Guy Kawasaki (Alltop)
Sep 18, 2009 –
I use a service called Evernote to fulfill my pack-rat and archiving needs. Evernote is a service “in the cloud” that you can dump notes, documents, photos, and tweets into for future access from any computer with Internet access. (Jennifer Van Grove also talks about it in her article.) Here are fourteen uses of Evernote that can help you organize, archive, and share information.
- Take notes. Taking notes in Evernote is way better than searching for that pad of paper that’s lost or at home. It’s also better than a text document on your computer because either you won’t remember the name of the document, you won’t have that computer, or you will have deleted the document inadvertently.
- Take pictures. Got into a fender bender? Take a picture of both cars, the other car’s license plates, and the other driver’s license. Drink a great bottle of wine? Take a picture of the label. See a book that you must read? Take a picture of the cover. Evernote has a great iPhone app that enables you to upload these pictures directly to your account.
- Save documents. When I receive a document (PowerPoint, Word, Excel, or PDF) that I’ll need again, I forward it to Evernote for safekeeping. This is easy because Evernote provides a unique email address to enter documents in your account. I do the same for pictures that people send me. This is very useful when you use more than one computer to create documents or send/receive email.
- Photograph business cards. Rather than collecting a pile of business cards that you’ll never go through, photograph them with your iPhone and send their images to Evernote. Evernote recognizes text on the card, so you can search for names such as “Apple” or “John” when that’s the only thing you can remember about the person. If you’re using Evernote on a mobile phone, it can also geotag the photo so that if you can only remember that you met the person in Cupertino, you can still find it. And you can save trees: When someone hands you her card, take a picture of it and hand it back.
- Track expenses. When you get a business receipt, photograph it, and send it to Evernote. Then you or your secretary can grab it later for expense reports and tracking. I lose many of my receipts, but if I stick them in Evernote, there’s a backup when I need them. If you’re really anal, you can configure your scanner to send your receipts to Evernote so you have great looking scanned receipts.
- Track checks. My bank enables me to see the scanned image of checks one by one, organized by check number. If I knew the check number, I would probably know the payee and amount. Photographed images of checks in Evernote are much faster to find because Evernote recognizes the text so that you can search for it across all your checks. This is very useful when you have a spouse who writes a lot of checks.
- Track deposits. My bank shows me scanned images of checks, but unless I used an ATM that prints a scan of the deposit, I’m hosed. Even then the scanned image is so small, I sometimes cannot read who the check is from. Photographing and storing a deposit in Evernote is a good system even if you only use it as a backup. This is very useful when you have a spouse who makes a lot of money.
- Archive your prescriptions. When I get a prescription, I photograph the receipt of the pharmacy. This enables me to remember who prescribed it, when the prescription ends, and which pharmacy filled the prescription. This information is very useful when I want to get a refill.
- Store your online passwords and receipts. Whenever I buy something online or create an online account, I forward the confirmation or receipt to Evernote. Now when I forget my password, registration number, or date of purchase, I don’t have to go through all sorts of gyrations to recover them. (This happens approximately once per week.) You can, by the way, encrypt portions of documents at Evernote for greater security.
- Retain news and content from websites. As you come across interesting article, use the Evernote web clipper to review and use later. It’s much more likely you’ll read these articles than if you bookmarked it unless you’re a fanatic about processes such as organizing, synching, and reviewing bookmarks. Even if you are, bookmarks often break when URLs change. It’s much better to have captured the article once and for all.
- Record the wisdom of whiteboards. Think of Evernote as a poor man’s Smartboard to convert text on a whiteboard to a digital format. This means that after the enjoyable day at the company offsite, just take a picture of the whiteboard and send it to Evernote. Evernote will scan the text so that you can search for the word “mission” to find the fifty-word mission statement that you promptly forgot. This works for projected slides, too.
- Archive voicemail messages. I use a service called SpinVox that transcribes my voicemail to text and emails me the message. I can then forward the email to Evernote to have a record of the call if I ever need to recall the content of the voicemail or call the person again.
- Dictate your thoughts. The Evernote iPhone application enables you to record your thoughts and then upload it to your account. This is perfect for when you have a brilliant thought and want to ensure that it’s not lost among the detritus in your brain. If you give your secretary access to your account, you could make a dictation on the fly, and he can listen to it back at the office.
- Preserve your tweets. You can archive your tweets by linking your Evernote and Twitter accounts. Then if you include the text “@myEN, Evernote will grab it for you” (not that most tweets are worth archiving). To learn how to do this, click here.
To summarize, here are all the ways you can get notes and photos into Evernote:
- Forward email to your unique Evernote email address.
- Upload text, photo, or voice recordings via an iPhone, Palm Pre, or Windows Mobile phone.
- Drag-and-drop audio, images, PDFs, and files into Evernote on the desktop.
- Attach Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents to an email and send them to your Evernote email address.
- “Save PDF to Evernote” from the printing dialog box.
- Clip websites and blogs.
- Send documents directly from a scanner.
- Tweet text with the string “@myEN”.
- Upload from cameras directly to Evernote using the wireless EyeFi card.
I’d be surprised if you can’t use Evernote in one or more of these ways.