7 Useful Google Keep Tips and Features for Better Lists

Sandy Writtenhouse Updated 16-03-2020

Google Keep is a great tool for project management, for keeping tabs on your travel plans, and for saving quick voice memos. At its core, it’s a super simple app that can be adapted for a variety of uses. But in its simplest form, Google Keep is great for making lists.


First, what exactly is Google Keep? Google’s multi-platform note-taking app makes it easy to save text, voice, and photo notes on your phone or computer. It has a variety of organization and sharing features, has some impressive OCR features, and takes advantage of location awareness. At a glance, it looks like a digitized version of post-it notes.

So why use Google Keep for your list-making? Here are several reasons.

1. It’s Easy to Create Checklists

When it comes to creating a Google Keep list, the easiest way to do this is by making a checklist. When you create a new note, be sure to do so by hitting the New List button.

Google Keep New List on the web

This will insert one checkbox in your list and as you add more items to the list, more checkboxes will show up. You can also rearrange items on your checklist, and when you check items off, they are still viewable so you can keep track of your progress.


If you’ve started creating a list and realize after the fact that you want to remove the checkboxes, click the More button (three dots) and then Hide Checkboxes.

Google Keep Hide Checkboxes

2. You Can Keep Your Lists Organized

If you don’t take advantage of Google Keep’s organization features, your lists can quickly become an unwieldy mess. Luckily, those features are surprisingly robust and at first glance, you might not realize that these features even exist.

Color Coding: You can color code your list (you’ll just have to keep a note of your color coding scheme) right within Keep. Color coding your lists means the entire background of your note will change to that color. This is extremely useful when looking at your list of notes, so you can see the categories at a glance.


Google Keep Color Code

Labels: You can use Google Keep tags which are called Labels. You can then filter your notes to view only those with a certain label. These labels are viewable in the menu on the left-hand side of the screen. To add a label to a note, open up the note, hit the More button, and select Add label. Then give your label a name or pick an existing one from your list.

Google Keep Add Label Name

Archiving: If your list of lists gets far too long and you need to do some spring cleaning in Google Keep, instead of deleting them, you can archive them. This keeps your Google Keep notes tidy, but also preserves a record of your notes. (And of course, if you label your lists, you can easily search your archived notes.)


Just click the Archive button at the bottom of the note. And to access archived notes, select Archive in the left-hand menu.

3. It’s Integrated With Google

If you’re a fan of Google products Google's Most Interesting: Apps, Projects, and Services You Must Know About Google always has dozens of projects going at any given time and it can be hard to keep track of them all. Here are the most interesting ones that you should be aware of. Read More , Google Keep fits right in with them. You don’t have to create a new account to use the service — just log in with your Google credentials. You can also copy Google Keep lists to Google Docs. Click the More button and select Copy to Google Docs. Unfortunately, the checklist is converted into a bulleted list, but at least it maintains its hierarchy.

4. It Offers Seamless Cross-Platform Apps

Because Google Keep is multi-platform, it means anyone can use it seamlessly across devices. Google Keep is available as a free app for iOS, Android, Chrome, and as a Chrome extension. And if you aren’t a fan of Chrome, you can use Keep in any browser.

Multi-platform access is something we now expect from our favorite apps. With Google Keep’s collaboration features, it’s essential that users are able to access the service on the most popular platforms. Google Keep’s cross-platform access is particularly seamless in that the interface and experience (with the exception of some features) is near identical on every device.


Download: Google Keep for Android | iOS | Chrome | Chrome Extension (Free)

5. Create Checklists With a Widget

You can use widgets on both Android and iOS, giving you quick access to create a Google Keep list. Android users can add a widget to the home screen making it easy to create a new checklist. And iOS users can add a similar widget to the Today View, which is accessible from the iPhone’s Notification Center.

6. You Can Collaborate With Others

Google Keep is a great app to use by yourself, but its sharing and collaboration features make it a good option for those looking for a way to share lists, notes, and more with family, friends, or colleagues. Because of its seamless, cross-platform user interface, it’s easy to get everyone on board using Google Keep. And because of its simplicity, it’s particularly useful for family members who are technophobic.

The collaboration features are extremely simple too. You can invite people to individual notes. Just open up a note, click the Collaborator icon, and enter the person’s email address.

Google Keep Collaborator Button

You can use this to share a grocery list, prep list for travel, or to-do list for a simple project.

7. Let Google Keep Remind You While Shopping

Google Keep not only includes reminders based on a specific date and time but can even remind you of a certain list at a specific location.

To add a location-based reminder to your note, click or tap the Remind Me button and select Pick Place. You can then allow your browser or phone to detect your location or enter a specific address.

Google Keep Pick Place

This feature is particularly useful when you’re heading to the grocery store and want to make sure that you remember to stick to your shopping list.

Create a Google Keep Checklist for Any Task

As you can see, Google Keep offers terrific features for checklists and regular lists as well. Between the ease-of-use, cross-platform access, collaboration, and more, you can create a Google Keep checklist for about anything.

For more help with Google Keep, take a look at how to make nested lists How to Create a Nested List in Google Keep This simple tip shows you how to quickly create a nested list in Google Keep. Read More or use Google Keep to organize your travel plans How to Use Google Keep to Organize Your Travel Plans Give Google Keep a try for planning your next trip. The simple Google app has terrific note-taking features that helps to keep all your travel details organized in one place. Read More .

Related topics: Google Keep, Note-Taking Apps, Productivity Tips, To-Do List.

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  1. HildyJ
    March 17, 2020 at 2:20 am

    One other use for the widgets. The Note List widget displays your notes in a scrollable form. I created a "frequent" label (the name doesn't matter) and tagged my most used lists. Then the Note List widget allows you restrict the display to a single label.

    • Susan
      May 9, 2020 at 4:29 pm

      I'm trying to do the same thing but I'm stuck on "the note list widget allows you to restrict the display to a single label". Can you elaborate for me svp?

  2. John Birch
    May 7, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    It's unfortunate that Keep puts new items in a checkbox list at the bottom, rather than at the top of the list, like Go Tasks app does. Yes, you can re-arrange items, but it's ridiculous to do that on your phone when you have a list of 30+ items and you want the newest to appear on top.

  3. L E Mollenkamp
    April 7, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Not fully functional in Opera!

  4. Chris
    April 7, 2017 at 3:33 am

    The one thing Keep lacks, is the ability to organise lists alphabetically.
    Otherwise its a great App.

  5. HildyJ
    April 7, 2017 at 12:09 am

    While I find Keep very useful for small things like shared shopping lists, the biggest problem I have is that it's navigation is not phone friendly. Given the limited screen of a phone, I have requested, through feedback and forums, that "show titles only" be an option. Think of how much less useful Calendar would be if it insisted on displaying event details in its lists instead of just the event title.

    • Nancy Messieh
      April 7, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      I think that would be a great option. The best you can do for now is switch to list view rather than grid view. That's a little more phone friendly, but I agree if you have a small screen, it doesn't really solve the problem.