Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Evernote - it just works

I'm always on the lookout for the ideal productivity app, the one that I can use for everything, the one that deserves to reside on the homepage of my iPad. I've tried dozens of them. I've also purchased lots of note-taking apps, but haven't found one that really felt completely comfortable.

I seem to always come back to Evernote.

There are fancier, more elegant apps out there--Evernote is kind of utilitarian--there are apps where you can choose from several different kinds of paper, or even make your own. There are apps where I can create a lot of different "notebooks," and choose pretty covers for them. For awhile, I liked the note-taking apps where you write on the screen with a stylus, and those are fun to play with, and nice for temporary notes, but for keeping well organized notes, I always come back to Evernote.

The main reason why I'm sticking with Evernote is the ability to sync seamlessly between iPad, iPhone, desktop/laptop, and web. I can use the full-size keyboard at my desk and type effortlessly, instead of hunting and pecking on the iPad keyboard, type a note, and then immediately open up Evernote on the iPad, and the note is there. I can edit notes on the iPad, and the edits show up on the desktop version or web versions.

I'm all about things that I don't have to think about, things that "just work." Evernote just works. It's not perfect--for one thing, I wish that you could have folders and sub-folders, so that I could have a "work" folder and a "home" folder, and be able to sort things within those folders, rather than having them all mixed up in separate notebooks. Any topic becomes it's own notebook. You can sort using tags, of course, but that has never seemed to be logical to me.

No, it's not perfect, but it's the best thing that I've found for keeping track of virtually everything--travel itineraries, software manuals, knitting patterns, lists of books that I want to read, meeting notes, photographs of white boards. When you open your Evernote account, you can set up an email address that goes directly into Evernote, so if you have something that you want to be sure to keep a copy of, but you're not near your computer or don't want to be bothered at the moment, you just email it to Evernote. There are also a lot of apps that allow you to export into Evernote; like Dropbox, it's become one of those ubiquitous apps that everyone has.

The one other thing that it doesn't do is allow you to hand-write a note, or mark up a note, but there are other apps that do that, and you can just export them to Evernote to keep a copy. You can save photographs, PDFs, web clippings, and text notes; if you need to save really large files, or need to work with files when you don't have an internet connection, you may want to upgrade to a premium account.

The free account allows you to upload very generous 60MB per month. If you need more than that--maybe you upload a lot of PDFs or large photographs--a Premium membership is $5/month, and allows you to upload 1GB/month.

Crossposted from P3 blog