I started using Evernote about 18 months ago (you can read my original post on the subject here) and I wanted to revisit the topic with some tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way, as well as highlight some new features.
Evernote really has become more and more useful over the last 18 months, as the company has added new features, acquired companies, and as third parties have built apps to work with Evernote. Some of the features I’m finding most useful are:
Stacks are a way to organize notebooks into groups. If you are a OneNote user, Evernote stacks are akin to a OneNote notebook with Evernote notebooks like OneNote pages. Each notebook can have as many pages (like OneNote subpages) as you want. Stacks provide an added level of organization. For example, I have a “Genealogy” notebook stack that currently contains five notebooks:
- Genealogy – General: this is for stuff that is related to Genealogy, but doesn’t fit it into any other notebook.
- Langston Research – this is a research project
- Patterson-Chapman notes – another research project
- Stroud-Curtis notes – another research project
- US-REC Study group – everything related to – you guessed it – the US Records Study Group of which I’m a participant and co-leader.
You can imbed links from any Evernote note into any other note (and into outside apps, like calendars, I understand). One way that I use this is when prepping assignments for US-REC Study Group. As I find things related to a topic, I can clip them into Evernote. I also have one master note for the assignment and include links to all other notes – sort of like an interactive outline.
Evernote has had checkboxes that let you make to-do lists for quite awhile. But I’ve recently learned that you can add a checkbox to anything in any note (as opposed to creating a separate to-do list). Using a search on todo:false brings back all the blank checkboxes. So, for example, if I found a webinar that I want to attend, I can clip the the webpage (or a portion of the page) and add a checkbox to that note, with a line to register for the webinar and the date.
Evernote Clearly is a browser add-in that lets you strip out all the “clutter” on web pages: headers, sidebars, etc. While this makes for a simpler reading experience, I really like it for clipping web pages. In addition to the Clearly icon, you get a little sidebar with the Evernote elephant icon. Clicking the elephant clips the web page from Clearly without all the extra information, that you don’t necessarily want in a web clip.
Emailing into Evernote
There are a couple of tricks I’ve learned that make emailing into Evernote more efficent. Add @notebookname and/or #tagname into the email subject line and the email is automatically filed where you want it to go. This means you don’t have to deal with it again when you go into Evernote. I can use this to forward emails I’ve received or to email new files or web clips into Evernote, if I don’t have access to Evernote at the time.
An example of how I regularly use this is with email newsletters. I keep a notebook with the newsletter name and automatically forward the newsletter into Evernote with @NewsletterName. Then, I have access to the newsletter to read at lunch or when waiting, etc.
These are some of the ways that Evernote assists me with my genealogy research. What are some of your top tips for using Evernote?