Mobility

Evernote: The smart person's guide

The age of the notepad has ended. In its place are apps like Evernote, which puts your notes in the cloud so you can grab them from anywhere. Find out everything you need to know about it here.

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Image: Evernote

Pocket notebooks used to be ubiquitous. Novel indexing systems were devised, miniature pens and pencils perfect for pockets were developed, and a variety of small notebooks proliferated.

But that was then. Today the notebook has been replaced by another accessory pretty much everyone has in their pocket: A smartphone.

Most people take their notes digitally in the modern age, and the reasons are obvious: No more messy handwriting, runny ink, lost notebooks, flipping through pages, or poor organization (of which I'm guilty).

With the right app the modern digital note is available wherever you go and whenever you need it. Like with Evernote.

Evernote is a note-taking app for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. It stores your notes in the cloud, giving you access to all of them no matter what kind of machine you're on.

TechRepublic's smart person's guide about Evernote is a quick introduction to this note-taking platform, as well as a "living" guide that will be updated periodically as the app changes and evolves to meet new user demands.

SEE: Check out all of TechRepublic's smart person's guides.

Executive summary

  • What is Evernote? Evernote is a platform-agnostic note-taking app. Notes can consist of typed text, handwriting, images, audio, and video. Notes can be easily shared and accessed on any machine that has a web browser installed.
  • Why does Evernote matter? Evernote may have been one of the first big note-taking apps, but it's a far cry from being unique. Evernote still matters, however, because it isn't tied into any ecosystems except its own, making it more accessible to more people.
  • Who does Evernote affect? Evernote affects anyone who wants a platform-agnostic ecosystem for note-taking and collaboration. That's a lot of people, and an even greater percentage in the workplace.
  • When is Evernote happening? Evernote has been available since 2008. In the past nine years a number of new features and partnerships have improved Evernote to keep it competitive against similar apps.
  • How do I start using Evernote? Evernote is free to download and use, but there are restrictions if you don't pay for premium service. It can be downloaded from Evernote's website and a variety of app stores.

SEE: Video: Why the cloud brings unique challenges to enterprise collaboration (TechRepublic)

What is Evernote?

Evernote is a note-taking app for both mobile and desktop operating systems. It is platform agnostic, allowing users with an account to view their notes on any device with an app—or in the case of unsupported platforms, a web browser.

Evernote is designed for the note-taker who wants a high level of organization options. The app allows notes to be tagged, annotated, sorted, and added to different notebooks. If set up well Evernote can take all the notebooks you use for different things and roll them up into one always-available spot.

Notes in Evernote can be typed, handwritten on the screen, entered as photos and voice memos, and even captured from web pages. Notes can also have attachments in the form of audio and video files, making Evernote not just a note-taking app but also a cloud storage space.

Additional resources

Why does Evernote matter?

It's easy to dismiss Evernote as unnecessary, especially given the existence of platform-integrated products like Google Keep and Apple iCloud Notes. However, no platform integration is the exact reason Evernote matters.

Platform integration means that a coworker, friend, or client who doesn't have access to that platform is locked out of viewing your files. Sure, lots of us have both an iCloud and Google Drive account, but there are plenty more who don't.

Evernote apps are available on all major platforms, and even as a webapp. Universal availability can make collaboration that much easier.

Additional resources

Who does Evernote affect?

It's hard to think of a job that doesn't require at least some time spent on the web or using the cloud for collaboration. Increasing digital collaboration can cause major headaches if everyone is on different incompatible platforms.

Evernote offers a system that's available everywhere, making it ideal for collaboration and personal organization.

Businesses looking for collaborative space are in luck too—Evernote offers a business platform that brings all of its premium user features to the enterprise.

Additional resources

When is Evernote happening?

Evernote has been around since 2008—that's a lifetime in tech terms. By 2011 Evernote had over 11 million users, and the app is now estimated to have more than 200 million users.

Competitive products

Unfortunately for Evernote, what it does is in no way unique; there are a large number of competitive apps, like Google Keep and Microsoft OneNote, that do most or all of the same things as Evernote. In many cases the features behind Evernote's paywall are available for free in competitors too.

Depending on your level of collaborative needs Google Drive may be a better option as well. Professionals aren't always just sharing notes, images, and other files—they may want to share spreadsheets and databases or simply need a space on the web that acts like a typical computer drive.

In short, Evernote's advantages can be found elsewhere except for the one that really matters: It isn't tied into any major OS or ecosystem. If you're looking for something that isn't reliant on Google, Apple, or Microsoft, Evernote is definitely the way to go.

Additional resources

How do I start using Evernote?

Evernote can be downloaded from Google Play, the Apple App Store, The Windows Store, the Windows Mobile Store, and on Evernote's website.

While Evernote is free to download and use it does come with a lot of restrictions: You can only sync notes between two devices for free; you can't access notes offline; and you can upload only 60MB worth of content a month. That doesn't even begin to cover the features you miss out on.

Higher tiers of Evernote cost $34.99/year and $69.99/year. Both unlock more features and higher upload capacities. Evernote Business starts at $12 per user per month.

Additional resources

About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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