Last month when I did this post on my favourite apps I got a lot of questions about Evernote, specifically how to use it! A lot of people have heard about Evernote and think they should be using it but aren’t really sure how to get the most out of it, so I thought I would share with you some tips for using Evernote.
If you haven’t heard of Evernote it is basically a cloud based note taking software. Evernote has apps for your mobile and tablet devices as well as for your desktop or laptop. It can also be accessed through the web interface, meaning your notes are available anywhere at any time (assuming you have an internet connection of course!).
I’m going to share with you 9 tips for using Evernote which have helped me to get organised. To save some unnecessary explanation I’m going to assume that you have a basic idea of how Evernote works. If you need clarification on anything or you want to ask me a question about how it works, please ask me in the comments!! (For info, I have a ‘premium’ Evernote account which is a paid account).
1. Be specific when creating notebooks
Having a notebook for a specific topic can make it a lot easier to keep track of where notes are as well as keeping relevant content together.For example, I have several notebooks for my blog related notes including:
– draft posts
– published posts
Having separate notebooks for this content means that the notebook is focussed and not overwhelmingly large!
(Worth noting – there is a limit of 250 notebooks per account)
2. Create notebook stacks
As I mentioned above I have several notebooks for my blog. I have a ‘notebook stack’ for all my blog related notebooks. This means that they are all kept together and are easily accessible when I look at my notebooks.You can create ‘stacks’ by dragging and dropping one notebook on top of another in your notebook view. This will create a stack which you can rename and continue adding to by dragging and dropping more notebooks onto the stack name.
3. Use note links
Each note has a unique link which works like a hyperlink within Evernote. If you right click a note it will give you an option to ‘copy note link’. You can then paste this link into another note (it will display as the note title) and clicking it will take you to that note.I find this especially useful at work when I can create links to meeting notes within my the notes I use for my daily schedule and to do list.
I made use of this when I planned my European holiday. I had one note with my whole itinerary listed out and had links to the notes with accommodation confirmations making them easily accessible.
4. Use your Evernote email address
Your Evernote account comes with a unique email address that you can use to create new notes. Just email something to your address and it will create a new note in your default notebook with the email content. You can get clever and assign your note to a particular notebook by adding @NotebookName at the end of your subject line (which will become your note title).
I have mine set up to default to my ‘inbox’ notebook (more on that in a minute), mostly because if I forward something from my work email it adds a dissemination limiting marker to the end of every subject line kind of messing up my chances of filing it directly into a notebook.
5. Make use of offline notes when necessary (premium feature)
You have the option of making a notebook available ‘offline’, which means that you can store the latest version of the notes within that notebook on your device (computer, phone, tablet etc.) and view them without an internet connection.This was useful on our European holiday. I made the notebook with all our holiday information available offline which meant I could view it the whole time we were away, even when we didn’t have access to WiFi! This was especially important as it had our whole itinerary and addresses of where we were staying!
6. Create an ‘inbox’ of notes to sort into notebooks
As I mentioned above, I have an ‘inbox’ notebook which I have set as my default notebook. This is where all new notes are created if I don’t have a notebook for them yet, and where pretty much all my emailed notes go. This is the equivalent of an ‘in tray’ or a ‘to file’ pile. Having this means I can create a note without knowing where I want to file it yet and I try to tidy it up every now and then. The best part about Evernote is that even if a note is waiting to be filed in my inbox notebook, I can still find it by searching! So it is still totally findable.
7. Link Evernote with IFTTT
If you don’t use IFTTT (which stands for If This Then That) you definitely should! I love IFTTT and it gets used daily! You can set up what they call ‘recipes’ which are formulas to perform a particular action when a trigger action is performed.
For example, I have my Evernote and Instagram accounts linked to IFTTT and have a recipe that says when I post a new photo on Instagram a new note is created with that photo in an ‘Instagram’ notebook in Evernote. This is a handy way of archiving my Instagram photos so I always have a copy of them!
Another recipe I use is that whenever I receive an email to my Gmail account that has the word ‘receipt’ in it, it automatically sends it to my ‘Receipts’ notebook in Evernote. I have another that sends any email I label with ‘Evernote’ to my Evernote inbox.
It’s a really handy way of having all the technology I use work for me in the background and keeping records of things so I don’t have to.
8. Use Evernote to keep important records
I always have Evernote with me, either through my computer, iPad or iPhone, but I don’t always have my birth certificate, marriage certificate, health insurance number or various other important records or documents with me. Filing these types of records in Evernote means they are always accessible to me. I keep my original copies of important documents in a special folder in our study, and I tend to use the digital versions I have in Evernote if I need the numbers for anything.
I also have a note with my passwords for various websites which has the passwords encrypted for security, meaning that I have to enter a specific passcode to be able to see what is written there.
9. Use the search feature
The search feature is pretty powerful in Evernote. You can search within a specific notebook or do a global search of all your notes. The search picks up text in images and pdfs stored in Evernote as well as the actual text content of the notes so it is a very comprehensive search. I make use of the search function a lot, especially when I am at work as it is so easy to just search for a particular meeting that I had rather than manually look through all my notes to find a reference to it.
Ultimately the best way to use Evernote to organise yourself is to make it work for you! If you can get it to mimic the way you would organise yourself using paper then it will be more successful than if you try to copy any one else’s ‘system’. You can also use tags in Evernote but I use them somewhat sporadically, I know other people have made whole systems of using tags but I just don’t find it necessary for how I use Evernote.
I hope this gives you 9 ways to use Evernote to help you get organised! Please let me know if you have any questions about using Evernote or want me to explain anything in more detail.
Are you using Evernote? Do you have any tips or tricks to share?
If you love this, check out my post on Evernote for bloggers.