1. Home

Discuss in my forum

Evernote Review

An review of Evernote: Is it the right productivity tool for you?

By

Finding the right productivity tools is, ironically, a daunting and time-consuming proposition. In order to help you along, I interviewed tech and productivity guru Lon Seidman. Lon, a frequent blogger, guest on "This Week in Media," and all-around technological renaissance man answers my questions and reviews the ins-and-outs of Evernote.

 

We cover:

  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • How it works
  • Wish list for future versions

1. How easy is Evernote to use?

Very easy. EverNote is on the “Freemium” model where the software and service is free for all users, with more advanced features offered for a reasonable annual charge. There are applications for the PC, Mac, and Mobile devices.

2. Have you used other productivity tools in the past?

Yes, I’ve used a number of personal document management tools and have not until now found something that actually met my needs. I am someone who hates filing and needed a way to store my documents and sync them across all of my computers and devices. Evernote was the first app/service that I found that actually did that reliably.

3. What are your favorite Evernote features?

The killer feature is the syncing. Documents and notes I keep on my desktop PC are instantly synced to my iPad, iPhone, notebook, and the Evernote web service. Other tools I've tried in the past started off great but slowly lost their synchronization reliability and did not have the mobile apps either.

Another important feature is backing up your data. Everything added to Evernote is immediately sent into the 'cloud' making for an instant backup.

4. What about favorite Evernote Premium features?

The premium service Evernote provides will run optical character recognition against PDF images I scan in. It’s a huge time saver. I scan documents on my office copier directly into Evernote (via a special email address) and they show up everywhere completely search-able. What’s really cool is that it will also recognize and index handwritten documents too.

5. Were you able to import previous work/lists into Evernote?

Yes, I was able to drag documents out of my old document management system into Evernote. Very easy.

6. What separates Evernote from Google Docs?

I see Google Docs more as more of a collaborative document creation platform. Evernote is a way to organize all of the stuff we accumulate in the course of a day. Apps on each platform tailor the experience to the device, so it’s a lot easier to add, change, and view documents on an iPad vs. Google Docs.

Google Docs is part of my workflow, but Evernote is better at storing notes and important documents I need for reference. Think of it as a virtual filing cabinet.

7. What advice would you give someone just getting started with Evernote?

Think about what problems you’d like to solve first, and then start using Evernote to try and solve those problems. For me it was creating a reliable ‘digital filing cabinet’ that would allow me to get rid of paper clutter yet have all of those documents at my fingertips regardless of my location or device.

8. Do you primarily using Evernote for work or home projects?

Both. I am involved in a number of companies and also serve on my local Board of Education. As you can imagine the amount of information that each of these activities generate is substantial. Evernote solved the problem of filing cabinets, binders, and other time consuming organization related to keeping track of all of this stuff. Even better is that this entire “filing cabinet” is always available to me on my phone or iPad.

9. What’s your ‘wish list’ for the next version of Evernote?

I would like to see improvements to the shared notebook function. There are times where it makes sense to have a collaborative file of documents. The problem is that document sharing hasn’t been seamlessly executed in the current version. I’m sure that will be something Evernote will improve as they continue to grow.

10. More about Lon Seidman:

Lon is a frequent guest on the popular media podcast This Week in Media. You can read his blog or follow him on Twitter @LonSeidman.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.