i’d love to try springpad! but everytime i try to download it into my samsung galaxy mini (gt s5570) i get the message “this item is not compatible with your device”. why is it not? the mini has froyo.
Jeff Janer says
Try downloading it from GetJar: http://www.getjar.com/mobile-all-applications-for-samsung-gt-s5570-galaxy-mini/springpad/?o=bestmatch
Richard Fredericksen says
Nevermore. Kept asking again and again for my username and password. OK. Did it, Changed them. Still took me back to the same page where I could download it again. OK. I’ll uninstall and try again. It sounds that good. Uninstall began at 1237 on August 12. Ran and ran. Stuck on “Gathering required information.” After four hours, still stuck with the green pulsing line at about 80% finished. My network went down sometine around 1250, so maybe that was it. Tried to uninstall again nine hours later, network now up and running. Gets stuck on “GRI” again. Waited forty-five minutes. I surrender. Windows 7 on a Acer Aspire notebook running lots of memory and lots of hard drive capacity. Finally did a System Restore which ran painlessly and got me back to my machine without it. Your experience has varied.
Reem Alfrayan says
I love it I think it help motivate me to work on my projects however i would agree on its slowness and some times it dose not work at all. and as you suggested my biggest concern is exporting my work.
but overall I like how it motivate me to work EVERNOTE my new toy
Gary Zeune, CPA says
I’m looking for a site taht I can store news article web pages AND highlight important items. Will EverNote or SpringPad do that? If not what web site will?
Mark Shead says
Probably. I’d suggest you try them out.
Rodney Daut says
Diigo.com will let you highlight websites and save the highlighted version of the page.
John Clark says
I have to say that, as a user of the free Evernote, I’ve been very impressed so far. I’m not sure I need to be able to upload more than the free limit at the moment, as my actual usage is predominantly text notes, and these are tiny. I’m not sure if, in addition to the upload limit, there is a message count limit for the free version, but if there is it certainly isn’t affecting me now.
I’m intrigued by the negative comment above, and that gives me pause before moving across to the paid plan (as I was thinking of doing) but otherwise I am quite satisfied. They’ve an iPad version now (although I don’t have an iPad :-) and that might be a compelling option for me, as my use of Evernote is invariably for capturing random bits of ‘stuff’ when they occur to me, and that’s usually when I’m away from the keyboard…
Unfortunately, however, I have to warn anybody that evernote is pretty unstable. I lose note updates almost every day on my iPad. I have similar but different problems on the pc and mac. I can’t believe how many bugs they have hanging around and how often Evernot crashes, even on the iPad?!! That shouldn’t happen.
Have to agree. left running for more than a short while, almost every other edit I make results in the Evernote Windows app crashing. Really not helpful at all. Now looking for an alternative.
Mark Shead says
I use OS X and haven’t seen that problem.
james cave says
I use OSX Lion. Likewise no crashes
Techmaven 2010 says
I just installed and then, with great difficulty, uninstalled this little piece of poisonware.
Evernote may be a great app, but beware, it will install all sorts of bits and pieces that will hijack your Mac and disable all the other keystroke preferences you have enabled.
Mark Shead says
It does install some shortcut keys, but I think you can over-ride those if they bother you. Other than that, I haven’t had any problems with it like you described. Other than having some shortcut keys (something many pieces of software have) did you have any other problems?
How can you override them? I couldn’t find it in the documentation or forums, nor is there an uninstaller or instructions for uninstalling. Their tech support is unresponsive.
Sam Speak says
Evernote just increased the monthly upload allowance for their free account from 40MB’s to 60MB’s. Not too bad for free. Their paid account was increased to 1GB per month. That’s a lot of stuff. I have found that Evernote works great as a capture tool when you use the GTD process. I don’t kow what I did without it.
Can you make a local back up of the information you have stored in Evernote. Just in case Evernote ceases to exist or if you want to change service? I am looking for a longterm option that won’t be a fad for the next couple years and leave me dissappointed with nothing to show for it.
Mark Shead says
I believe you can export your notes to XML or HTML. I’m not sure about pictures.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Evernote, at least the Blackberry app, is worse than nothing. After spending most of an hour entering a note into Evernote on the BB, the note did not save on the BB or my Evernote account. It was just gone! At the time I was using the paid version of Evernote. I’ve subsquently canceled my paid subscription. I’ve tried to use it for basic notes, like errands list, and become increasingly frustrated. Time and again Evernote has left me stranded with an old version of a note or no note at all. Paper and pencil would be better.
Mark Shead says
I think the Blackberry app is best suited for quickly getting information into Evernote. I haven’t had any problems with it not recording information though.
I thought Evernote was a good idea, but I’m finding a surprising number of bugs with their software.
Android tablet has been chock full of bugs, from failing to install to failing run without connected to the network. I mean what is the purpose of sync if you cannot run their app without being connected to the network?
There latest windows copy is also failing to sync even though I can access the web version of evernote. It still is failing to sync with notes that I’ve committed while typing this.
I’m slowly losing my confidence with software developers and software test @ Evernote.
Dan Heinze says
Evernote is great. The fatal flaw is the virtually non-existent export. Exports as HTML, loosing all tags, OCR, etc. This is the only reason Evernote is not beating Dropbox. Much better than Dropbox in some regards, but totally unusable in others.
And their tech support sucks. Clearly just trying to get you to go away, rather than trying to solve your problem.
Mark Shead says
Interesting. I never considered Evernote to be much of a competitor to Dropbox. They seem to do very different things.
[email protected] says
I have really found Evernote indispensable since I began writing part time. The flexibility it affords for keeping track of bills and creative bits and bobs all in one place really makes it a winner.
Good Review only one correction, free users can search for text in PDF. I just did a search for “insurance” in the free version of evernote and it brought back my flight invoices in pdf format.
Mark Shead says
Maybe the difference is that that paid version will actually index the PDF using OCR and the free version just uses any text that is already present in the PDF. Or maybe they changed it. Thanks for pointing that out.
I’ve had Evernote for several months, it worked great syncing my MacBook, IPad and cellphone. The PROBLEM….. It was sucking the life out of my laptop, phone etc….. It is a constant busy bee and slowed down all my internet connection speeds, my apps. everything! Very frustrating! I just deleted the program from my devices and have regained control of my laptop and MY TIME!!!! Regards
Kevin Song says
After reading everyones negative feedback, I wanted to say that Evernote works wonderfully for me. I can take notes of basically anything, shopping lists, research projects, and more! I am only using evernote on my browser and my android phone, but there are no problems, bugs, or crashes ar all! The syncing proccess is also very fast and reliable for me too! I love evernote and I am now considering getting the paid version.
james cave says
Me too. Synchronisation between home MAc and work PC has been faultless. I think sometimes a cloud based system can only be as good as the wifi and links between.
Brotherhug Barlow says
Wonderful product, when it works, but…
Evernote was the perfect solution for a digital packrat like myself. I spent about two months reorganizing my old Google Notebook folders and my OneNote folders into Evernote. They were easy to import and mostly kept the original folder structures. My various projects were well organized in one place that was continually backed up, available anywhere and could be shared. This we wonderful!
BUT… one day, after reorganizing about 1800 notes into folders, all my notes were in the Unsorted folder. Tech support could offer no solution. Two months of organizing Evernotes was gone.
Then the web clipper quit working with Chrome. Tech support did not reply to me.
There’s got to be a better solution.
I am new to evernote, so thought of reading all your commments,thanks a million, before seriously considering to use it.
I am considering using evernote to help me with my teaching. I have several queries:
*Can I have several accounts ( I am thinking of having an account for everyone of my classes)
*How can I share my notes? Can I share them with a group?
*If I share my notes, can the other make changes to my notes? Can they make copies of my notes?
Thanks in advance for any information you can give me.
Mark Shead says
You can have multiple notebooks in the same account. That is probably a better strategy than multiple accounts. You can share your notebooks, but if you want others to be able to modify them you must have a premium account. People can copy your notes to their own account by right clicking on them and selecting “Copy To Notebook” and then selecting the notebook where they want to put the copy.
I’d suggest just getting a free account and trying it out. You’ll get a much better idea for how it works once you get a chance to play with it.
If I only downloaded the app, evernote for free, is it sufficient for me to store a good amount of notes as an A level student?