There are a lot of note-taking apps out there. In fact I only recently wrote a review of my favorite Android tablet note-taking app called SuperNote. That’s a great application for taking and saving notes locally on an Android device, but what do you do when you want to sync your notes with other online services, like e-mail or social networks?
There are some decent solutions out there, like SimpleNote, which Chris wrote about, and FetchNotes, which Angela reviewed. One application that I started using when I wanted to keep my notes on the “cloud” rather than locally on my device, was Epistle.
What makes Epistle really cool is that it syncs directly and seamlessly with your DropBox account. You basically set it up on a schedule to update all of your locally-taken notes to your DropBox account, and it’ll do so without any effort on your part. This means that when you aren’t on your tablet or your smartphone, you can just log into your DropBox account from your computer and access all of those notes.
Syncing Notes with DropBox
Not, that doesn’t mean that this is a solution that’s going to beat out EverNote. EverNote is in a class of its own when it comes to cloud note-taking. However, that isn’t really what this solution is meant for.
Using Epistle is for people that are tightly married to their DropBox account, and want a very simple and fast note-taking solution that lets them feed notes to a folder in their DropBox account with very little effort. Epistle is the perfect app for that. At first glance, Epistle looks like just about any other basic note-taking app out there.
The lists themselves are also very similar to most other note-taking apps you’ve probably used. For example, here’s the recent grocery list I used just yesterday.
What makes Epistle a bit unique is how easy it is to sync with DropBox. All you need to do is go into the settings menu, and click on “Dropbox account settings”.
The next step in the process is just to log into your DropBox account using the email and password that you use when you log into DropBox itself.
After that, you’re done – it’s synced. You’ll see evidence of this by the text at the top of this screen that says “Currently linked to:” followed by your DropBox email address.
You can set up how often or when your Epistle app syncs all notes with your DropBox account by going into the “Automatic sync” page and selecting which sync option you like. Choices are to sync only when you first launch Epistle or when you close Epistle (or both).
And you also have the option to force Epistle to check your DropBox account for the latest version of a document whenever you open that document on your device. That means every device you use will only use the latest version of the document stored on the DropBox account. That’s a smart feature.
You define the Epistle folder in DropBox by selecting “Sync folder location” in the settings menu. The folder name defaults to “epistle”, but you can name it whatever you like.
This is the folder that you’ll see in your DropBox account where all of your Epistle notes will be stored after each sync.
All of that is very cool, but beyond the DropBox sync feature, the thing about Epistle that really attracted me to it was the “Share” feature. After writing up a note on Epistle, you can tap the share button at the upper right corner of the screen, and share out that note to whatever apps you have running on your device that are connected to the phone’s share feature.
In my case, that’s quite a few apps. I can send Epistle notes to Evernote (not sure why I’d ever want to do that…), send it to my Google Drive account, or even use it as email content.
You can even use the note you’ve created as a post on your social networks. Here, I’m sending out my research ideas via Google + so that people can comment on which story sounds most interesting. After sharing, I have those notes on my device and in my DropBox account to look back at later. Very cool!
Another really nice feature in Epistle is the search notes feature. When you view all notes on your device, there’s a search field at the top. This isn’t just searching titles, it’s actually searching the content of all of your notes and will return the notes that have those keywords inside of them.
Here I’ve searched for any notes that contain the phrase “betty hill”, and of course it turned up the research notes containing that phrase.
The usefulness of the search feature isn’t so apparent when you only have a few notes, but it becomes invaluable once your list of notes starts stretching into the hundreds.
As you can see, Epistle gives you a little bit of everything. It’s a useful local note-taking app, a nice way to plug your notes into the Cloud via DropBox, and a simple way to keep a record of ideas you post to your social networks or e-mail.
Can you see a useful feature of Epistle that you might use? Can you think of any creative use for the app? Share your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below.
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