Evernote – Part 4

A common way that I use Evernote is for information that I need occasionally, especially those things where having good notes will save me from hassle or will allow me to take advantage of an opportunity. Having the size of my furnace filter handy in Evernote on my phone allows me to pick up a filter the next time I’m at Home Depot, without making a special trip. There are many times when having the license plate numbers of all my vehicles handy has saved me a phone call, or a walk out to the car to see for myself. Here are some more ideas on how Evernote can be used to save you time, or make you more effective:

  • List of information needed to replace various ‘consumables’ in your life:
    • Printer ink cartridges
    • Furnace filter
    • Filters for your car (air, oil, fuel)
    • Batteries for most everything
  • List of books that you want to read, movies you want to watch
  • To Do lists, some recommend keeping to-do lists in 3 Evernote notes, labelled:
    • “Today”
    • “Next”
    • “Someday”
  • Running grocery lists
  • Recipes
  • Gift ideas
  • Names of people that you see infrequently, when you have trouble recalling their names
  • Goals (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annual)
  • Products that you want to remember for later (e.g. food, drink labels), snapping a photo into Evernote and adding annotation works well here
  • Business cards (photo of card + annotation)
  • Notes and research for future blog posts, research papers, homework assignments
  • Ideas and epiphanies
  • Receipts (scanned image + annotation to help you remember the purpose of the expense)
  • Meeting minutes/notes

As I bring this series of Evernote posts to a close, I’d love to hear how you use Evernote. Please post your ideas in the comments below!

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Evernote – Part 3

If you are like me, you trip across things on the web that you want to save for later. The obvious way to do this is to bookmark the page using your favorite browser. Again, if you are like me, it doesn’t take long before you have so many bookmarked pages, the long list becomes unwieldy and difficult to organize. It didn’t take me long to accumulate over 100 bookmarks. What’s more, bookmarks are usually specific to a browser, and to a device (although Chrome and other modern browsers do offer a way to sync your bookmarks across devices). All these issues make it difficult to find something you bookmarked when ‘later’ rolls around.
This is one area where the Evernote Web Clipper really shines. It is a browser add-on (an ‘extension’ in Chrome, an ‘add-on’ in Internet Explorer…) that adds an Evernote Web Clipper button to the top of your browser window. When you see something on the web that you want to save, punch the Evernote button, and choose how you’d like to save it (more on this in a moment). Evernote saves the webpage to your Evernote notebook, and optionally opens the note in Evernote so that you can annotate the stuff you just saved. You can add a note to yourself, tag with keywords, move to a specific notebook – whatever makes it useful for you to find and use later.
Here’s an example, I was browsing Summit Racing Equipment’s website recently, and saw a very cool Serpentine Pulley system for small block Chevy engines. I thought it was a great gift idea for Robin. I clipped a portion of the webpage using the Evernote Web Clipper, and made a quick note on the image to remind myself what was so cool about it (the fact that it has a small/compact a/c compressor).
Figure 1 shows the clipped page that ends up in my Evernote notebook. Again, I

Figure 1
Figure 1

can further annotate this with unlimited amounts of text, and add keyword tags for future sorting/filtering (e.g. ‘gift ideas’, ‘Robin’, ‘Birthday’, ‘Christmas’, ‘Chevy’).

The Evernote Web Clipper is not limited to clipping a portion of the web page, however. It offers the following options that you can choose from when you punch the Evernote button on a page:

  • Article – Save the entire page. Evernote automatically detects the ‘meat’ of the clipperwebpage (the main article), and excludes ads and navigation that may appear on the perimeter of the page. The default selection can be expanded/contracted if Evernote guesses incorrectly about what is important to you on the page.
  • Simplified Article – Save a trimmed down version of the page that is optimized for reading.
  • Full page – save the whole enchilada, ads, navigation, everything
  • Bookmark – save a bookmark link (a URL) to the page only
  • Screenshot – save a selected portion of the page, and optionally overlay on top of the image with icons, highlights, text, etc.


Here’s another example. Figure 2 is a blog entry on Dan Miller’s blog that I’d like to save for future reference/sharing. As you can see, the original page is fairly busy, lots of stuff around the perimeter of the page that I don’t care about saving for later.

Figure 2
Figure 2


Figure 3 is the version of the page that was saved into Evernote using the Evernote web clipper

Figure 3
Figure 3

‘simplified article’ option. You can see how much easier it is to read, and it is perfect for saving in my notebook.











In Part 4, I’ll conclude this series on Evernote by listing some creative ways to use Evernote to become more productive and effective.

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Evernote – Part 2

So what’s so great about Evernote?  It’s a surprisingly rich application for something that has such a simple core function (note taking), but here are the ‘top 3’ things that make Evernote a killer app in my mind:

  1. It runs everywhere.  iPhone, Android phones, Blackberry, Windows Phones, iPad, Android tablets, Windows laptops, PC’s, and Macs.  Even if you have a device that isn’t on the list, or happen to be somewhere without your device (how does that happen anyway?), Evernote is available on the web, and therefore can be accessed with most any internet connected device.  This means that your notes can be available anytime, anywhere.
  2. When you search your notes, Evernote searches both the text in your notes, and your attached image files (pictures).  This is amazingly useful, I’ll illustrate why in a moment.
  3. The Evernote web clipper allows you to clip a complete copy of a webpage, a portion of a webpage, or save a bookmark to a website in your notebook.  This makes it easy to save just the stuff you want to remember from websites that you visit, and annotate that information with your own notes.  More on this in a subsequent post.

A few years back I found myself having accumulated a large stack of business cards.  There were work related business cards from colleagues, vendors and business partners or potential partners.  There were cards from businesses that I have used in the past, or would like to use in the future (house painters, auto detailers, medical specialists, whatever).  I bought one of those leather business card holders, filled it with cards, and carried it in my briefcase.  The problem was that if I didn’t have my briefcase with me, I didn’t have the cards.  On top of that, after a while I decided that the number of times I referred to the business cards was not nearly frequent enough to justify the extra space this biz card wallet took up in my bag.

Once I started using Evernote, the solution was obvious.  I scanned all the cards to image files, and loaded them into Evernote.  This allows the cards to be searched when I need to find one, even if the text that I search for is a word that is in the image.  (see examplebizcard search for the word ‘foundation’).  Evernote also allows me to annotate the business card with my own notes about the person or the business represented by the card, these notes are also searchable.  All the business cards I’ve ever decided to save are now available on all my devices, whenever I might need them.

Evernote can search any image as long as it is a JPG, PNG or GIF format.  The Pro (paid) version of Evernote also allows you to search within Adobe PDF documents that are attached to your notes.  Evernote’s ability to find text in a picture is excellent, but not perfect.  See the example, I was able to search and find the word ‘foundation’ in this business card image, but the word ‘ground’ was not found, because of the funky font.  If you are interested in the tech details on how image searching works, check out this article.

In addition to searches, business cards in Evernote can be sorted and filtered by category or ‘tag’.  Example, I can filter to show only cards related to car repair, work colleagues, friends, whatever.

Getting a business card into Evernote is very simple.  After scanning the card to an image file, right click the file and choose Send To -> Evernote.  It will be imported as a new note in your default notebook in Evernote.  Once this happens you can add additional notes, sendtotags, move it to a specific notebook, etc.

Hopefully it is obvious that this image search capability isn’t limited to business cards.  You could snap a picture of the menu in your favorite restaurants, import those pics into Evernote, and build a rich collection of restaurant menus that are always handy.  The same is true or food and drink labels, frequent flyer membership cards, grocery store rewards cards, images of new guitar chords you are trying to learn, you get the idea.  In part 3 I’ll talk about the web clipper, and some ways it can be very useful.

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Evernote – Part 1

I’m going to share a bit about how I use Evernote, and why I think it is the one app that youevernote_ipad_wallpaper really can’t do without.  I’m an Evernote Premium member, although it took me a while to come to the conclusion that it was worth paying for this service.  At first I used the free version of the app (which isn’t bad mind you), then I decided that I’d try some Evernote alternatives (Catch, others), because I resented the fact that you have to pay for the premium version of Evernote to get offline access to your notes.  Alas, I eventually came back to Evernote, and am convinced that it is the best of the bunch, and continually getting better.  In this series of blog posts I plan to share what Evernote is, and how I use it to manage all sorts of information.  But, before I get ahead of myself…

What is Evernote?  On the surface, Evernote is ‘just’ an app for taking notes.  Evernote describes it this way: “Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web.”

In a nutshell, Evernote allows you to take notes, organize those notes into ‘notebooks’, tag those notes for sorting, organizing and filtering later, and allows you to attach images (pictures) or PDF files to your notes.  What’s more, Evernote runs everywhere (your PC, Mac, Tablet, Phone, Web browser), and keeps your notes synchronized on all those devices.

In Part 2, I’ll dig into some of the features of Evernote that I think make it so great, and talk about my favorite uses of Evernote.


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