Teach me the mysteries of the cult of Evernote!
April 24, 2013 12:59 PM   Subscribe

So, I've got evernote and now I have evernote premium for a while. I'm using evernote from a phone and a tablet as well as several mac/windows computers. What can I do to make this all more awesome? Suggested best practices for tagging things and organizing? I work in IT as a network engineer if there are any specifically useful angles, there. I'm not part of the GTD cult, so specific Evernote/GTD things aren't that appealing for me; I am a casual Omnifocus user, though.
posted by rmd1023 to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 117 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This lifehacker post got me to start using and appreciating Evernote. The main thing really does seem to be to make sure you install the webclipper on your browser(s) of choice and use it prodigiously. The clipper does a really nice job of grabbing the relevant parts of a page, letting you use that right in Evernote, but also includes a link just in case.

I've also exported my pinboard data and imported it into Evernote, so everything I need is in there now.

Evernote is also awesome (again, via webclipper) for storing pdf based articles, which really helps for doing research.
posted by ursus_comiter at 1:10 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Though I also heard about this from lifehacker, here are some suggestions for how one dude organizes his tags. There is a GTD component here, but it's easy to see that he uses Evernote for a lot more than just GTD. Naturally, it's shared via Evernote.
posted by cmchap at 1:30 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: IFTT (If This Then That) will setup triggers from one service and glue them to actions on another service. Have a browse through the Evernote recipes.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:32 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I have looked at this previous question as well, but it's been a year so I figure maybe there is shiny new awesomeness
posted by rmd1023 at 2:23 PM on April 24, 2013

Best answer: Yes to Webclipper! That is probably my number one way of getting notes into Evernote. Second is by emailing to my Evernote email address. You can assign an email to a notebook and add tags by appending @notebook and/or #tag to the subject line. I email notes to Evernote instead of starring them in Google Reader, as I know I'll never go back into my starred items (especially once the service goes away!). I also email Evernote important emails from my work account that I'll want to save for reference or as a CYA. It's easier for me to find stuff in Evernote than in my Outlook mess.

I use the desktop version occasionally for a couple of purposes. One is to make note links. Lately I've taken to writing my own travel guides by creating separate notes for all aspects of my trip (a packing list, an itinerary note, logistical info, and sites I want to see, to name just a few) and then I create one master note with links to all of those things. Like a guide book table of contents. It's another way to organize things in addition to (or in lieu of) notebooks and tags.

The second thing I do from the desktop version is drag and drop images into notes. For example, if I'm planning on going to, I don't know, Container Store, I can go on their website, find the stuff I want to buy, and drag the product image from their website into a shopping list note. Or whatever you would want to use this for - to illustrate a travel itinerary, or keep a note with pictures of all the electronics you buy online for insurance purposes, or whatever.
posted by payoto at 2:44 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Evernote is wonderful for anything you want to be able to search later, by keyword or tag. I find the search function really useful for recipes, which I don't have the patience to organize in folders or anything else. So I tag each recipe with a key feature (for example, "cake" or "chicken") and a cooking method ("oven" or "pressure cooker" or "one_pot"). When it's time to cook, I can search for all the cake recipes, or all the one crock pot recipes, or all the chicken crock pot recipes, etc.

To add a bit to @mcstayinskool's comment: IFFT and Evernote are a match made in heaven. You can use IFFT to grab stuff out of any feed and save it to Evernote. I use it to curate a collection of asks. For example, I have it set up to copy any ask that mentions Evernote into Evernote -- that's how I got here.
posted by OrangeDisk at 3:03 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

...so i just used evernote clipper to clip this page.

It seemed appropriate.
posted by mephron at 3:11 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Not specifically what you asked, but I wanted to point out that the sharing feature has been extremely useful for my household. We used to maintain grocery lists, shared travel info, etc. via a household wiki, but since we started using Evernote we do it all there and it's much more convenient.
posted by rhiannonstone at 3:59 PM on April 24, 2013

I can't vouch for the effectiveness of this, but in the store the other day I saw Evernote-enabled Moleskines with smart tags and special background patterns on every page.

My hand snapped out to take a Moleskine and then I remembered I hate Evernote and don't really want to carry a big Moleskine. But I was really tempted to try it.
posted by tel3path at 3:59 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Merlin Mann talked about his specific Evernote habits on his annual return to Mac Power Users. In summary, there's a discussion about whether you should use it as an "everything bucket" or focus on a specific subset of Stuff.
posted by holgate at 7:56 PM on April 24, 2013

Best answer: Evernote is my virtual shoebox, cookbook, meetings notebook, research file...I just got in the habit of dumping everything in there and it gets pretty magical once you pass the point of critical mass.

One thing that made Evernote a million times awesomer for me was getting a Fujitsu ScanSnap. It's a super-fast tiny scanner that has the functionality to immediately dump anything it scans into a new note in Evernote. It literally made my file cabinet obsolete. Now I just scan every bill, receipt, mail, etc that comes across my desk and shred it. About once a month I go through Evernote and neatly tag and label everything, but the OCR search does a brilliant job even without that. Never have had trouble finding what I need.
posted by ninjakins at 5:32 AM on April 25, 2013

I use and love the ScanSnap with Evernote too, but I save the original paper documents because I'm old and paranoid. But I just stick them all together in an accordion folder by month which takes no time at all – if I ever need one I can just search Evernote for it to see when it was scanned and then find it in the folder.
posted by nicwolff at 7:22 AM on April 25, 2013

I get how useful it is to get in a habit of dumping anything important into a searchable resource. But how much of the "magic" is due to that habit alone, and how much is due specifically to the tools available within Evernote? Do folks think they'd see the same benefit from just dumping files into Dropbox or making notes in Google Keep?
posted by secretseasons at 7:45 AM on April 25, 2013

@secretseasons - the power of Evernote, I find, is in its ubiquity. It's on my iPhone, my iPad, my work Macbook, my home PC. My wife uses it, and our notes can be shared between our accounts. Lots of other services (the Web Clipper, Feedly, Pocket, etc.) integrate to it, so no matter where you find something you want to remember, you can easily save it.

Personally, I pay for premium - not so much because I need the extra storage, so much as that I can start to keep other files (like Microsoft Office files) in it as well, so it works a lot like Dropbox for me, but then I can add contextual notes alongside the Office document. (So, if I'm making a presentation for Client X, the .ppt is in the Client X folder in the Presentation note, and then I have notes or a punchlist of what I still need to add to the presentation.)
posted by po822000 at 11:27 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I find that Evernote is fantastic for reference material. I most commonly use it for recipes, but I also have a stack of current and a stack of archived notebooks for projects, and then a third stack of notebooks for general reference material (e.g. what kind of oil my car takes).

I have not found tags to be all that helpful; I generally find that it's better to just use the search feature (much in the same way that I don't bother with labels in gmail).

I find that Evernote is not as great for todo lists or for getting down something quickly. For that I use a plain text editor on my phone or nvAlt on my mac, synced via Dropbox. Evernote is good but it takes a few seconds to start up and when I'm in a hurry that can be the difference between me getting the idea down and me getting distracted by something else and forgetting the idea.

I definitely feel like there's more potential in Evernote than I am using, but I'm also a bit nervous that it's a Roach Motel of a file format. I don't think Evernote is in any danger of going out of business soon, but I didn't think that Google Reader was going anywhere either. I like it and it works really well but I get nervous when I'm relying on a system that isn't open.
posted by JDHarper at 1:34 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I also find the delay a bit of a hindrance for quick notes. One thing I figured out from this thread that I just implemented is using IFTTT to set up an SMS to evernote gateway. So I can text to notes.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:43 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have heard good things about Evernote Essentials but I don't own a copy.

If you are an iPhone user, Drafts just released a new version with a bunch of Evernote features.
posted by Silvertree at 4:11 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

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