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There are several ways to get content from your iOS device into Evernote, but notes app Drafts piles on the advanced features for sending text directly to individual, designated Evernote notebooks and notes, as well as using templates for writing quickly.

We have taken a close look at Drafts Drafts: The Ultimate Notes App For The iPhone and iPad [iOS] Drafts: The Ultimate Notes App For The iPhone and iPad [iOS] There are dozens of notes apps in the iTunes App Store, and if you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you probably have a few notes apps on your device already. Ever so often an app... Read More before, but have yet to touch on setting up custom actions in Drafts to specifically work with Evernote. The setup takes a little effort, but if you’re a frequent Evernote user these actions could save you quite a few taps and little hassle.

How It Works

Drafts is a notes apps that can be used independently and with other iOS apps. Actions can be set to export text in the background to other apps, including Twitter, Google+, Messages, Dropbox, and Mail. It useful also for sending content on the iOS clipboard to another app without having to open the latter app.

Drafts actions

Drafts can be set up to open with a blank page so you can immediately start typing or pasting content, and then with a single tap export content to a designated app.

Sometimes when using Evernote, it takes several taps to write or paste content into a notebook. Plus, if your Evernote account is stuffed with clippings from different devices, it can take some time for everything to get synced from your Evernote account. The following actions address these issues.


Setting Up An Evernote Action

Drafts comes pre-installed with an Evernote action, located by tapping on the upper-right share button. Any content typed in the current Drafts note can be sent to Evernote as a new note simply by tapping the Save to Evernote action.

Now we can take a look at how this Evernote action is set up in Drafts. Tap on the upper-right gear button in the actions pane, tap on Manage Actions, and then tap open the Evernote action.

Drafts evernote

As you can see from the screenshot below, the action allows you to designate which pane you want to save the action to, as well get a confirmation before a note is sent.

Drafts setup

You can also allow the action to use the first line of content as the title for the new note in Evernote. With this action the new note will be saved to your default notebook in Evernote. Tapping the upper-right arrange button allows you to move the option to the top of the stack in order to access it more quickly.

So the Send to Evernote action is pretty straight forward; give it a try and see how it works. And by the way, if you haven’t already done so, you will need to scroll through the settings and link your Evernote account to Drafts first.

Drafts link

Now let’s build a custom action that will save you a few more taps when exporting a note to Evernote.

Creating A Custom Evernote Action

Suppose for example I want to create a note in my MakeUseOf notebook which I use to save articles ideas. Instead of opening Evernote each time I want to do this, I can use a Drafts action which allows me to append ideas to the same note. And I can use another action that will append copied text to the ideas note, using a single tap. Here’s how to setup a custom action.

Tap on the upper-right gear button in the Actions pane. Scroll down to the Custom Actions section and tap on Evernote Actions, and then tap on the plus button to create a new action.

Next, give the action a name. Replace the title tag to the exact name of the note you want to append a Drafts note to. Also type the exact name of the Evernote notebook the note is saved to. Naturally, the notebook and note must be created before you can create this action.

Drafts append

Next, select to prepend content (pasted above existing notes) or append content (pasted below existing notes) for this action.

Under where it says template, the [[draft]] tag inserts the content you write in a Drafts note. So leave that as is. Next, add another tag by tapping on the Tag Help button. Copy the [[line|n]] tag. Paste the “line” tag under the “drafts” tag, which will create a space between the new and previous content. You can see this in the screenshot above.

Drafts line tag

Now save the action and test it out. The new action will appear at the bottom of the actions pane, but remember you can move it to the top or to another pane.

Paste to Evernote

Another useful custom action is one for simply appending (pasting) copied text on the iOS clipboard to a designated note or new note. This action doesn’t even require you to paste the content in Drafts. You simply tap the action, and Drafts will export the copied text to your designated notebook and note.

The action is setup like the one above, but replace the “draft” tag with a [[clipboard]] tag, and give the action a different name.

Drafts paste

Put Drafts to Action

While there are other apps like the recently reviewed EverMemo which can export content to Evernote, the actions we’ve created in this tutorial show how Drafts can be used to customize actions for the individual notes and notebooks you want to quickly send content to.

In Drafts’ settings, under the Custom Actions section, you can tap the link to the Drafts Action Library which features actions created by other Drafts users. You can take them as they are, or use them as inspiration for your own actions.

Let us know if you found this tutorial helpful and tell us about other actions you use in Drafts to get work done.

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  1. Maryon Jeane
    March 7, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    I was a real fan of Evernote, until one of the apps in the Trunk mucked up my database. This was, on Evernote's own admission, because of a change they'd made - but they didn't take the app out of the Trunk, they didn't warn anyone that it was no longer functioning, and they couldn't sort out the problems it caused. This was the final straw because I'd had a couple of problems previously and couldn't get Evernote to resolve them without a lot of repeat requests and, on one occasion, actually getting hold of the CEO on Twitter (and I was always a Prime member!).

    When Evernote works it's very good indeed - but if it falters (and by golly it does) and you lose data then it's literally worse than useless, however good it's been at its best. I now have a database which is missing some records and data from records - but which and what? I only know when I actually need that data, and it's a nightmare because my whole life, work and domestic, was on Evernote.

    There is also the nightmare of never being quite sure of exactly where your data is, and whether or not you're going to be able to get at it on the road or when you get to your destination. You can designate some notebooks as offline and therefore resident on your tablet or wherever - but not all because of space restrictions if your database is large, as mine was. So you can end up facing clients, or stranded somewhere, without your data.

    No more cloud databases for me - my database is now in AllMyNotes and gets copied onto a USB drive to travel with me. BitTorrentSync allows syncing where necessary, and I can have paranoid backups wherever I want to keep them.

    I was a real Evernote fan and Evernote let me down badly.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      March 7, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      Maryon, sorry to hear about the issues you've had with the service, and thank you for sharing your feedback with our readers. I haven't experienced problems with Evernote, but your issues remind me of how important it is to have content backed up, which is something I have not done with my Evernote library.