I’ve never been much of a “notes” type. Every time I try out a new notes management system, I usually give up using it within just a few weeks. I found Mark’s article on Evernote’s integration with Android pretty compelling, so I had to give it a shot for a short time. We’ve also covered a lot of other note-taking apps including Firefox plugins and all sorts of other tools.
After testing out five or six different apps, I eventually gave up on the whole online note-taking thing. Maybe it just wasn’t my style, and I found it very hard to remember to go back and check my notes.
This is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover GumNotes.
GumNotes is a new desktop application that goes beyond note-taking and actually reminds you about your notes when you need it most. The name reveals the purpose of the app. It’s like taking a note, slapping gum on the back of it, and attaching that note to your document, website, application or anywhere else you need to jot down a quick note.
Attaching Notes To Any Document
The concept is pretty simple. Whether you’re using email, Microsoft Word, Excel or even just about any other application on your PC, you can instantly open up a note box, jot down some ideas or reminders for later, and then save the note. The note gets “attached” to the document or email that you were working on.
You can do the same thing if you’re typing up a Word document and you come up with an idea for future research efforts. Instead of letting the idea slip away – open up GumNotes and jot down your ideas before they disappear.
The beauty of this app is that you don’t ever have to remember where you stored the note, and you don’t have to remind yourself to go back and review your notes. Whenever you come back to the document, email, spreadsheet or whatever else you were working on – the GumNote app that’s running in your system tray issues a pop-up with your attached note, as a gentle reminder.
There is really no configuration or work involved in getting GumNotes to work. Once it’s running in the task tray, all you have to do is right click on the GumNotes icon to save a note, or attach one to whatever you’re working on.
More Than Just Email & Documents
I thought that the ability to “attach” notes to MS Office documents or spreadsheets is pretty cool, but just how flexible is this software? What if I’m working on something a little more obscure? As a test, I decided to open up an audio file of a guitar song I’ve been working on using Audacity. Hypothetically, let’s say that I wanted to remind myself of some of the edits I wanted to make the next time I open up the file.
The GumNotes app appeared to recognize the file that I had open (see “workingclasshero” at the bottom of the note?), and let me type up and save a quick message to myself. I exited Audacity, then opened it back up and was pleased to see that the note didn’t pop-up (if it did, it would be attached to the application, not the file). But when I opened up that specific audio file, sure enough my note appeared.
If you right click on the icon and select “Manage Annotations,” you’ll see all of the notes you’ve saved to the system.
Now, you’re probably thinking, what good is it to have all of these notes stored only on the PC where you have GumNotes installed? This would have been the clincher for me. Luckily, if you explore the Options settings in GumNotes you’ll see that you can enter the credentials for your Simplenote account, and then sync up your desktop notes with that online system.
GumNotes actually has features that extend beyond just attaching simple notes to documents. If you right-click on the pushpin at the bottom of the note, you have the option to set a Timer for the note. This works like a reminder pop-up.
Another cool feature is if you add a new, unattached note, you can click on the link at the bottom of the note and enter keywords into the following window.
Those keywords will serve as a “filter” – and any document, web page or email that you open that features those keywords will trigger your note to open. This is a very cool way to remind yourself about information that’s important to you and that you’ll want to save or otherwise respond to with a specific action.
In other words, GumNotes isn’t just an annotation tool. It’s a way for you to create a customized system of reminders so that no matter how busy you get, you’ll never forget anything again.
Give GumNotes a try and report back how well it worked for you. Do you like it better than other systems you’ve tried? Share your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below.