Thought Leadership

Evernote hints & tips

By Colin Walls

A while ago, I wrote about Evernote – the cloud computing platform that I use all the time. Although most valuable when I am traveling, Evernote helps me on an everyday basis too, as it lets me access and update information from all my “toys” – PC, iPad and iPhone.

Evernote is available free of charge. The free version gives plenty of capability for most users, but this can be enhanced for a modest month/annual fee. Having used the software/service for quite a while now, thought that I would share a few hints and tips …

The idea of Evernote is quite simple: You create one or more “notebooks”, each of which contains a number of “notes”. A note is a plain or formatted text document, which can include hyperlinks and attached files of any type. This is all stored online and can be accessed from any browser. Quite powerful apps are available for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone and Android, which enable a synchronized copy of notes to be maintained locally and, hence, accessed offline. Notes may be tagged, which enables an arbitrarily complex organization scheme to be applied, that, along with powerful search and filtering tools, means that any note is easy to find.

I typically have a note for each event, trip, article, blog post etc., along with others that just hold useful static information. Having used Evernote for about 2 years, I have developed some effective ways to use the tool and want to share some of my findings:

  • Notes can be sorted in a variety of ways, but I normally sort by title and use the title text to drive the order. Often I am dealing with date-oriented information [trips, events, blog posts …], so I start the title with the date in the form YYMMDD which sorts nicely.
  • If you want to force a note to be sorted to the top, just add a hyphen [“-“] to the start of the text.
  • It is useful to create hyperlinks to websites [using “HTTP:///…”] or email addresses [using “MAILTO:…”], but it is not clearly documented that you can also link to files/folders on the local system using “FILE://…”. there are times when this is preferable to attaching a file to a note.
  • The Windows [and I would guess Mac] Evernote client has extensive drag & drop functionality. For example, you can drag a tag onto a note or a note onto a tag with the same effect. Similarly, you can drag a note onto a notebook to move it there [but not vice versa, as that would make no sense].
  • Again, in the Windows version, you can easily select multiple notes in order to tag/move/delete. Just click on the first one and then use CTRL/click and SHIFT/click in the usual Windows fashion.

I think that is enough to be going on with. I have more tips that I will share another day.

If you are using Evernote and have ideas to share or queries about any aspect of using it, please comment or email.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at