by Jenneth Orantia | Dec 27, 2012 | Comment Now
Take a moment to think about all of the different information sources you have. You might have sticky notes on your computer monitor, random phone numbers and thoughts on the back of receipts and bus tickets, bookmarked stories in your browser that you've forgotten to read, scribbled notes on various notepads, and dozens of paper documents strewn all over the house. Wouldn't it be great if you could have all of that information compiled into a single, searchable repository that you could access from anywhere?
That's the thinking behind Evernote, a powerful cloud-based note-taking service. Once you make the firm commitment to start putting all of your notes and information into Evernote, you'll be able to pull up absolutely anything with a few keystrokes. Need to double-check your phone bill from last month? Too easy. Or all of your work-related receipts for the last financial year? Done. How about all of the webpages you've clipped with the keyword "Android" in them? Child's play.
Feed me, feed me
The trick with Evernote is that it won't automatically compile all of your life's information on its own. You'll need to move all of your information into Evernote manually and then make it a habit of putting everything there in the future. But it's not as hard as it sounds, as there are lots of ways to get information into Evernote.
You can attach files to new notes, which works well for PDFs, documents, spreadsheets, photos, and any scanned files. You can insert photos and audio notes into a note using your device's camera and microphone. You can email any messages and files to your special Evernote email address, which automatically creates a new note with the email's contents. And you can clip web pages from a desktop browser using the free Evernote Web Clipper.
One of the cooler features of Evernote is that it can search through images for printed or handwritten text, making any scanned documents (like bills, receipts and letters) or photos searchable.
If you use a lot of cloud services such as Gmail, Google Reader and Dropbox, you can take advantage of the many IFTTT Evernote 'recipes' that automatically feed any saved information into your Evernote account. A couple of the things you can do is have it save any starred Gmail messages into Evernote and archive all of your Instagram photos to Evernote.
Setup an account
Setting up an Evernote account is easy. Head to the website and click the ‘Create Account’ button. The free account limits you to 60MB worth of new notes a month and is ad-supported. If most of your notes are purely text, this should be more than enough to start with.
Once you start incorporating images, PDFs, and audio recordings into your notes, however, you’ll quickly come up against the bandwidth limitation, in which case it’ll be worthwhile upgrading to a premium account for US$5 a month. The Premium account boosts the note upload limit to 1GB, and adds the ability to search PDFs, access Evernote notebooks offline, and get faster image recognition.
There are Evernote apps for all the major desktop and mobile platforms, as well as a web-based version, so adding new notes (not to mention accessing them) is easy.The smartphone app is a convenient way to capture new notes wherever you are. Android makes this exceptionally easy thanks to the platform’s built-in sharing feature; once you’ve installed the app, you’ll be able to send information directly to Evernote from any other app that supports sharing, such as the web browser, Flipboard and Twitter.
iPhones don’t have Evernote sharing built-in, but you can work around it using the email feature. Every user gets a unique email address for posting notes via email (ideal for forwarding important emails that you want to save), and since most shareable items in iOS have an email option, you can use it to save that content to Evernote.
We've really only scratched the surface of Evernote's capabilities. Other ways you can tweak and tune Evernote to your needs include creating multiple notebooks for different types of information (as well as notebook stacks for notebooks that go together), tagging individual notes to make them easier to find by category, sharing notebooks with people, making certain notebooks available offline, marking up images with handwritten notes and saving them to Evernote using the Skitch app, exploring all of the other apps that support exporting to Evernote, such as Penultimate, Any To Do and Placeme.
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