One of Evernote’s many hidden gems is the ability to create templates. Rather than repeatedly type up the same information over and over again, with Evernote’s templates, you can stay organized and keep the focus where it needs to be — on your projects.
With a few basic tips on how to create custom templates, and what kind of templates you can use, you can boost your productivity at work and in your personal life.
How to Create a Custom Template?
There are several ways you can create custom templates in Evernote. Some of these methods require a bit of effort on your part, or you can connect a third party service to your Evernote account to streamline the process.
Use The Native Evernote Method
The easiest way to create an Evernote template is to do it natively in the app. Create a Notebook and call it “Templates” and fill it with manually created templates. You can then make copies of those notes as you need them.
This is probably the easiest way to use templates, but Evernote also has a template file format which you can save to your computer. When you create your note in Evernote, you can export it as an .enex file. As you’re exporting the template, you can choose whether or not to include the tags. Opening an .enex file on your computer will automatically create a new note in Evernote.
If you don’t want to manually change the date every time you create a new note from a template, open up the .enex file on your computer using a notepad app such as Text Edit or Notepad. At the bottom of the note, you’ll need to remove any text between the <created> and <updated> tags, as shown in the screenshot below:
You can also create an Evernote template by using the third party service Transpose. Formerly known as KustomNote, Transpose makes it easier for users to create templates with a WYSIWYG form that you can fill in and send to Evernote.
To understand how the service works and how you can get the most out of it, check out our in-depth review of Transpose. Watch the video below for instructions on how to connect Evernote to your Transpose account.
With Evernote’s collaborative features, you can share your templates with team members or colleagues making it easy for everyone to share the same kinds of information.
6 Evernote Template Ideas to Boost Your Productivity
Think of a specific office or home task you do repeatedly in Evernote. That could be the place to create your first Evernote template. These templates can start out as empty placeholders, but can save you a lot of thinking time.
Here are six of my ideas.
Template 1: Lists
With Evernote, there are many different ways to create custom to-do lists, grocery lists, or any other kind of list that you want to create on a regular basis, and keep a record of information. When you create the first note — you can use a numbered list, bullets, or a checklist which allows you to mark items as done.
The checklist is obviously the best option for a to-do list, but if you prefer you can use numbers or bullets. You can also use this template for daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly goals.
Template 2: Planners
If you’re going to use Evernote as a planner, you will need to download a calendar template. Evernote provides four different kinds of calendars: yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily. After you select the kind of calendar you want to use, click the Save to Evernote button and select an Evernote notebook.
If you choose to use the monthly, weekly, and daily calendars, you can simply duplicate the note over and over in your notebook. Right-click the note and select, Copy to Notebook, and simply choose the same Notebook you are already in.
If you want to be extremely organized, and create a complete planner, you can do this in a few easy steps.
First save the monthly calendar to a new notebook. You will then duplicate the note until you have 12 copies. Rename the 12 copies ‘1 – January,’ 2 – February,’ ‘3 – March,’ etc. Be sure to include the number before each month so that they appear in the correct order.
You can also create a table of contents to access each month from the first page, and be sure to use the prefix ‘0’ so it shows at the top of the list. You can then create a table of contents. Copy the link for each note by right-clicking it and selecting Copy note link. You can then use those links and insert them as you would any link in Evernote.
You can use the calendar template to keep track of your meetings, your goals, birthdays, or anything else that needs to be recorded on a specific date or time. You can also use this template for your goals, if you prefer to tie them to specific dates.
Template 3: Expenses
Whether you’re tracking your expenses for work for reimbursement purposes, or for a personal weekly or monthly budget tracking the way you spend money, Evernote templates can make that easier.
If you’re tracking expenses for reimbursement, create a note with the items you will need to type in that are necessary for submission for reimbursement like location, date, etc. You can then take a photo of the receipt using the Evernote mobile app. Evernote has an example of an expense tracker template that you can use.
You can use tags to keep all the notes in one notebook but keep them organized. You can use tags like Created, Submitted, and Paid, so you can easily see at a glance which receipts are outstanding and which have been paid.
You can also take advantage of the $2.99 iOS app ReceiptMate to supercharge the way you save receipts in your templates. If you’re saving multiple receipts to one note, you can use the app to tally up the total for you:
While Evernote doesn’t make it easy to create a full on budget in the app, you can record personal expenses on the go like any running expenses for work. You can then take that information, complete with photographed receipts, and transfer that into a real budget tracker. Evernote lacks a real spreadsheet tool (you can only create a basic table), so it just isn’t the right app for budgeting that allows you to calculate your savings based on your expenses and bills.
Template 4: Meetings
Aside from keeping track of your meetings in a calendar template, you can also use Evernote to keep a more detailed record of what happens in each of your meetings. Check out our in-depth guide on how to use Evernote templates to manage your meetings. This is one place where sharing your notes and templates with other Evernote users can come in very handy. Each person can log notes during the meeting using this template.
As Bakari points out, the kinds of information you might want to have in your template include attendees, meeting items, decisions and action items.
You can also use Evernote alerts to remind you to share the agenda with meeting participants before the meeting.
Template 5: Log
In addition to logging expenses, there are other kinds of logs you can keep using Evernote. If your job involves keeping track of your phone calls, you can do this with Evernote. The same goes for any type of time tracker. If you have to expense your tasks to various budgeting codes at work, you would need to keep track of how time is spent on each individual task. You can track your time using a variety of time tracking tools on Android, use Mac software for time tracking, or better yet, just use the Pomodoro Technique. You can log that information in an Evernote template.
As is the case with any template, think about the items that you would need in each note and how you want to organize them. For keeping a work log, you can have a note for each day of the work week, and use the date as the name of the note. This is particularly useful if you have to fill out a timesheet for work.
You can also use this method to log the foods that you’re eating, your workouts, and more.
Template 6: Project Management
Evernote’s Project Plan template gives you a basic place to start for keeping track of key tasks and who is responsible for each task.
Depending on how much detail you need in your templates, you can always add more information. You can also use Evernote to create a SWOT analysis template, or even just a basic pros and cons list.
If you’re looking for inspiration, here are a few places where you can find downloadable templates:
How Would You Use Evernote Templates?
Note-taking is about jotting down repetitive tasks. Templates can save you a lot of time and effort. Just a little time spent building your own stock of Evernote templates can do just that.
Do you use any templates for everyday tasks? What are your best ideas for Evernote templates? Let us know in the comments.