Why I use Evernote (and you should too!)

Evernote for BlackBerry
By Adam Zeis on 22 Sep 2011 03:07 pm EDT
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I'll admit I was a late adopter to the Evernote game. I never really saw the need for it and since I was a big notebook user (still love my Moleskines) I figured I could get by without it. I tried something like 3 or 4 times to get into it, but each time I'd grow bored and give up. On my last attempt to make it work for me, I finally figured out ways to make it work for me and prove itself useful and it did just that. Evernote has a pretty good BlackBerry app (but it could be helped out with some enhancements likes its iOS and Android counterparts) that works great when on the go as well as an app for the BlackBerry PlayBook. You can also use their awesome Windows and Mac apps or their website to keep yourself synced across the board. Keep reading for some of my favorite ways to use Evernote.

Why I use Evernote

What is Evernote? It's pretty much just a note taking tool. You have your own account to which you can add notes and notebooks. Think of it as your virtual filing cabinet -- you can sort your drawers with various folders (notebooks in Evernote) each containing your files (notes).  Create notebooks for bills, to-do lists, expenses, recipes, scrapbooks, shopping lists, personal information -- the list goes on and on. Evernote provides a ton of features like tags, text recognition, audio notes and much more. What's not to love?

I use Evernote for various things I want to keep track of. Some of my tops are for recipes (add in a recipe or simply clip it from the web, then I can pull it up on my PlayBook when in the kitchen), my wine journal (complete with photos), expenses, family scrapbook and my bills. Let's check out how it all breaks down.

Recipes

Evernote for BlackBerry

Perhaps my favorite Evernote use is for keeping track of my recipes. I'm not only a geek, but I also love spending time in my kitchen. I have plenty of recipes stored that I can pull up in an instant without having to fumble through a cookbook or index of notecards. Each of my recipes is tagged with the dish type and/or ingredients, so if I'm looking for an entree or appetizer, chicken or pork, I can simply search my tags and see what my options are.

I can easily enter a recipe manually using Evernote on my BlackBerry, or if I'm feeling lazy I'll just snap a picture of it and toss it in a notebook. The best part is that Evernote has text recognition, so even if I take a photo of the recipe itself, I can later search for words it contains without an issue. Sometimes I'll add a photo to the recipe after so I know what the dish looks like, and unlike some recipe systems, you always have the option to edit your note without writing in the margins or even delete it all together if you aren't a fan of how things turned out. I have one main notebook for all my recipes, but if you're a big cook, you can create specific notebooks for entrees, appetizers, desserts etc. Evernote for recipes -- win win.

Bills

Evernote for BlackBerry

My second on the list of favorite evernote uses is definitely keeping track of my bills. Most of my bills are e-bills at this point, so those pesky paper statements never make it to my mailbox. However I do have a few things like my mortgage statement that I still like to have a physical copy of. Evernote is perfect for keeping these organized without the clutter. Instead of a file folder in a cabinet full of paper, you simply scan the document into Evernote or just snap a photo from your phone or PlayBook, add a few notes if you wish, then file it away (or shred it like I do).  You'll have the document ready when you need it and never have to worry about clutter. You can easily search for it in a moments notice without having to dig through piles to get what you need. If for some reason you need a copy of the document later, you can print it from Evernote or even email it right from the app. Gone are the days of overloaded file cabinets. 

Expenses

Evernote for BlackBerry

I don't travel too often for work, but when I do I use Evernote to keep track of my expenses. It's quick and easy and all of my items are saved where I know I won't lose them. When I get a receipt, I can easily snap a picture of it and send it off to Evernote. Usually I'll note the date, location and amount in the title of the note for easy reference down the road. If I don't have time I'll save the receipts, then when I return to my office I'll drop them in my scanner and load them up into Evernote. This way I can keep all my receipts filed away much like my bills and without the clutter. They are searchable and as opposed to just having a list in a spreadsheet, I can view the actual receipts should the need arise. 

Journal

Evernote for BlackBerry

Another of my favorite uses for Evernote is as a journal. You can apply it to nearly anything, but personally I like to use it as a wine journal. This one only takes a few steps but can turn out pretty cool if you're a wine lover. Each time I try a new bottle of wine I'll snap a photo of the label from my BlackBerry. I toss the image into Evernote along with the location, date and type of wine. This lets me keep a running log of wine that I've tried and I can always go back and see what I've had or reference a bottle I want to have again. Tag the notes with red or white and they can easily be searched and sorted. This works well for beer, food, movies, books and whatever else you can think of. 

Scrapbook

Evernote for BlackBerry

A scrapbook is a great way to keep track of travels or family memories. Evernote provides you many easy ways to save photos, notes and more and that makes it great for scrapbooking.  Whenever I take a family trip, I create a new notebook in my Travel notebook. Here I can put in notes about places we visited, the food we ate, where we stayed and even add photos and captions. You can fully document your trips so you'll always have a record of what you did.

This works much the same for a family scrapbook. I'll put in details about special events (holidays, birthdays, family memories etc) complete with images, each in their own notebook, then I can always have them when I need them. You can reference them later or keep them locked away for story telling down the road. 

Write that down!

Van Wilder

Ultimately there are tons of ways you can use Evernote. Be it a journal, scrapbook, recipe list, shopping list or you name it -- it truly is ony of my favorite apps. I find new uses for it every day and find myself pitching friends and family on it from time to time as well. With both a phone and PlayBook app you can have Evernote with you no matter where you are as well, so pulling up anything you have stored away in a notebook is never a problem. Find that recipe, pull up that family photo or check your last water bill.

So what do you use Evernote for? Let us know your best ideas/uses in the comments!

More information/download of Evernote for BlackBerry smartphones
More information/download of Evernote for BlackBerry Playbook

Reader comments

Why I use Evernote (and you should too!)

44 Comments

I honestly feel that I can do all that on my BB without needing to be connected to the internet. I don't need to access my notes from a computer because i always have my phone on me and just open it up to get the info i need. You can "tag" or put info in the images that you snap with your BB camera and Universal search will pick them up.

All this to say that I know people LOVE evernote and i'm sure people get great use out of it but like you, every time I really give it a shot... I find myself saying it's useless and my phone does the same thing.

Just a curious question...do you back all that up somehow? So if your phone is stolen or dropped in the toilet :) etc.

Blackberry Protect backs mine up every day or my desktop when I remember to plug it in.

I too haven't found a big use for it and tried a few times now. I still tell people about the app and got my girlfriend to recently try it and she loves it. Great for recipies, bills, and kids projects.

Great review of the app and will share it with friends.

Great for recipes and to store what you saw during the day, but I wouldn't use it for anything business related, because, just like when stored on Dropbox, these files will eventually be made public one day...

I love Evernote and have used it for ages for keeping all my work notes.

I use it on my Mac and my windows PC and it syncs across all platforms really well.

I had it on my Bold 9700 and was disappointed by the speed of the app - especially retrieving notes from the web.

I changed my Bold 9700 for a Samsung Galaxy s2. The Android Evernote app is 100 times better than the blackberry version. Storing a copy of the notes on the phone makes it so much quicker to view your notes.

I recently got a Bold 9900 which is a great device but evernote is still very poor compared to the Android version.

I hope evernote improve the Blackberry version to make it as good as the android version.

B

Heck YEAH! LOVE Evernote, and one by one my co-workers watch me pull up some technical info or the answer to some question and say, "what's that?!" when they see it. I send them the link and a few days later I see it up and running on their computer. :-) Fantastic app. Not a great implementation on the BlackBerry, but it WORKS and gets me access to all the info I need. It's fast _enough_ . Can't live without it.

I would love to use it on my Bold 9000 but I am unable to connect due to a policy / firewall thing. I cannot figure it out. I have a personal berry not on any corp BES server and still I cannot get it working. I do have it on my PB and laptop though and love it!

I also like Evernote and have it installed on PlayBook, BlackBerry iPhone iMac and MacBookPro.
works really great
......only the PlayBook App has a problem without WIFI - then you cannot add anything without getting an Error "Server could not be reached..."
on BlackBerry you can even switch off WIFI and 3G ... - it works: you can add new notes.

over all: very recommended ! ... I tried many other solutions, but Evernote is the best from my POV

If it worked it would be OK. The PB version has limited funtion (can't add folders) and the BB version is so SLOOOOOOOW.

Are those of you who like Evernote paying for the premium version or sticking with the no cost option?

I started using it when it came out for PlayBook to take notes in class, but sometimes it can spend half an hour trying to save a file. I've had a couple times where I click save, wanting to start a different note for a new topic, but it just locks up for a long time, so I end up opening Word To Go instead.

I use Evernote alot. I do tech support at my university, it comes in handy when dealing with computer error codes/messages and Blue Screens. I can pull up my note on my BB and get the problem solved faster than having to Google the same tech sites over and over. Just wish I can edit the notes from the phone. Think that will be enabled someday on our BB's?

Thanks russ.mtc! I noticed comments I added by BB to a snapshot cannot get edited. Clicking menu only gives me the option to append by adding text but not letting me change text previously typed. Other notes without snapshots can be edited as you say. Also, I notice I cannot view the image I took a snapshot of. The image doesn't load. Have to use the BB browser to visit the Evernote website in order to see the image. Sorry to hijack this thread!

I've tried Evernote a few times, but the reason why I always stop using it is because if I have no data connection on my BlackBerry then all the important information in Evernote is unreachable. I'm on Verizon, so coverage is great, but for on the train/subway, basement at work, and some buildings at school, I get nothing...

Until Evernote can cache my notes and such on my BlackBerry I will be sticking to the Memopad, categories, and pictures with good descriptions.

So true. I get too frustrated with it when I am not able to connecct or it takes forever. I need to take the notes fast at times and find myself going to either memopad or paper.

Agreed. This is the only stupid feature that makes me stop using Evernote - and the speed. Why can't I launch Evernote like I launch Memopad? Plus, why is it so hard to cache notes?

Sometimes features really don't cut it, if speed of click-to-readyforuse is not fast enough.

I have used Evernote - and indeed still have the app. Lately I find myself using UPVISE more. Though it has less options, the syncing across all devices is instantaneous - Evernote, not so much. Also, when offline, no syncing can take place, but the notes are still readable!

The last time I tried this I felt Lister and MemoPad were more simple and faster to use. I'll download it again and see if anything interesting is new.

Thanks Adam for some great ideas on how to use it. I couldn't get it to work for me, but maybe these suggestions could do the trick. Great blog post!

I get the appeal, and I've tried using it as a journal. But until it recognizes my autotext on my Storm 2, and until it doesn't freeze when trying to save on the Playbook, it's not usable. Although it's not as slick in some ways, I'll stick with the WordPress app.

I love Evernote. Lately, I've been taking notes using the Memo Pad and Word to Go on my BB. But I email them to Evernote for backup and so that I can access them on my laptop.

Sorry for a possibly under-informed question. I've been out of the loop for 2 -3 years on computer/software issues (hardhat and steel-toes); didn't even have a computer since my laptop puked about 2 years ago. Always had my BB though! Is Evernote similar to OneNote in Windows?

Back into khakis and a polo shirt in an outside sales job and discovered OneNote on my new laptop. Thought it was some junk add-on until I figured it out (somewhat) and have used it quite a bit. I actually had a fleeting wish for it to be available as a BB app (RIGHT - in my best Dr. Evil sarcasm).

If I move to Evernote to allow BB use, will it give me the same features on my laptop as OneNote? Love the "side note" capability . . .

I love Evernote. I use in on my PC and BB, the Playbook app is a worthless POS... Very slow, and I still haven't been able to save a damn note from it.

I love Evernote....... I've used it for several years across several platforms. Great application!

However, on my BB 9650, I really wish it was possible to cache/save the data to the sd card. A lot of times it takes forever to pull up the data, and thats when there is a signal (radio or wifi). Of course, when there is no connection, it is impossible to access any data.

Please Evernote, we as BlackBerry users need to be included in the Premium service.

I use evernote a lot
Especially when I wanna have an info to my mac,or pc and bb
And best part is that my account has an email, so I have the email as a contact on my ‎ so I email any stuff I want and I get it on my mac or pc

Evernote is great and use it on multiple pc's at work and home even used on my old Nokia N900 before i got my 9800 where notes were cached offline with the N900 so could work on the underground or anywhere with out a signal. So when I moved to BBM was looking forward to using a very handy service. Even after multiple updates being released I have to say its a very poor application and rarely use. Even though I use the PC version more than I did when i used my Nokia.
Rim really need if they have not already need to offer Evernote some help with the Evernote application on the BB. Have not seen if on the wifes 9860 they have made an updated version but now is the time with the extra horsepower to make a big improvement to key apps which many use.

Hate that I'm in after an iPad spam, but my Evernote on the PB doesn't save either, no matter how long I let it 'spin'. It's not usable to me in its current form. I see the potential, but, man get it to work!

Tried it on my BB9780 after reading this article. Found it to be slow on the 2G (which I mostly use to conserve battery). Works fine on the 3G, but waiting to load notes can be a pain at times.
Back to the MemoPad.

does the app became better? I had problems with it on my old 9700 with OS6. When used it consumed way too much cpu. Fixed?

excellent review. I too have been trying evernote off and on. Since the Playbook app released I am finding myself using this more.

Sounds good, but what I really want is a TASK list that syncs with Google!!! Notes are nice, but I need a task manager with due dates and priorities I can sync with my BlackBerry. Everything I do needs dates & priorities.

I'll give Evernote a try anyway :) Thanks for the great article.