Evernote is a suite of software, which is primarily designed for notetaking and archiving, but more importantly with a little work can also become whatever you need it to be. The core software has integration with hundreds of 3rd party apps, meaning you can use Evernote in a range of different ways.
I use Evernote to keep track of all my class notes, department administration, lesson resources and archived e-mails.
It is essentially a giant file-cabinet in the cloud which can be used to store just about anything. You have heard that an elephant never forgets… Well there is a reason why the evernote logo is an elephant.
OK but why not just use a memory stick?
USB sticks are great but they aren't infallible, plus they are dependent on a computer. The biggest advantage of Evernote is that it can be used on any device, anywhere that you have an Internet connection. You can get apps for PC, Mac, iOS or Android and if you haven't got that to hand you can just long in via a standard web browser.
In other words, no matter where I am I have access to everything I place into Evernote.
Notes, Notebooks and Stacks
The organisation of Evernote can be split into three different categories:
- Notes: Notes are like documents, they can contain rich formatted text, URLs and any files you wish to store in Evernote.
- Notebooks: Notebooks can be used to group together notes. For example you could have a notebook called 'Seating Plans', with each note inside containing the seating plan for each of your classes.
- Stacks: Best seen as the 'root' folder of Evernote, it can be used to group together separate notebooks.
The most important thing to remember is that each of these categories is fully searchable; if I were to search for 'Seating Plans' it would show me the notebook called 'Seating Plans', but it goes one step further – you would also be shown all of the notes AND documents, which contain the phrase 'seating plan'. Thats right, Evernote search has the ability to search through every readable document i.e. word, excel and powerpoint documents and pdf files. It is part of the reason why I love Evernote, on every single device I have access to some extremely powerful search tools.
The biggest advantage of tags is that they ignore the boundaries set by notebooks and stacks. For example I may have a range of documents all applying to AS media studies but they are spread between four different notebooks, by tagging them with 'ASMedia' I can easily browse all of those documents.
You can also apply a search phrase to a particular tag, so I could search for question papers but only within the notes tagged as 'ASMedia'.
Right so I can create notes and tag them, but what exactly can I add to Evernote?
The truth is that in the current version of Evernote, you can add just about any file type to a note. The only difference is that Evernote can not search inside some document types or show a preview of the files. For example Photoshop files can be placed a note but Evernote does not have the ability to display a preview of its contents.
Some examples of the types of content which can be uploaded are:
* Scanned documents
* Spreadsheets and presentations
* Scanned receipts
* Photographs / Images
* Web clippings
The only thing you have to be aware of, it that there is a size limit in regard to the notes you create. The free version has a 25mb limit and the premium version has a limit of 100mb.
Hang on! Free and Premium?
You probably noticed the mention of a free version and premium version in the preceding section, you can sign up for a free account which will allow you to get started with Evernote. It provides you with 60mb of bandwidth each month, while it may not sound like a lot it is enough for you to get started and have a play with the service.
The premium version will cost you £35.00 a year or £4.00 a month, it is the premium version which provides you with the more advanced features, such as:
- Presentation Mode: Allows you to present the contents of a note in a large screen friendly layout.
- Add more files: You can store upto 100mb per note and upload a total of 1GB each month.
- Document search: The ability to search inside office docs, PDFs and other documents is only available in the premium version.
- Work offline: One of the best features of premium, it allows you to store your Evernote database offline on your mobile devices. Ideal for when you don't have an Internet connection.
If you are an O2 mobile user, they are currently offering all their customers Evernote premium free for 12 months. You can find out more by clicking here.