This blog is about technology, software and social media. It's aimed as much towards 'normal' people as the tech savvy. The author is Tony Gallacher.
Evernote is a free, award winning, productivity app that promises to help you remember everything. It acts like a personal offline memory store. You can keep your notes, web pages, clippings from web pages, documents, photos and voice recordings, all in one place.
The app has been inducted into the Apple ‘App Hall of Fame’, is one of the New York Times Top 10 Apps and scores 4+ stars in reviews from both Android and iOS users. As well as versions for most of the mobile operating systems, there are desktop versions for Windows 7 and Mac OSX.
Text notes you type in can be in rich text. There’s a good WYSIWYG editor, pictured on the right. It lets you bold, highlight, underline, make titles and use bullets and numbered lists.
Image notes are pictures you take with your mobile device’s camera. You do this from within the app, so it’s straightforward. There are lots of uses for this. You might want to take a snap of a whiteboard in a meeting, a restaurant menu or a series of views when you are hillwalking.
Voice recordings are a good way to make notes on the go, at times when typing might be awkward.
Attachments are how you store images that you already have on your phone or tablet, as notes. These could be, for example, QR Codes, Barcodes, or photographs of business cards.
Evernote lets you create notebooks to categorise your notes. So you might want to create a notebook for recipes, one for a language you are learning, another to store the web research for a project, and so on.
The app gives you an email address that you can email your notes to. In the subject of the message you can specify a particular notebook where you want a note to be stored.
Any kind of note can be tagged with one or more phrases, whether it’s a text note, an image or a sound file. That means you can use the built in search facility to search through your notes later.
Evernote has a browser add-in it calls the web clipper to help you grab the content of web pages or select a part of a web page to save. This is worth installing because you can use it to keep just the sections of a page that you are interested in.
You can also create to-do lists and store web links with Evernote. But I think this mixes up the ideas of a personal information store – which Evernote does very well – and recording information temporarily that you want to come back to once only.
There are better to-do list apps, where you can check items off, as you do them: why would you want to keep the lists once they are completed? Instapaper is better for storing links you just want to come back to once to “read later.”
If you’re not using Evernote, I recommend it. It’s ideal as a personal information store.
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