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For a while now, you’ve been able to add basic tables to your Evernote notes. These tables have never been powerful, and they’ve always been pretty clunky. But things are starting to change. Very recently, Evernote launched a much-needed update to its tables function, breathing new life into this often overlooked feature.

At the time of writing, these updates are available to all Windows users, but only via a beta version of Evernote for Mac users. If you’re a Mac user and want to download the beta version, go to Evernote > Preferences > Software Update > Update to beta versions when available.

Using Evernote Tables

First off, Evernote’s tables are no replacement for Excel or Google Sheets. These are just tables, not full-blown spreadsheets. Great for displaying and organizing data (including images), but not manipulating data. That means they can’t handle formulas. With their new redesign, however, they are less visually dull, and far more intuitive than the old tables — and they have plenty of uses.

With the new redesign, you can now add new columns and rows simply by clicking the dots where you want to expand the table.

evernote tables

You can also drag and drop entire rows and columns to reposition them within the spreadsheet, merge cells, and set background colors.

evernote tables

But that’s enough about how to create and customize these tables. That’s all pretty easy to figure out. A far more useful question is what can I use these tables for?

1. Kanban Boards

The Kanban technique How to Manage Tasks Using Japanese Kanban Technique How to Manage Tasks Using Japanese Kanban Technique Kanban is a Japanese recipe for getting things done. It's an organization technique originally developed for Toyota's production line. We show you how you can implement it for yourself or in your team. Read More is a Japanese productivity system, based around a Kanban board.

A Kanban board is essentially a linear way of managing tasks and projects. On the left is a backlog of tasks that are still to be done. Then, as tasks are tackled and completed, they are moved toward the right, to the corresponding column.

evernote kanban

There are plenty of places where you can create Kanban boards Goodbye, Trello! 5 Alternative Free Kanban Board Tools Goodbye, Trello! 5 Alternative Free Kanban Board Tools Trello is an incredible app for project management and organizing your tasks. But there are other kanban apps that could be ideal for your tasks. Let's talk about the best Trello alternatives. Read More for your own projects. But if you already use Evernote, why introduce another app?

The table above is a Kanban board in its most simple form. For your own workflow, you should include whichever, and however many, columns you need.

2. To-Do Lists

If you like to keep your to-do list pretty simple, a template like this could serve you well. Keep the list up to date with the task status and priority column. And you can easily re-order the list by dragging and dropping rows to a different location.

to-do list evernote

If you want a more feature-rich solution including integrations with other apps, reminders, commenting, and tagging, you probably want to look into an app like Todoist, Wunderlist, or Any.do To-Do List App Showdown: Any.do vs Todoist vs Wunderlist To-Do List App Showdown: Any.do vs Todoist vs Wunderlist Some to-do list apps stand head and shoulders above the rest. But how do they compare and which one is best for you? We'll help you find out. Read More .

3. Habit Tracking

Although there are feature-rich apps such as Coach.me to help you develop habits How to Use Micro Habits and Spark Massive Personal Change How to Use Micro Habits and Spark Massive Personal Change Creating new habits is hard. Habits are usually built over weeks or months of repetition, and motivation is the challenge. When the going gets tough, micro-habits can be a huge help. Read More , a simple table in Evernote could be all you need.

evernote habit tracking

The table above is just one example that would help you track habits over the course of a week.

If you want something different, check out Evernote’s list of calendar templates, which you can download straight to your account. These include weekly, daily, monthly, and yearly calendars, so you’ve got all your bases covered. All you’d need to do is add checkboxes, as above.

4. Workout Planning and Tracking

For an easy way to plan out and/or record your workouts, a table like the one below would work.

evernote workout tracking planning

If you need something much more complex, however, you probably want to use a dedicated app. Alternatively, create your own spreadsheet that can make any calculations you need.

5. Household Chores Calendar

To limit those household arguments, how about creating a simple household chores calendar so everyone knows what they’re responsible for?

evernote household chores

Once created, you could print this out so everyone can keep it up to date. Or if you’re strangely organized, and all of your family use Evernote, too, you could share the chore calendar with everyone so they can access it from their own account.

6. Pack Lists

We’ve all gone on vacation only to find out we forgot to bring something obvious. To stop this ever happening again, create your own pack list(s). You might just have one master list, or you could create a few for different types of trips: day trips, Winter vacations, weekends getaways, etc.

evernote pack list

Split the list into different categories to help you keep everything organized. This also helps to make packing more streamlined, and your vacation more enjoyable How to Turn Your Next Vacation into an Adventure How to Turn Your Next Vacation into an Adventure Adventure is a state of mind. Take a few ideas from here when you want your vacation to be a compromise between new excitements and familiar relaxation. Read More .

7. Meal Planner

Many health professionals agree that creating meal plans in advance can really help you keep up with your healthy eating and weight-loss goals Diet vs. Exercise: What's Better for Quick Weight Loss? Diet vs. Exercise: What's Better for Quick Weight Loss? When you want to lose weight, there are two options Either you can start dieting or start exercising. Ideally, you should do both. But which of the two helps you lose weight faster? Read More .

A simple template like this one offers pretty much everything you need. Photos to get your mouth watering, and links to recipes.

meal planner evernote

If required, you could also include the nutrient content of meals to help with food intake tracking This Daily Food Tracking Habit Can Transform Your Health This Daily Food Tracking Habit Can Transform Your Health Tracking the food you eat can change your health. Life benefits include losing weight and better sleep. And food tracking isn't tough -- you can do it easily with a few easy tools. Read More .

8. Manage Your Collections

This is a very broad suggestion, but we all have lists of things we want to keep on top of. From books to read 5 Essential "Best Books" Lists: How Many Have You Read? 5 Essential "Best Books" Lists: How Many Have You Read? "What should I read next?" is the most common question. And so you google for lists of the best books. Find the right list with these resources. Read More and movies to watch, to albums to listen to, and projects to start.

evernote manage collections

Whatever list it is that you want to keep track of, an Evernote template could help to keep you completely organized.

9. Keep Your Own Time Sheet

Use a template like this one to keep track of the hours you’ve been working each day.

evernote timesheet

This can really help you to double check that your wage slip at the end of each month is correct.

10. Track Your Time

To help you find out where you’re wasting time, and where you could be making improvements in how you spend your day, time tracking is invaluable. It’s also fantastic at helping you discover your most productive hours. Or perhaps you just want to track your time to help you bill clients each month.

evernote time tracking

Whatever your reason for time tracking, for some people, the simpler the solution, the better. Simply collecting data, as above, won’t give you too much insight on its own. But it’s a great way to record that data. It’s then ready to export to another app (such as Excel) when you’re ready to drill down and uncover some findings.

11. Gift Ideas

If you ever find yourself flailing around, trying desperately to locate the perfect gift for the next birthday celebration, you need a gift ideas list!

evernote gift ideas

Create a list like this, and whenever you come across something you think would be a fantastic present for a specific person, add it next to their name. This way, you’ll never run out of gift ideas again!

12. Event Checklists

Organizing an event can be stressful. It’s all to easy to find yourself inundated with tasks, things falling behind schedule, and everything collapsing into disarray.

The solution? A checklist, of course.

evernote event checklist

The checklist above is obviously oversimplified. If you were tackling a wedding, the list would be 10x this size. But the concept works for events of most sizes. Split your tasks into things to do before, during, and after the event, and you can’t go far wrong!

What Else Can You Use Evernote Tables For?

Evernote is a powerful tool, with plenty of features Maximize Evernote with 5 Powerful Features Maximize Evernote with 5 Powerful Features With over 100 million users, Evernote is arguably the web's favorite productivity and note-saving tool. We are putting the spotlight on 5 under-appreciated Evernote features and detail their value. Read More to help you store notes about every aspect of your life. And as you start to use Evernote more and more, you’ll begin to sort your notes more meticulously The Best Way to Organize Evernote: Use Tags The Best Way to Organize Evernote: Use Tags Is your Evernote a huge mess? We show you a simple tweak that'll help you organize your notes like never before. Read More . This is when the app becomes even more powerful. You’re able to pull up highlights of articles you’ve read online, receipts from years ago, and much more.

On top of those ideas mentioned above, what else do you think Evernote tables could be useful for? And do you think you’ll be using them from now on?

Image Credit: ljsphotography/Depositphotos

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  1. silverlokk
    October 2, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Can you create a table in Excel or LibreOffice Calc, select a set of cells, and Paste · Special into Evernote?

  2. Shannon D
    September 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    I have a hobby crafting business and I love using tables for my customer files. I can track my conversations, drop in photos of items I've made for them, cost, shipping date, etc. It makes my customer files look neat and tidy, and I can get all the info I need at a glance. I love the updated look of the tables and I can't wait to use some of the ones that were suggested above!!

  3. Derek
    September 15, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    The problem with their tables is that they never render/stack properly on mobile. I will have to test these new ones out. I had to make my own that look good on all devices.

    • Rob Nightingale
      September 18, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      They seem to be displaying ok on my iPhone 6. Which phone are you using?

    • Tracey Smith
      September 21, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      They display just fine on my Galaxy S8+ also.