This post is part of "Evernote Tips & Tricks," a series of 3 posts. You can start at the beginning or see all posts in the series.

I agree with Sam,

“Evernote is one of the most awesome bits of software ever made.”

And we’re not the only ones. According to Bloomberg Businessweek’s Rob Walker, as of Feb. 2013, “Evernote says it has 50 million users around the world (a third in the U.S.) and is adding 100,000 a day.”

However, because there are so many ways to use it, some folks get overwhelmed as to how to even get started. So, here are some basic tips, resources and a brief review.

Evernote Tips

If you’ve never heard of Evernote, I recommend you head over to Getting Started with Evernote. They cover stuff like installation, account creation, creating notes and setting reminders.

It’s a great place to become familiar with Evernote’s basic functionality, but it’s not as helpful in terms demonstrating the real power of Evernote for productivity, collaboration and workflow.

The Web Clipper

If you have a voracious appetite for online content, you have probably encountered the issue of “saving stuff for later.” The web doesn’t present information to you at your earliest convenience, organized in a way that is likely to make the most sense to you.

This is one of the areas in which Evernote excels.

Obviously, the Evernote Web Clipper is not the only way to save web content. However, because it plays so nicely with Evernote, it’s really one of the most efficient.

evernote-web-clipper

Before you go nuts clipping everything you find online, you should spend some time thinking about how you might want to organize your notebooks and tags. If you’re just using Evernote as an unorganized dumping ground, you’re really missing out on a lot of the features that make it so special (see Evernote + GTD below).

Skitch

In a nutshell, Skitch allows you to easily “mark up” web content you find and send it to Evernote.

skitch

The basic Skitch commands allow you to:

  • Draw arrows
  • Annotate with text
  • Box and circle
  • Highlight with: ‘X’, ‘!’, ‘?’, ‘?’, and ‘&#x2661’
  • Pixelate, redact or blur
  • Crop & resize
  • Change colors

You can also use skitch to take screen shots, share content on social networks and, of course, save to Evernote. Skitch is now available for Windows, Android, Mac & iOS.

Evernote + GTD

To me, Evernote is one of the most effective tools for implementing Getting Things Done (GTD). Unfortunately, Evernote isn’t GTD-ready out-of-the-box. And it might not be completely intuitive to you how to configure Evernote for GTD. Fortunately, there are a couple really helpful posts on the subject:

GTD isn’t a rigid system and you shouldn’t feel compelled to configure Evernote exactly as the authors have above. Personally, I borrowed most of my configuration from Ruud Hein’s how-to.

If you think you might want to configure Evernote for GTD, my advice is to first get comfortable with each independently. That way, one it comes time to implementing GTD in Evernote, you’ll have a good understanding of what you really need and how you work.

It’s also worth mentioning that neither GTD nor Evernote are magic productivity bullets. They take a little work to learn, but more importantly, they require forming habits. Which takes time, practice and persistence.

Evernote Product Updates

If you have checked out Evernote in the past and found that it just wasn’t quite there yet, you should check out some of their most recent product updates, especially if you’re an iOS user.

Evernote Premium? Business?

Evernote is free for individuals. However, they also offer paid premium and “for Business” versions.

The premium version adds offline notebooks, passcode lock, increased storage and better search.

The Evernote Business Video Library has several examples of how business people are using the business version at work. Here’s a helpful video from the library from architect Russell Curtis:

Evernote Business is $10.00/user/month. With the business version, users get all the premium features, plus:

  • User & Data Management – to invite, view and manage other users within a business.
  • Business Library – to collect and share information across your business.
  • Better Support – self-explanatory.

Evernote Resources

I’ve include some of the more obvious Evernote resources below. If you’ve found or penned a helpful resource, please don’t hesitate to include below.

The Evernote Knowledge Base

The Evernote Blog

The Trunk

Discussion

David Allen’s Best Practices Guide for GTD & Evernote

The LAB’s Evernote thread

Lawyers who love Evernote

Evernote for Lawyers Posts

Attorney Andrew Net­tle­man lists Evernote as an app he lives in:

I use Evernote every day and more than any other app I own. The basic version of Evernote is free. Evernote is a conglomeration of a word processor, a checklist app, a photo album, a web clipper and a voice memo app. I write posts for my firm’s blog in Evernote. I wrote this article in Evernote across three days and four counties on my PC, my iPad and my phone. I save web pages and online reference materials with the web clipper. I draft almost every document I create from scratch in Evernote, and I often paste documents into the word processor to use as a template to rework for different clients. The killer feature of Evernote in my estimation is that it automatically syncs to all your connected devices in near real time.

Evernote for Lawyers Guides

My Review of Evernote

If my opinion of Evernote is not already obnoxiously apparent, let me put it this way:

Evernote can fundamentally change the way you consume and store web content, organize your workflow and even manage your practice.

It’s one of those tools that is capable of doing a lot of different things really well, but at the same time, stays out of the way of actually doing stuff.

It provides for one of the best cross-device user experiences, period.

Obviously, since Evernote is a cloud service, there are cloud-ethical issues to consider.

Like everything else online, Evernote is not immune to hacks and security issues.

Before deciding whether or how you might use Evernote at your firm, get familiar with their legal info.

Are you using Evernote? If so, how? If not, why not?

I’m especially interested in hearing from folks who are using Evernote in the context of GTD.

Evernote
Reviewed by Gyi Tsakalakis on Aug 26.
Summary: Probably the most important software I use on a daily basis.
Description: Evernote makes finding, storing and organizing “stuff” simple and efficient. It’s truly remarkable.
Rating: 5

Read the next post in this series: "."