Talk Nerdy to Me: Evernote

by Rachel on July 19, 2011

I spent several hours this weekend setting up my Evernote account. I can’t lie — I’m a woman obsessed.

What is Evernote? Well, basically, it’s the best way I’ve found yet to keep track of all the shit I look at online.

Here’s the thing: I’m plugged in to a lot of devices. I’ve got the work computer, home computer, Android phone, and iPad. And while it’s so convenient to always be able to access the web, staying synced across all those devices is really challenging. I’ll read something on my phone or iPad (where I typically read blogs for pleasure) and then I’ll waste a ton of time looking for it on my home computer because I can’t remember exactly how I saved it. Did I bookmark it? E-mail it to myself? I don’t knowwwwww!

Up until this point, I’ve been using two systems to bookmark content I want to access on all devices: starred items in Google Reader and Pinterest.

Starring items in Google Reader is a great solution…except it doesn’t work for items I don’t read via RSS — a considerable amount.

Pinterest is fabulous for creating inspiration boards of related items…except the app and mobile experience just doesn’t work, making it impossible to use on iPad or on my phone. Pinterest is also a more public experience, and some things I bookmark I don’t feel like sharing with the world. Also, Pinterest is great for sharing pictures, but text and links? Not so much.

Enter Evernote.

That is the view from my Evernote dashboard on my home computer. I also have it installed on my work computer and I have the apps on my iPad and my phone.

How I use Evernote:

1. I set up different notebooks for everything imaginable. Recipes. Fonts. Weddings. Christmas. Lots and lots of notebooks! I’m always adding more.

2. When I find something I like, I create a new note in the appropriate notebook and add the item. I can add entire blog posts (there is a toolbar plug-in that makes it easy to do from your desktop), links to blog posts, pictures I see online, pictures I take (this is great when I take a picture on your phone of something I want to remember for later!), Tweets, text notes I type, notes I write on the iPad with a stylus…pretty much anything and everything I could ever want to revisit later.

3. I tag the note. Tagging is a great feature and it’s key to staying organized. You can have tons and tons of specific tags. So when I want to find something, I can just search your tags. Where is that cute serving tray I saw last year? Searching through tags like “at home” and “entertaining” and “dishes” will help me find it.

OK, still with me? Let’s break it down even more.

Sometimes I put similar items in one note. My Christmas notebook could have one note that is a bunch of pictures and links to Christmas recipes. But I probably won’t do that because I know that I’m going to have a ton of Christmas recipes and it would be too messy to have it all in one notebook. If that’s the case, I have two options:

Option A: I can create a new Christmas Recipes notebook and make each recipe an individual note.

Option B. I could create individual notes in the Christmas notebook and add tags like “recipe,” “cookies,” “Christmas cookies,” “recipesthatgetyouwifed,” or “I get fat just looking at this but OMG!” Then come December, I can just go to those tags to easily find all the recipes I’ve been saving.

The best part?

It’s all stored in the cloud, so no matter where I add a note, it’s automatically there on my other devices! So I’m no longer left searching for something I read on my college laptop a year ago when I’m on the go.

Even if you’re not a multiple device person — even if you only use one computer and still have an AOL e-mail address (hello, Mom!) — it’s still worth it to have one place where you save things. It’s way more organized than any bookmarking system can be, and when you eventually get a new computer/switch from AOL to Firefox/lose your phone/get an iPad, you won’t lose all your stuff.

You can also share notes with people via e-mail and social media. So if you’ve got a sweet “recipesthatgetyouwifed” notebook, you can just click a button to share it with your friends, and you have the option to let them add to it too. Yay collaboration!

There are also tons of Evernote apps, so once you start using it, you can find apps that help you do even more specific things that may be exactly what you need while in college or working in your industry. They are posted on the Evernote blog and there are some pretty amazing ones.

Evernote is free up until you start uploading too much content. Putting a ton of high-res pics into notes will use more space, but even if you have to upgrade, a premium account is only $5 per month. $5 per month!!!! So cheap for what you get.

I’m no early adopter; they have like 10 million users already. But I never knew exactly what it was, so I just got on board.It’s so nice to have a visual scrapbook of everything I want to remember that I do online. I don’t have to print stuff, e-mail it to myself, or wonder where I bookmarked it. I spent a large chunk this weekend cleaning up all my old bookmarks on all my devices and getting them into one place. Nerdy? Yes. But organization + great design + technology gets me off.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Abbey July 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

I saw your original tweet about evernote, and decided to take a look. Its brilliant!


2 Laura July 19, 2011 at 10:39 am

You’ve convinced me…


3 Brandi July 19, 2011 at 10:54 am

I love Evernote! I’m a little ridiculous with it but it keeps me so organized.


4 Emily @ Relishments July 19, 2011 at 10:55 am

I’ve been obsessed with Evernote for a couple years now and have written a couple posts about it, including this one from my original discovery: I’ve got over 1600 notes now and a lot of them are recipes. The search function works perfectly, so I can easily search by any ingredient I’m looking to use. When I got my new Android phone last week, it was the first app I downloaded. Welcome to the club!


5 Sarah V July 19, 2011 at 10:55 am

Been using Evernote for a while now and it just keeps getting better with each update! I don’t know how I survived without it.


6 marie July 19, 2011 at 10:55 am

yay- thanks for this! I have it on my iPad wasn’t sreally sure what to do with it!


7 Danielle July 19, 2011 at 10:56 am

I LOVE EVERNOTE. Greatest app ever! I use it to store online recipes, and keep track of online articles, videos, books etc, that I want to read or watch in the future. The best part is I can share my recipes notebook with my friends so they can see what recipes I have found lately. It is the greatest tool I have found I think.


8 Mel July 19, 2011 at 11:07 am

Cant tell you how many times I’ll find something at work and try with no avail to find it at home! I started just gmailing myself links and archiving them but I really really like how convenient this makes everything.


9 Liz @ IHeartVegetables July 19, 2011 at 11:16 am

Wow I’m totally checking that out! I need a way to get my stuff organized!


10 Eunice July 19, 2011 at 11:45 am

Thanks for the thorough explanation! I’ve had Evernote on my phone and iPad for months and had no idea how to use it. I’ll probably be referring to this post a lot to figure it all out. :)


11 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat July 19, 2011 at 11:54 am

Thanks for the Evernote 101… I’m definitely not using it as efficiently as I could be!


12 Dori July 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I used to have this but I never made use of it, so I deleted. Is it really bad that I am just TOO lazy for this?


13 Sam July 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm


That’s exactly what my starred items in Google Reader looks like right now. Because I STAR EVERYTHING. So now having a way to sort it will make my life 10 times easier.

The worst part? The worst part: I have Evernote on all of my devices and never use it. For shame, seriously.

You just convinced me to go home tonight and try it out. Thank you!


14 Alli July 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Oh no. Now I have to sign up for that! More time to waste at work I guess. :)


15 Bronagh July 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Thanks for this post – like a few other commenters, I have Evernote on all my devices but I hardly ever use it! This has given me the inspiration to use it more effectively!!


16 Stephanie @ LoveLaughterLight July 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm

This will be SO handy! I’m constantly bookmarking and emailing links to myself. Thanks for the info and review, Rachel. I can’t wait to try it!


17 Emily @ Comfortable Home Life July 19, 2011 at 6:52 pm

I freaking love Evernote. Yay for tools that contribute to my internet obsession! :)


18 Liz July 19, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Thanks for this post! I’ve looked into Evernote in the past, but I never thought it’d be useful. Now I can’t wait to use it to get all my recipes and misc bookmarks organized.


19 Becky S. July 19, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Thank you for the suggestion! Like you, I really wanted a pinterest account, but didn’t want my name and picture associated with every image I save. Thanks again! xoxo


20 Kelly July 19, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I saw your tweet about Evernote and got curious about it. Now, I’m loving Evernote. :) This is definitely worth checking! Thank you for the review Rachel.


21 nikkiana July 20, 2011 at 2:59 am

Evernote has become one of my favorite things for sure. I don’t personally use it so much for bookmarking things, but I tend to use it more as a journal. Often times first drafts of blog posts are put there, stories that I’m not ready to share with the greater world, song lyrics… I absolutely love the microphone feature. Often times with song lyrics I’ll record myself humming the melody line. It’s great!


22 Caitlin July 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

You have single-handedly just changed my life. I have an excitement/fear to check this out. I thought Pinterest was bad…oh man, this is going to be so.much.worse.

Thank you.


23 Rachel July 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Oh you just wait. JUST WAIT.


24 Tracy July 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm

I’m completely convinced! I was just thinking that bookmarking recipes has gotten completely out of control, I can’t find a damn thing…not to mention travel plans and itineraries…or crazy long papers with an absurd number of sources. This sounds perfect, Thanks Rach!!


25 Ron Toledo July 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Hello Rachel,
This is Ron from Evernote. Thanks so much for putting together this post and sharing the ways you are using Evernote. We really appreciate you taking the time to share with your users. Glad to hear it’s working out for you. Let me know if you have any questions or feedback.



26 Rachel July 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Oh, Ron, hearing from you totally makes my day! And makes me like Evernote even more!!


27 Dallas July 21, 2011 at 12:05 am

Evernote wins! AMAZING. This feels like it’s life-changing.


28 mysskay July 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Evernote…I’m going to have to check this out! #latepass


29 Katy July 20, 2011 at 9:34 pm

I started using it for work and have slowly started using it for personal stuff.
Goodbye ugly yellow Outlook notes. You never did keep me organized.


30 Jen @ keepitsimplefoods July 21, 2011 at 7:24 am

Ooooh, this is very handy! I’ll have to look into it.


31 Dallas July 21, 2011 at 7:54 am

Am I the only one who’s going back to all of my bookmarks and reorganizing them using Evernote!?


32 Rachel July 21, 2011 at 9:08 am

Nope. I did that. I’m not done yet, but it’s a work in progress…and feels SO GOOD!


33 Fit Girl July 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Evernote and google docs!! All a girl needs sweets!!


34 Ginny July 27, 2011 at 1:29 am

Thank you so much for blogging about this wonderful program! You explained it so clearly, and I found your suggestions very helpful. I love this program, and it is just what I’ve been needing.


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