A 5-Minute Guide to Evernote

Elephantby C.K. MacLeod

Do you use Evernote to capture ideas and research? Many writers do. Evernote isn't difficult to learn. Here’s my five-minute guide to understanding Evernote.

What is Evernote?

Evernote is a free, multi-platform storage and organization tool. It can store

  • any notes or task lists that you write
  • audio clips
  • digital files
  • pictures
  • scanned documents
  • screen shots
  • video clips
  • web articles

Anything you store in Evernote is searchable, using Evernote’s powerful built-in search engine.

Uses for Evernote

Writers use Evernote for capturing ideas and for organizing research. (If you're a Scrivener user, you can export Evernote into Scrivener’s Research folder, keeping everything in one place.) You can also use Evernote to scan receipts to keep track of small business expenses.

Getting Started With Evernote

Open an Evernote account. Opening an account will give you access to an online version of Evernote. If you want to use Evernote on your phone, tablet, or computer, download the app for your device. Evernote will conveniently sync across devices, so your ideas and research are with you wherever you go.

Adding Content

To add content to Evernote, start a new Note. You can add handwritten notes, typewritten notes, audio notes, video notes, pictures, and scanned documents. Evernote can handle anything you’d like to record and store.

Evernote New Note
Click on New Note to add a note to Evernote for PC

Audio Notes

If you’re on the go, and it’s not convenient to key content into Evernote, you can use Evernote’s Audio Notes feature to record your ideas. On a PC, Select the New Audio Note and click the Record button. On a tablet or phone, click on the Microphone button.

Evernote Clipper

You can gather information from the Internet, too. Simply copy and paste a URL into a Note, or for quick link and info gathering, add the Evernote Clipper to your browser.

Evernote Clipper
Capture articles and links from your browser

Evernote Clipper is a plug-in that you install in an internet browser on your computer. I have Evernote Clipper installed on Google Chrome on my PC. Whenever I find an image, article, or website I’d like to capture, I click on the Evernote Clipper icon, and it’s immediately stored in my Evernote account for retrieval later.


You can use your smartphone or tablet camera to take pictures to store in Evernote. This is useful if you’re out and about and an object or scene inspires you. Open your Evernote app and click on the Camera icon.

Evernote camera


You can attach due dates to Notes in Evernote. Click on the Clock icon and select the due date from the calendar.

Evernote clock

Note Sharing

Finally, you can share your notes with others. Open the note you want to share, click on the Share icon and choose how you’d like to share it. You can share a link to the note, email the note to a recipient, or discuss it in a group chat.

Evernote share

Finding Things Quickly

In a short period of time, you can amass many Notes in your Evernote account. To find Notes quickly, organize your them into Notebooks. I like to have one Notebook for each project I’m working on.

Evernote Notebooks Notes

Evernote’s powerful search engine has optical character recognition (OCR) abilities. It will scan all content, including words in pictures, so that it’s available for keyword searching. You can also add tags—your own key words—to each note, so you can find things easily later.

Evernote search tags

Evernote has a great deal of potential for notetaking and note collecting. If you’ve spent five minutes to read this post, you'll know enough to get started.

Image by Guido da Rozze

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