"Don't agonize. Organize," implored civil rights activist Florynce Kennedy. But if we may be allowed to take her a bit out of context, organizing -- your notes -- can be agonizing, too. Evernote is a cross-platform app that helps reduce the agony of getting your act together. It has won a large, enthusiastic fan base for its ability to capture and organize just about anything and then access those notes from any device. We've rounded up 14 lifesaving tips to help you get a handle on this powerful tool.
1. Web Clipper
Evernote's web clipper is one of its best features. Use it to capture web pages and save them directly to your notes. You can also save only snippets of web pages that you want. Web Clipper beats cutting and pasting hyperlinks or saving bookmarks, because the page itself is saved. Even if the content is taken down from the web, you still have a copy of it. Similarly, if you share it, the recipient has the page right in front of them -- no links to click. To get started with Web Clipper, you'll need to download a browser extension. Evernote makes that easy too, identifying which browser you're on and getting the correct extension for you.
2. Work Chat
Evernote's work chat creates a private workspace for you and your team to collaborate. You can discuss and share ideas in real time, share editable notes or entire notebooks. It's a fine way to give everyone access to the data and reports they need. You can even invite people who don't yet have Evernote to participate.
3. Share Notes
You can use Share Notes to collaborate with colleagues on a project by sharing a specific note or an entire notebook. You can also control the permission level with the people you're sharing the notes. You can limit their permissions to just view, or you can let them edit the note. Finally, you can grant permission to those you invite to both edit the note and themselves invite other people to view the note.
4. Presentation Mode
Evernote's Presentation Mode is a fast and efficient way to turn notes into slides. Evernote isn't pretending to compete with PowerPoint. But what it will do is save you time. By clicking the presentation icon, your notes instantly go to full screen in an easy to scroll layout. Your cursor becomes a kind of laser pointer so it's easy to see. Plug your computer into a projector and you're all set; you have a slide show ready to go -- and without the extra work of transferring your notes to another program and painstakingly building a presentation slide-by-slide. Unfortunately, Presentation Mode is only available to premium users.
5. Annotate Images and PDFs
Evernote gives you the ability to annotate images and PDFs so that you can highlight important points for friends and co-workers. You can add text, arrows, lines and shapes. You can also pixelate information you don't want revealed, i.e. a license plate number. If you've made a mistake and want to go back and erase your annotations you can select clear annotations. You can also create an annotation summary so colleagues can see your changes quickly at a glance. (This feature is only available for premium users.)
6. Export Notes
No doubt, you've saved some important stuff in Evernote over time. You may want to keep a local copy of everything, if for no other reason than peace of mind. Evernote makes it easy to export and archive notes and notebooks to your PC or Mac. Even if you don't have an Internet connection, you'll still have access. You can also restore these notes to Evernote whenever you like. The process to export and restore notes is simple. Follow these instructions for a step-by-step guide.
7. Email to Evernote
If you have the Plus, Premium or Business versions of Evernote, you can send emails directly to your Evernote account where they will be automatically saved as notes. That's useful if you're working on a project and a customer sends you emails. You can keep all your client's emails together with your project. Evernote provides you with an email address, which you'll need to forward emails to your account. (You can find that in account settings, which you can find with these instructions.) It's a good idea to save Evernote's email address to your contacts so you don't have to remember it every time.
8. Advanced Search Tricks
Storing notes is only half the battle. You want to be able to find them quickly, too. You can use advanced search syntax to search by date, tags, titles, updates, type of media, or even whether or not the note was encrypted. Here's a whole list of search commands.
9. Secure Your Notes
Evernote offers a number of ways to keep your notes safe, secure, and protected. If you are a Plus user or higher, you can use a passcode lock to secure your mobile app, adding an additional layer of security. All users can enable two-step verification. Beyond a username and password, you'll also then need a verification code, typically texted to your smartphone. Online banking is increasingly requiring this sort of two-step process so if you want your Evernote account locked up like Fort Knox, two-step verification is a pretty good way to do it. The following video shows you how to set up two-step verification.
10. Evernote Meets Outlook
Are you an Outlook user? Evernote recently introduced a new add-in for you. Evernote for Outlook lets you save emails or entire threads of emails into a notebook. It improves productivity by letting you more quickly and easily move important emails to Evernote, adding tags and remarks directly to the email before you send it. The email itself is saved as an editable note.
11. Audio Notes
If you don't like to type, you'll love Evernote's ability to record your voice and turn it into a note. iPhone users will be familiar with the microphone icon from texting and you can use that to dictate a note directly into Evernote as well. However, Evernote has its own audio feature which will record audio as an .m4a file. This feature takes you beyond mere dictation and makes it possible to record meetings and lectures. You can even type in the note while Evernote records. The following video from Steve Dotto explains the audio feature.
12. Create a Table of Contents
A table of contents is a neat way to make it easy to find your notes in a given notebook. The simplest way to create a table of contents for your notes is to select all the notes in the notebook. You will automatically see a menu. One menu option will be Create Table of Contents Note. Click on this and a separate note containing the table of contents will be generated. This is also handy for notes you're sharing in a work chat as it gives your co-workers an easy way to access all your notes. You can also create a table of contents using note links, demonstrated in the following video.
13. Stack Notes
Stacking notebooks lets you group notebooks together that share a broader theme. Stacking notebooks merely involves dragging and dropping a notebook onto another. Enter a new name for the notebook stack and click Create Stack.
14. Merge Notes
Notes have a tendency to pile up in a disorganized way if you're not careful. It also may be that a group of individual notes suddenly present themselves as more useful if combined into a single note. Evernote makes it easy to merge many notes into one. Simply select the notes you want to merge, right click and then select merge notes.