Evernote for Mac helps you organize your digital life

Evernote has long been a popular way for people to take notes and archive important information. If you've never used it, here's an introduction to the Mac version of the software, and some tips on why you might be interested. By the way, Evernote is free to start with, so you can get try it out without paying a dime.

Evernote isn't just an application — it's a service. In order to use the app you need to create an Evernote account that serves as an active online repository of all the data you enter using the app. But this makes it a breeze to synchronize your content between devices, and Evernote is practically ubiquitous: In addition to the Mac, you can download it for iOS and for other platforms like Windows, Android, Windows Phone and more.

Evernote divides content into notes and notebooks; notebooks are collections of individual notes. I've set up separate notebooks for home, work, and projects that I'm working on.

The individual notes in each notebook can be free-form text, ordered and unordered lists (including checkbox lists, if you're picking up groceries, say, or supplies for a craft project) and more. You have extensive control over text formatting, and you can also include audio snippets, images, even snapshots using your Mac's built-in camera.

Evernote isn't just for typing and recording words. It works equally well if you have images you want to save (and notate). If Evernote isn't the active app, you can just drag an image into the Evernote icon on the Dock and it'll import the image too. This is great if you're collecting images for inspiration or later collation and collection and just want to grab stuff and go quickly. There's also an Evernote Web Clipper extension you can install for Safari and other browsers that will help you capture text and images from web sites.

Notes can be tagged so you can group and find them more easily later; you can also share them with other people using a connection to your own Contacts list; or post them publicly on social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. You'll be notified if and when others make changes to the shared content, if you've enabled that functionality.

This only scratches the surface of Evernote's core functionality, and this is only the "free" version of Evernote. If you choose to pay for Evernote Premium — which costs $5 per month for individuals, $10 per month per user for businesses — you get other features, like the ability to have longer notes, annotated PDF file attachments, improved search functionality, and perhaps most importantly, offline work support.

And because Evernote has long been a popular app, there's a constellation of support for it — including devices that work with Evernote like scanners and pen styluses for the iPad — as well as third-party software that supports sharing with Evernote.

Evernote was updated this past November to take advantage of the new user experience Apple created for OS X Yosemite. The developers also used the new release to introduce other new features like easily resizable tables and images, redesigned interface elements and more.

Hopefully this has painted in broad strokes some of the features Evernote have and some of what Evernote can do for you. At the very least, you might want to give a try by downloading it yourself, since it won't cost you anything (except a few moments of time to set up an account).

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  • Would you recommend Evernote as an all-in-one replacement for Pocket? I use both Evernote for notes and Pocket for web clips to read later. Can Evernote replace Pocket for me? I would love to replace Pocket, since it's rarely used.
  • In my no-way-authoritative opinion, I would use IFTTT in this case to pick up anything put to Pocket to show up somewhere else, eg. A todo list to remind you to read it later.
    Here, I made a recipe to do just that: https://ifttt.com/recipes/244060-pocket-to-do-read-evernote That will keep your Evernote clear of any big web clippings and also allow you to track what you are catching up on.
  • Actually, Pocket and can't replace Evernote, or Evernote can't replace Pocket. Both are different services, with a different purpose. Think of evernote as your All in one digital notepad cum scrapbook. And think of Pocket as website bookmarks for the 21st century.
    I am a huge fan of both services and use them everyday. What I personally do is that if an entire webpage is important enough I save to pocket, add a few tags, and voila! it shows up in Evernote (this magic happens through IFTTT).
    However if only a few paragraphs are needed, I save it directly in Evernote.
    Evernote also excels when you have to make use of a webpage, i.e.- adding comments, annotations, etc.
  • My workflow is basically this, but I'll add that the way I look at the two is like this: Pocket is more short-term storage for just about anything I want to come back to later. Evernote is my mid- to long-term storage that may include things I read via Pocket and want to keep even longer.
  • Does Evernote actually capture the webpage or is it just capturing the link to the page? I believe pocket captures the page, so if the page were to disppear from the web, I could still read it?
  • You can choose to take just a link or the whole page or just a paragraph with the Evernote Web Clipper.
  • Nice article, Peter. I use Evernote all the time - for brainstorming about documents I'm writing, for taking notes in phone calls and meetings, or any time I need to record thoughts. My one complaint with it was the ugly user interface, but with the new refresh, it is now gorgeous.
  • "Windows, Android, Windows phone and more". If you typed the word 'Blackberry' would you die? Sent from the iMore App
  • Blackberry doesn't have general support, its limited.
  • Evernote has become an essential part of my life, organizing both formatted and freeform information, including pictures. It's ability to capture web sites is easy as pie, and you can put ANYTHING into it by simply emailing it to your Evernote e-mail address, which is simple, because when I start to type "Evernote" into the "To:" line on the email, it remembers, then shows up in Evernote on my Mac, iPhone and iPad.
  • Be forewarned, now matter it how useful you might find Evernote to be, it's of no use at all if you use their dual-authentication method for login verification, and your phone number changes, and the phone number used for dual authentication doesn't reflect that. I found this out the hard way with both my Evernote Premium account and my Evernote Business account (of which I am the administrator). First of all, you can't call them for support if this happens, you have to open a support case -- it took just over 4 weeks before I got a response. After waiting all that time, the response was 'we can't do anything'. For my Premium account it wasn't a huge issue -- I switched it all over to Microsoft OneNote (which turns out is overall a better option). The business account is another story -- should the primary user of that account also be locked out it would be a massive problem. Thousands of notes and client data would be inaccessible, still trying to resolve that. Tech support really should be part of any review, especially so when it's related to a cloud based service. The inability to reach anyone by phone and a 4 week wait for a response that basically informs you that you're screwed makes Evernote an unacceptable option for a business solution. I'm surprised a tech blog wouldn't make this part of their overall service evaluation :-(
  • Hey, you should use the Backup Codes they provided.
  • I have been a fan of Evernote for a few years now. Upgraded to Premium within 3 months of first use. Love that it is my brain for storing all kinds of work and personal information.