App Of The Week #2: Evernote

This week, we will be reviewing Evernote, specifically for iOS. Most of the features reviewed should be available on your Android device, so there’s no harm in trying it out.

Overview

Evernote is a note-taking app that allows you to take down notes on any of your devices and have them synced almost immediately, to every other device connected to your account. And by any device, I mean any device. There are apps for the web, Windows, Mac, Windows RT, iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android, Windows Phone, and even Blackberry (I know right, even Blackberry).

You can sign up for free here. If you sign up using this link, you get to trial the premium features for a whole month, which would be useful for storing all your existing notes in this service, because it allows you to store a gigabyte of space for the month you are trialing the premium features, as opposed to just 60 megabytes.

60 megabytes is good for text notes; you will likely never run out. You could store about 2 million words with 60 megabytes. However, if you will be scanning and uploading many images, you will likely need more space.

Premium costs 7 bucks per month, or 58 bucks per year, and you can find out more here. It includes OCR text recognition (when scanning documents by taking a picture of it), a passcode lock on notes or notebooks, and 1 gigabyte of uploads per month. This means that you get to upload up to 1 gigabyte of stuff in a month. If you delete a note, it doesn’t save you any space. As long as it’s uploaded into their servers, it counts. But the next month, your space gets reset and you can upload another 1GB. It doesn’t carry over though, so upload as much as you can and don’t hold back.

Features

Simply put, its basic function is to allow you to quickly type in notes and save them, with support for bullet points, automatic numbering, tasks (basically interactive bullet points which allow you to tap on them to “tick” them).

There are other features building on top of the whole note-taking idea, such as snapping images and storing them in the cloud. Not only this, of the photos you take, there are 3 options. Firstly, there is the standard option to just take a photo. Next, there is an option to take a picture of the document, which works like CamScanner, and automatically whitens the image and makes it look more like a document. It also crops the image so that you only get the page, which helps when you want to scan something on the go. Lastly, there is the option to take a picture of a post it note. It’s useful for taking down short notes, such as reminders, and for storing them in the cloud. Or for diagrams or drawings, which you cannot draw straight into Evernote. Penultimate for iPad does this, but it’s only for the iPad, and capacitive touch styluses tend to, well, suck, unlike digitizer styluses like the S-Pen from Samsung, or Microsoft’s stylus pen for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2.

You can also share notes with your friends over AirDrop, or just publish a publicly-accessible link that updates whenever you update the document. In a sense, this is like how Dropbox functions, as documents stored in Dropbox and shared will retain the same link but be updated. However, you need to download the document to view it; in Evernote, the document is viewable on the web, which is easily supported because it’s mostly just text and a bunch of images.

You can use these notes as reminders as well, as the app supports notifications to remind you of things.

Organization System for Notes

Simply put, there are 3 things to, pardon the pun, note, when you are organizing your stuff.

Firstly, there are notes, which are stored in notebooks. For example, an author planning a novel might want to have a notebook called “Characters”, and in this notebook, have a note for each character. Within the note would be all the details about the characters. That way, all your character notes would be in one notebook.

Next, there are stacks. Stacks are bundles of notebooks. You can set a notebook to be a part of a stack, and have many notebooks in a single stack. For example, the above-mentioned author might want to have a stack entitled “Novel 1” or whatever his novel title will be, and within the stack have notebooks for Characters, Settings, Plot, among others. Within these notebooks would be the notes.

Lastly, you can tag your notes, so you can link concepts together. For example, if the author has a character named Doofus, and there’s a setting called Doofus’ House, you can tag both notes with the word “doofus” and eventually when you need to, you can see all your notes with the tag “doofus” and all the notes about Doofus would be there. (For starters, such a potential author should set about answering the question, “why did Doofus’ parents gave him such a stupid name?” inside a note)

Verdict

Get it. Try it. And see if you like it. You lose nothing anyway, and who knows, you might like it. The organization is simple and effective, but only useful if you remember to tag the notes properly and group them up consistently, but if you want a simple tool to take down notes and yet be more powerful than the pathetic iOS Notes application, this is the one.

You can sign up for free here, and get a free month of premium features to test out.

Download it here, for iOS and Android, or everything else.

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