Well, it certainly wasn’t my intention to post about Evernote two days in a row, but the company just released an update that I need to give you a heads up about: they’ve significantly beefed up their security by offering Two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is a combination of something you know (your Evernote username and password) with something you have (in this case, your mobile device).
Premium users can now set it up so that in addition to your credentials, you will need to enter a special code sent via SMS to your phone or generated by Google Authenticator. If you are familiar with Google or Dropbox’s implementation, it works very similarly.
Apparently this will be rolled out to free users soon, but for now it is just for Premium users (they say they are doing it this way to start it off with a smaller audience for such a big change).
The company (wisely) reset everyone’s passwords, which for most people went smoothly.
However, there were a number of people for whom the reset did not go so well, and they lost (yikes) any notes that they had un-synchronized.
This has unsurprisingly caused a lot of distress for some Evernote users, but yesterday on the Evernote Forum, user Dr. Jackie posted a solution that worked.
After sending a couple of e-mails to the EN staff, and getting a response the very next day with the same suggestions, I sent my last e-mail and got a life-saving answer from Martin Schoffler. I have so much to thank him. He gave me two options on retrieving my notes, without reassuring me 100% that they would be there. The steps he gave me to follow made me hopeless because I couldn’t find my notes, but when I kept on looking just about everywhere (in this software I’ll tell you about in a moment) I finally found them.
The forum post has step-by-step instructions, but involves using a program called iExplorer to dig around in your iOS device.
If this works for you, I’d love to hear about it. If you found another way to recover your lost notes, please let us know in the comments as well. Hope this helps.
There are lots of quick ways to capture notes to Evernote when you are on the go, but the problem is they are usually unstructured.
You can capture the notes quickly, but then later you need to name and possibly tag them.
I was recently contacted by the folks at Cloudmanic about their new tool Evermanic that promises to solve this: you can create repeatable templates for Evernote, and then use them to quickly create named, tagged notes on your mobile device going forward.
The Cloudmanic folks threw me a review copy of Evermanic so that I could check it out. At the moment it is iPhone only, but their site shows that the Android version is coming soon.
I can see an app like this being really handy for people who need to create the same type of notes over and over again when they are away from their computers.
Set Up Your Profiles
When starting up Evermanic for the first time, you are asked to sign in with a Cloudmanic account or create a new one. Why do you need a Cloudmanic account? To be honest, I am not exactly sure. I am guessing it is to support future integration with their other products, but it’d be nice if there was an option to just use Evermanic without an account.
With that out of the way, you create your first Profile.
When you create your Profile, you give it a name, then you give the notes a default Title, and then you assign the Notebook and Tags that this note should be given.
One minor nitpick: it doesn’t seem as if you can create tags when you are creating a Profile. It’d be nice to have that ability to go beyond your existing tags.
Once you have a Profile (or Profiles) set up, and for subsequent launches, you are presented with a screen to choose your Profile and choose which type of note that you want to create: Text, Audio, or Photo.
Let’s create a Text note. Once you choose your Profile and you tap the type of note that you want to create, you can type your note and customize the title (In this example I have typed - 1234 Wark St. at the end of the existing Property Inspection title from my Profile.
You can not choose the Notebook or modify the Tags. Those are coming from your Profile.
When your note is created, it is uploaded to your Evernote account, tagged and titled.
Here’s what that note looks like in Evernote.
Here’s a Photo note. Since I used the same Profile, it is tagged and titled appropriately.
Issues And Suggestions
I think that Evermanic is a nice first version of an app that many people will find handy.
I did come across one possible showstopper issue. Remember how you are able to create three types of notes: Text, Audio, and Photo? For some reason, Photo notes did not work for me. I tried it at home on my wi-fi and at Starbucks on 3G, and the note seemed to upload but never actually appeared in Evernote. Very odd.
I don’t know if there is a bug or some sort of service issue. For me, this wouldn’t be a big deal because I would use this for text notes (which worked perfectly), but it is something to be aware of.
Update: This was a temporary server glitch. Photo notes now work for me.
Some suggestions for future releases:
It’d be nice if you could use Evermanic without needing a Cloudmanic account, unless there is a really compelling reason to need one.
It’d be nice to be able to create templates for the note contents themselves when creating a Profile. For example, you might be creating a Support ticket and want to have “Problem: Steps To Replicate: Resolution:” pre-populated in the note.
To be super useful, the delineation between “Text” and “Photo” notes could be eliminated. In my Property Inspection example, someone would want to be able to create a Text note, but then would want to be able to attach photos.
When creating a note, it’d be nice to have the ability to add additional tags. For example, you might want to have a Profile pre-populated with Tags to be applied to all instances of a certain type of note, but then for individual notes you might want to be able to add a certain customer’s tag.
Who me, greedy?
Despite my suggestions, I think Evermanic fills a need and I look forward to seeing how it grows over time. At the time of writing it is $1.99.
What sort of Evernote templates could you see yourself creating?
Evernote is one of those applications that is easy to start using, but hard to master and get all you can out of it.
Sure you can put stuff in there, but how do you organize your information and how do you find what you need when you need it?
Since 2010, I have recommended Evernote Essentials to hundreds of DocumentSnap readers who have asked me how best to get started with Evernote..
I am pleased to see that Brett just released Version 3 of his Guide, so as a customer I downloaded the new version right away. My thoughts on the revision are below, but if you don’t feel like reading: if you are an Evernote user and want to use the software effectively, pick up Evernote Essentials. If you are already an Evernote Essentials customer, make sure you download the free update.
When you are updating something like this, it can be tempting to just throw in some updated screenshots, stick in some new paragraphs based on reader questions, and call it a day.
I guess Brett likes to do things the hard way because Version 3 of Evernote Essentials has had large chunks of the guide rewritten and refocused.
There are product tours of the Mac and Windows versions of the software so you can get a sense of the platform that you use and can ignore the stuff that you don’t.
The Brooks Test
In my opinion, a guide like this succeeds when both new users and power users can get something out of it.
When I am reviewing material like Evernote Essentials, a little test I have is to see what I learn from it. If I am a new user, that should (hopefully) be a lot.
If I am already a power user (as I consider myself to be with Evernote) and I pick up some tips, that is a sign to me that the product is valuable.
I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of times I thought “oh REALLY!” to myself as I read Version 3, especially when it came to the discussion of note history and the Evernote for Mac non-global keyboard shortcuts.
Tagging can be a quagmire in any application that supports them, but in Evernote they can quickly become out of hand.
I really like Brett’s tagging section and how he approaches tagging in Evernote. Especially the great discussion about how you may not necessarily NEED to tag in some situations.
My Favorite Chapter
You will probably not be surprised to learn that I was interested in the Going Paperless With Evernote chapter. There is a great section on organization and naming, and he even tackles the minefield of whether to have sensitive information in Evernote or not,
I really like this quote, which I hope Brett will not mind my sharing:
First, you want your stuff be easy to find. All of this organizational nonsense isn’t worth squat if you can’t easily find what you need when you need it. Keep this in mind when deciding on things like notebooks (both the number of notebooks you have and how they’re named).
Very true. If you pick up the guide, pay attention to the search chapter. I still refer to the original Evernote Essentials’ search section when I need to find something.
I’ve always enjoyed Brett’s clear and entertaining writing style. The Evidence Locker chapter made me laugh out loud on Vancouver’s Skytrain, so thanks to him for making me look like a crazy person.
As I said earlier, I have been recommending Evernote Essentials since 2010, and I certainly will continue to do so with this new version.
There are lots of $1-$5 Evernote eBooks out there now, so $29 is quite a premium. Only you can say whether your need and desire to conquer the software is worth that. It was to me.
Full credit for this one goes to this Evernote forum thread, so thanks to user HerbyDE for asking the question and for users Owyn and jbenson2 for answering it. Check out jbenson2’s post in particular for some ways that you can make the search extremely fine-grained.
This video on finding shared notes in Evernote is part of a series of quick videos on paperless tips and topics. View more in the series here.
Having Evernote on your Android device can be extremely handy when you are on the go. However, there is something that often trips people up: the ability to have their notes available offline.
There is nothing quite like firing up Evernote on your phone when you are on an airplane or somewhere with no data access and getting a big blank note where you thought your important PDF would be.
What you want to do ahead of time is mark your notebooks as available for Offline Sync. That way, the contents and attachments are downloaded to your device and should be available no matter what your data situation is.
This ability is only available to Premium subscribers, but depending on your needs it might be the thing that makes going Premium worth it.
I have a notebook with all my travel stuff called (wait for it…) Travel, so let’s see how to set it up on Android.
Enable Individual Notebooks
First, you want to go to your list of notebooks in the Evernote client. You’ll see, at least at the time of writing, a small triangle to the bottom right of each note name. Tap it.
You then have a bunch of options, among them being Enable Offline Sync. Tap that, and it will tell Evernote to download all the note contents and attachments to your device.
Once the app has finished downloading all the materials, your notebook will now be marked as offline.
Accessing Offline Notes
Accessing your offline notes is the same as normal. You go to the notebook, go to your note, and your PDFs (and other attachments) should be there available to open.
The Evernote Android client has the ability to search your notes offline, but you may need to enable that. Go to Settings > Search and Storage and make sure that Offline Search is checked. You will then be able to search your note contents even when offline.
Whether you use Android or iOS, I recommend that you spend some time now thinking about which notebooks you’d like to have accessible when offline. The time to find out that you need something is not when you are in a foreign country nowhere near wi-fi.
I am a tagger. I tag notes in Evernote and I apply OpenMeta tags to my documents in OS X.
It may seem odd, I often do not recommend that people get too into tagging their documents. I find that people are either “taggers” or they are not, and when they are not it adds an unnecessary level of complexity that they have trouble wrapping their head around.
For those people who do start tagging, the chain of events is pretty predictable:
Tag Evernote notes or documents with every possible word you can think of.
Tag with singular or plural versions of many of those same tags because you forget which way you did it before.
Get a ridiculously long and unwieldy list of tags, many of which have only one or two notes or files associated with them.
Either stop tagging altogether, or just let things get out of control because you don’t have time to go back and fix it.
One of the biggest hurdles to tagging information successfully is forgetting that you are going to forget most of what you are thinking at the time you tagged it. Many of the associations in your mind that seem blindingly obvious and fresh to you now may not even be there in a few days and will probably be nearly vaporized in a few months.
The most is very lightly focused on Evernote (it is on Daniel Gold’s blog, after all), but I think it applies to any tagging situation.
Do you have any tips that have worked well for you when you are tagging notes or documents?