Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Hands On – Evernote: Remember everything.

By Matt Mayer on Feb 08 2010 • Filed under Tech Talk

Do you remember the last time you found yourself looking for that one post-it note, important business card, or news clipping that you knew you had, but just couldn't seem to find? Have you been looking for a way to organize multiple different types of information for a single project?
In today's digital age, it can be hard to sort through all of the digital and physical notes, ideas, and data in one place.

Recently I’ve discovered a product called Evernote. Using Evernote, you can capture and organize your data into a digital ‘notebook’. Anything from audio dictations, to whiteboard notes, from website clippings to photos of your favourite wine labels can be captured as ‘notes’. These notes are then made fully accessible to you within minutes from a variety of platforms.

All of Evernote’s features, as well as your notes can be accessed directly from within Evernote’s website. There are also software applications available for your PC, Mac, and most major smartphones and plug-ins available for most web browsers. You can even use Twitter and Email to directly send notes to your account.

Evernote is available in two variations:
– The free version is ad-supported (I found them very non-intrusive however) and although Evernote offers unlimited storage, you are limited to a maximum of 40MB of uploads per month. Depending on the content of notes you are uploading, and how often, you may find this to a bit restrictive.
– For a modest fee ($5/month or $45/year), you can upgrade to a Premium account. This raises your monthly upload allowance to 500MB/month, allows you to remove the ads and adds some additional features and file support.

Evernote supports almost any form of media including:

  • Text-based notes and website URLs
  • Photos from a digital camera, smartphone, or scanner
  • Audio clips or dictation
  • Handwritten notes via a tablet
  • Screenshots, as well as clips of websites captured directly using browser plug-ins
  • PDF documents
  • Videos*
  • Additional files such as Microsoft Office docs and more*

*Available only to Premium Users

One of my favourite features of Evernote is that whenever a note containing an image is uploaded to the Evernote servers, it gets analyzed and any visible text is recognized and made searchable. For example, after uploading a note containing a photo of a business card, you’ll be able to search the name, position, or any other text visible on the card. This allows to you to archive hundreds of business cards and still find the one you want with just a quick search. The analysis process can take a bit of time, however. In my experience it took between 5 – 45 minutes, depending on the server load. This can be reduced by becoming a Premium user as your notes will have higher priority. During this time, you can still full access your note, but any text it contains will not be searchable until the analysis is complete.

One downside to Evernote is that it seems to have some difficulty recognizing sloppy writing or blurry/underlit images. I was also unable to get it to recognize the majority of cursive script.

Expert Tip: Although Evernote doesn’t transcribe audio into text, if you have an iPhone try using the free ‘Dragon Dictation’ app I talked about in my previous article. This app will let you dictate your note to your phone, copy the transcription text to the clipboard and paste it into Evernote, allowing for searchable, readable notes.

Another great feature is Evernote’s ability to share a single notebook and collaborate with others. You can choose to share it with a specific person, or make it publicly available to anyone via a link. Have a birthday coming up? Share your list of your “preferred birthday gifts” with your friends and family. This sharing feature is limited to ‘read-only’ for the free version, however upgrading to a Premium account allows you to grant add & edit rights to a notebook as well.

Some additional features of Evernote include:

  • Geotagging support
  • Searchable PDF*
  • Access your notebooks offline from you iPhone/iPod*
  • Additional SSL security encryption*

*Available only to Premium Users

Overall, my experience with Evernote has been a positive one so far, and it’s definitely a product that I will continue to use in the future.

Tech Talk is always on the lookout for new and relevant tech-related articles to bring to you. If you have a suggestion for something you would like to see on this blog, please feel free to contact me at matt@entrepreneurialwoman.ca or by leaving a response in the comments below.

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