An app that clips Web pages, snips emails, writes notes and synchronizes across platforms
By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.
“Friends don’t let friends print emails.” That statement, made by a presenter during the American Bar Association’s Tech Show, struck a nerve. But printing, whether the item is an email, a reservation confirmation, directions or the contents contained on a Web page, is a habit that is hard to break.
As part of my ongoing quest to break my own paper addiction, I recently downloaded the free version of Evernote, an app with the slogan, “Remember everything.” Evernote allows you to clip Web pages and emails, write notes, take photos and grab screenshots. The information can be organized, tagged and then stored in the cloud. The app works with multiple devices including smart phones, laptops, iPads and desktops. And it synchronizes information across devices, bypassing the need to email information to your own account.
I decided to see how it would hold up as a travel tool for the recent ABA Tech Show in Chicago. Instead of resorting to my usual practice of compiling all of my travel-related documents such as reservation confirmations, directions and conference itinerary into a manila folder, I skipped the process of punching two holes into paper and filing them into one folder, and relied on Evernote instead.
During the programs, I used Evernote to jot down new ideas that I wanted to follow up on after the event.
Here is a summary of the uses I found for Evernote before, during and even after the trip.
Clip emails confirming reservations.
Once I downloaded Evernote, the app added a button to my Outlook tool bar which made clipping emails and storing them a snap. After I received an email confirming my hotel reservation, I selected the “Add to Evernote 4” app. A window appeared that allowed me to title the email, assign a tag and select the Evernote notebook where I wanted to file the information.
I chose to tag the information “techshow” and after I clicked on “Add note,” the information appeared in my iPhone and on my laptop.
Capture helpful Web pages.
Because I didn’t stay at the hotel where the conference was held, I needed walking directions from my location to the conference. Before leaving town, I tracked down the directions using Mapquest. But instead of printing out the results and filing them in my manila folder, I used the Evernote tool in my browser to clip the page and add it to my Evernote notebook.
I also added the TechShow’s schedule to my notes. Because the ABA has it posted online, I could clip it, tag it and add it to my growing collection of information.
Record notes and store on multiple devices.
Inspiration doesn’t always arrive on schedule. When a new idea pops into my head, I need to record it. If I don’t, there’s a good possibility I will forget. During the Tech Show, I had a number of new ideas for Lawyer Tech Review posts that I wanted to remember. Instead of writing them down in a notebook, I opened the Evernote app on my phone, typed out my thought and assigned it an LTR tag. As new ideas occurred to me, I added them to the note.
This process worked well, very well, capturing my thoughts on both my laptop and iPhone. The one gadget that could have made the process even faster and easier would have been an iPad keyboard. As I noted in our recent post, “How an Apple iPad Keyboard and an iPhone Made for One Happy (and Mobile) Lawyer,” docking the iPhone into an iPad keyboard can boost your typing capabilities.
Another Evernote bonus is the ability to record short voice notes. While walking back to my hotel, I recorded a few additional posts ideas using my iPhone. That voice note was saved as a wave file.
The Evernote verdict.
Evernote at a Glance
- Easy tool for clipping emails and Web pages
- Information synchronizes across devices
- Tag items for organizing notes and saved items
Overall, Evernote allowed me to skip the travel folder. If I had integrated a keyboard with my iPhone, I would have used the app more extensively to take notes during the conference. And, of course, there are many additional uses for the app and a premium version that provides even more tools. I easily access the notes I made during the trip as I plan upcoming posts for Lawyer Tech Review.
Do you use Evernote? If so, what are some of the ways you are putting it to use in your practice?