Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why I (heart) Evernote!

Ok, so I've been promising for several months now that I would write about how I use Evernote and why I'm now convinced I wouldn't be able to function without it.  (Thanks to those of you who have kept reminding me that you'd like to hear more about it.  Today is finally your day!) 

So, I love Evernote because...

Evernote helps me capture, organize, and save blog posts I find with ideas I want to try out!  (And it does so in a way that I can actually find them when I want to!)  This is probably the most important and frequent way I use Evernote.
the Firefox web clipper
  • My favorite feature for this is the web clipper, which allows me to basically save a complete image (but more than an image, because it remains edit-able and interactive, with all links live) of the page or article I want.  Once installed for whatever browser you use (I use it in both Firefox and Chrome), it's just a little button on your toolbar that you can push when you find something you want to save!  You can even choose between saving the whole webpage, the article on the page, a selection you've highlighted, or just the url.   I love using the web clipper because then I can actually see the whole articles and pages I saved right inside Evernote, without having to open the page on a browser.  (But the web clipper saves the url with the clip, so if I want to open up the webpage, I can -- like if I want to link to it on a blog post!)
Looking in my "Lesson activities" folder at a note (on the right) created with the web clipper.
my folders!
  • Folders (called "Notebooks" in Evernote) help me keep my ideas organized.  I use fairly broad folder categories to help myself browse through my notes -- "Lesson Activities", "Student Project Ideas", and "Student Resources" are my most-frequently used folders.  These are mostly useful if I just want to scroll through my notes to see what's there, not if I'm looking for something really specific.

    some of my tags
  • For me, the life-saving feature of Evernote when it comes to saving teaching ideas from blogs is tagging.  Whenever I add a new note, I put it in the appropriate folder, but I also I tag it with every attribute of the idea that I might possibly want to find later.  Depending on the browser you're using, you can even add the tags you want and choose which folder you want to save your new "note" in right from the web clipper!  Then when I'm planning and I think "ohhh, I read something about a web tool would be perfect for this project...", I just click on my "web tools" tag and I can find that note easily!  (There's also a search feature where I can search all my notes in case I didn't tag it like I thought, which happens only rarely.)

I can create other types of notes too!  Evernote has pretty much replaced my multitude of sticky notes, emails to myself, and little notebooks in my purses.  My life is now way easier because of:
  • Travel plans: I have a "travel" folder with links to hotels, activities, restaurants, lists of things I want to do, and even reservation/purchase confirmations I've clipped with the web clipper.
  • Lists:  I'm a list-maker, and now my lists can go anywhere.  I can keep and easily add to my lists of blog ideas, materials I need to buy for school, gift ideas for family members, and various random thoughts I need to remember.  Having them in Evernote is a bonus because it means I can include webpage links, pictures, etc. of the things in my list, or even attach files.   (Although for real to-do lists, I use the very-cool Orchestra iOS app and webpage instead.)
  • Quotations: I LOVE collecting quotations.  I used to keep several Word documents of my favorite quotations, but I kept having to email them to myself to add to them or view them when I needed them.  Now I just save them in Evernote and I always have them!

I can access my notes from anywhere!  Obviously, this is what makes all the other features truly amazing.  I can edit and view all of those wonderful things I just discussed from my school laptop, my home computer, my iPod Touch, some random computer at a library or a friend's house... anywhere!
  • Evernote has a pretty good iOS app that I use frequently on my iPod touch. I can view all my notes and create new notes.  Unfortunately, there's nothing like a web clipper to actually save whole articles or pages, so I always end up just copying & pasting the url of articles I read on my iPod.
  • Evernote has great Mac and PC software that make it easy to use on any computer.  (Our district uses Macs but our home computer is a PC, and both versions are excellent and sync with each other perfectly.)  It doesn't matter where I made a note, it's always fine when I view it from any Evernote version!
  • There's even a web version to use just by signing in to the Evernote website, in case I'm on a computer at the library or somewhere else that's not "mine" and doesn't have the software installed.
For more information about using Evernote, check out Richard Byrne's excellent post about to how use Evernote.  You can also find more information on the Evernote Blog.

(All these opinions are my own, and I didn't receive any compensation for writing about Evernote.)


  1. Thank you very much for this, Jennifer. I've tried to use it, but forget & then put the 'things' elsewhere (mostly bookmarks). You've made a good case for using it because it can be accessed anywhere. I will try to make a habit the rest of the summer to use it more frequently. You've convinced me! I'm lately getting into Google Docs more & find it very good also.

  2. I'm going to have to try this. This sounds Amazing!

    1. It is definitely amazing! If I had to choose one tech tool I couldn't live without, it would probably be Evernote! It's made my work life and personal life so much easier.


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