Category Archives: Productivity Tools

Organizing Data and Information with Evernote

Evernote Application

Evernote Logo

What is Evernote?

If you have not tried out the digital organization and notetaking application Evernote yet,  I would highly recommend that you do.  Evernote is a suite of cloud and desktop applications meant to assist people in organizing the data and information in their lives.

Organization is completed through a series digital “notes”.  Notes tcan be text based, clips of webpages, web links, voice and audio data clips, videos, or images.  Organization is done through folders and tags, as well as through location, contextual text-based, and time-based attributes associated with the media saved in the notes.

Currently, Evernote is available on a variety of desktop and mobile platforms, including; MacOS, Windows, Linux, ChromeOS, Android, Apple iOS, and Blackberry OS.

What Makes Evernote Unique?

There are a number of notetaking and organizational productivity tools on the market today, but what makes Evernote unique is its ease of use and its organizational structure.  Evernote allows makes it easy for the user to store data from anywhere, including their mobile device, desktop, or laptop.

Because Evernote is with the user all the time, it is easy to store user specific information at any time and have that information available at the push of a button.  All data is stored locally on every user’s machine and backed up and synced through Evernote’s servers.

What also makes Evernote unique is its business model.  The company’s founder, Phil Libin, has stated that he wishes Evernote to be a 100-year company and adheres to a pricing structure that allows for a significant amount of free data usage before payment is required.  Their intent is that as users eventually become accustomed to Evernote and see the value that it has in meeting their organizational needs, they won’t have a problem paying for additional usage fees.

Currently, the ad-supported free version offers 60 MB of data per month.  The paid version (currently offered  at approximately $5/month) offers some enhanced features and allows for 1 GB of data per month.

The User Interface

The user interface is clean, simple, and intuitive.,  The screenshot below shows my personal Evernote desktop edition which I run on my Windows laptop.  The left hand side of the window shows the organizational structure of your notes, including the collection of your “notebooks” and the tags associated with each notebook.  In addition, the left hand side also includes the searchable file attributes and saved searches for your notes.

The middle portion of the window includes the actual notes and web clippings I have collected.  This particular screenshot is showing some of my “To Read” articles.  You have multiple options for how our notes can be displayed; List, Snippet, or Thumbnail.   I have the ‘Snippet’ option selected for this screenshot.  The far right windows show the contents of the note that is currently selected.

Above the main window you have the main menu bar, a secondary menu bar, and shortcut bar that allows for easy access to thing like opening and formatting files, syncing files, and accessing quick searches like notes that were collected from you mobile device or web clippings.

Evernote User Interface

Evernote Desktop User Interface

The web interface is similar to the desktop application, but has fewer capabilities, as shown in the image below.  From my experience, Evernote does a good job synchronizing between the desktop, mobile and the web versions. If you make a change one device (a smartphone for example) and access it from another device (a laptop for example), everything should be consistent across the devices.

How I Use Evernote

Although I am not a power user, I have found Evernote to be extremely useful in keeping track of many things in my online life.  I mainly use it for two purposes:  Notetaking and Article Clipping.  Because of its syncing capabilities I find it to be very useful for jotting down ideas, action items, and other lists on any device knowing that it will be backed up and accessible by all my other devices.

The article clipping feature is also very cool and useful.  I use the Google Chrome add-on to clip any article that I find interesting and then later access it on my laptop or tablet.  Its even available off-line if you happen to be somewhere where wifi or data access is not available.

Even with my limited use of Evernote I can see its potential in searching by any of the tags or attributes that are assigned to your notes.  I can see myself expanding my use of Evernote over time.

In Conclusion

Evernote is an interesting program that fills a need in the mobile world – the ability to create, access and sync  notes, pictures, articles,and  voice messages to yourself across all of your computing devices.  The management team of Evernote has a long-term strategy and a product that continues to expand in its capabilities.  I would highly recommend everyone check it out – let me know what you think!