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How do you keep track of the havoc of your online life? How do you quickly save an article for later reading? How do you make a note of a recipe or instructional to refer to later on a different computer?

We’ve been through this topic several times before, and discussed many ways of storing notes, documents and organising emails online. Rightnote Organize All Your Information in One Place With the Easy-to-Use RightNote Organize All Your Information in One Place With the Easy-to-Use RightNote Cloud apps are great for syncing and anytime-anywhere access, but for more hands on control it is difficult to argue with software like the ubiquitous Microsoft OneNote, the ever-popular Evernote, and many others who are... Read More , Springpad Springpad vs Evernote: Why Visual Orientation Matters in an Online Notebook Springpad vs Evernote: Why Visual Orientation Matters in an Online Notebook It's easy to understand why there are tons of online and software notebooks out there to choose from: mainly because there is so much information to manage, bookmark, and share in our online and mobile... Read More , Simplenote Simplify Note-Taking & Sync Notes Everywhere With Simplenote Apps Simplify Note-Taking & Sync Notes Everywhere With Simplenote Apps Simplenote and its ecosystem of apps for every platform toss all the superfluous features found in competing note-taking programs and focus on the ones that matter. All Simplenote apps sync effortlessly, with minimal interfaces that... Read More — all good solutions. But personally, I find Evernote to be the most complete package. And since we haven’t published a review of its desktop client yet, here it is.

What is Evernote?

Evernote is a compendium of services and apps aimed towards storing notes in the form of text, images, handwritten notes, webpages, emails, voice memos; on your desktop, mobile device and in the cloud. Evernote can be used by so many different platforms, including desktop clients for Windows and Mac; browser extensions for Safari, Firefox and Chrome; and mobile devices such as Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 and Web OS.

The Mac desktop client

With Evernote, you can quickly store snippets of just about anything using one of the available tools like the browser extension or desktop client. Everything you store in your Evernote account will be automatically synchronised to the cloud, as well as to any other platform you’re logged in to. So if you have the Evernote app installed on your mobile device, your notes will be automatically retrieved from the cloud the moment you launch the application, allowing you to access them just about anywhere with an internet connection.


The Evernote desktop client for Mac is pictured in the two screenshots above, and as you can already tell, it looks very similar to Mail. A list of all notebooks is displayed in the far left column. In the middle column is a list of the notes each notebook contains. And in the far right is the note itself.

The desktop client has very basic text formatting options, enough to get by. But more importantly, it allows individual notes to be tagged for swifter searchability. Along with that, you can also add voice memos, photos and attachments to your notes. Any images containing handwritten text will automatically be indexed, so you’ll be able to search their content as you would a text file.

By default, the desktop client syncs with the cloud every 15 minutes, but you can change that frequency in its Preferences to only sync manually, every 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or every hour. Syncing it more frequently will ensure that your notes get across to the cloud quicker and ultimately, to other devices. Personally, I would have preferred a more predictable “sync on file change” feature like SugarSync.

There are so many creative uses for Evernote — you can use it to store your receipts Do You Need More Evernote Use Ideas? Here Are 3 Ways I Use It Do You Need More Evernote Use Ideas? Here Are 3 Ways I Use It Evernote is, without a doubt, a multi-faceted tool that can help you accomplish a lot, but when you have that kind of breadth in options and input channels, there’s a chance you could get overwhelmed.... Read More , turn it into a dedicated newsletter inbox 5 Cool Features That Prove Evernote Is Still A Kick-Ass Service 5 Cool Features That Prove Evernote Is Still A Kick-Ass Service With all the hoopla surrounding Google Drive, and everyone going nuts over Dropbox, I think one other service is being sorely neglected - Evernote. Our Evernote coverage has been rather sketchy of late, and I... Read More , or as a remote clipboard 5 Uses for the Evernote Desktop Clients [Windows & Mac] 5 Uses for the Evernote Desktop Clients [Windows & Mac] A couple of years ago, we had a post on the myriad uses for Evernote, which could well be an all-in-one second brain. With the advent of improvements on the desktop clients, there have been... Read More to sync URLs, text and photos from your mobile device to your desktop.

Features and Plans

Evernote comes in both free and premium flavours. The free account supports 100,000 notes, 250 synchronised notebooks, 10,000 tags and 100 saved searches. Individual notes can be a maximum of 25MB in size.

If you’re just starting off with Evernote, the free account is quite sufficient. However, for an additional $5/month or $45/year, Evernote Premium offers several additional features:

  • Adds larger upload capacity to 1GB each month
  • 50MB size limit for individual notes
  • Offline access to notebooks
  • Group sharing and access to notebooks
  • Note history: view past versions of individual notes
  • Priority image recognition
  • Ability to search within PDF documents
    • Evernote also offers a flexible discounted, sponsored group pricing scheme for teams of 3 people or more. With this plan, the owner can add as many Premium users to the group at any time; and is automatically billed for the user’s Premium Evernote subscription. Additionally, another payment plan is site licensing, whereby a group with a fixed number of Premium users is set up and the owner is billed for a whole year at the beginning; with an expansion option set at blocks of 5 users.

      If you are already a Premium Evernote user before joining a group, your Premium subscription will be paused for the duration. After leaving the sponsored group, your Evernote subscription will resume and your notes will be brought over to your personal Evernote account.

      Your Evernote Email Inbox

      Every Evernote account is assigned an Evernote email address. You may easily send notes to your Evernote account in the cloud via email and they will be synchronised to your desktop client and mobile application.

      Forward flight itineraries, hotel booking, and other travel plans to your Evenote inbox; allowing you to better organise yourself with unified view of your emails with a common theme. Alternatively, you can choose to do the opposite — by making your Evernote email a catch-all inbox for newsletter signups and other editorials and have all of the unimportant emails directed there, your actual email inbox will be less cluttered.

      Sharing and collaboration

      Sharing notebooks is a premium feature but it is a useful one. It’s ultimately up to you to decide whether it’s worth paying for a premium account in order to allow others to view and edit your notebook.

      I’ve actually used this feature in the past and in my mind, it’s a simple solution for team collaboration compared to setting up a wiki or using a web-only service. Only one person needs to have a premium Evernote account for the entire team to share and edit notes.

      Evernote Trunk

      One of the main reasons I choose to use Evernote is because it’s supported by so many amazing desktop and mobile applications. Skitch, IFTTT 10 Great ifttt Recipes To Automate Your Web Life 10 Great ifttt Recipes To Automate Your Web Life We’ve already introduced you to ifttt in a previous post and there have been several improvements made and new channels added to the web application since then. Automation and synchronization are two points that have... Read More and Evernote Peek Evernote Peek: Turning Your iPad 2 & Smart Cover Into A Cool Learning Tool Evernote Peek: Turning Your iPad 2 & Smart Cover Into A Cool Learning Tool While it's better known as an entertainment gadget, the iPad is also a student's best friend. The slate can act as a perfect replacement for physical books and notebooks, a portable sketchpad, a mini multimedia... Read More come straight to mind. Evernote has an entire trunk of these apps waiting to be explored — seriously, Evernote Trunk.


      Maybe I like Evernote because I’m too familiar with it. But somehow, its ease of use, attractive features and integration with other application makes it shine above other note-taking applications I’ve ever tried.

      If you’d like to learn more about Evernote, download our in-depth manual: How To Use Evernote: The Missing Manual

      Is there a better solution to Evernote? If you know of any, please share them with us in the comments.

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  1. April Eum
    October 8, 2012 at 3:14 am

    i hate getting use to new interface, hopefully this will be a change for good.

  2. John DM
    October 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    my mistake; just needs to be separately downloaded by iPhone as well as desktop (Evernote does send an email suggesting that)

  3. John DM
    October 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    no problem to download Evernote for my Mac, but the iPhone app isn't available in Canada, which rather negates value of the program. Drat.

  4. Edwin Williams
    October 2, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I use Evernote to help me manage my college workload! Awesome!

  5. Macwitty
    October 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Evernote is a great tool and has been better and better over time with all addition services and apps. Do also work great with wacom tablets.
    just a minor minus - I don't like apps that both live in the dock and menubar - would prefer to just have it in the menubar

  6. salim benhouhou
    October 2, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    thank you jackson for this review

  7. D. K.
    October 2, 2012 at 10:36 am

    When I was a Windows user I used Microsoft OneNote and in the first time I missed OneNote on my MacBook. But Evernote is a really good option for MacUsers, but it need a little time for the switch.

  8. Ahmed Khalil
    October 2, 2012 at 7:26 am

    i love this application too, and i recomend to read "How To Use Evernote: The Missing Manual"

    • Macwitty
      October 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      Great tutorial and wouldn’t we also wish an Evernote Shortcuts/CheatSheet ;)

      • Harish Jonnalagadda
        October 3, 2012 at 11:41 am

        Thanks! Did not know there was a cheat sheet around.

  9. Ashwin Ramesh
    October 2, 2012 at 4:20 am

    One of the best apps around!

  10. Ramon Mondragon
    October 2, 2012 at 3:50 am

    This is awesome!

  11. Charles Babb
    October 2, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Evernote is an amazing app. It keeps me sync'd across all my devices and has replaced my normal notepad.