Review: Evernote Essentials 3 By Brett Kelly

Review: Evernote Essentials 3 By Brett Kelly

Evernote EssentialsEvernote 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.[1].

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.

Completely Rewritten

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[2] 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.[3]

  1. You can read my original review here  ↩

  2. Anyone who has worked in a corporate environment will relate to this one.  ↩

  3. While I am an affiliate of Evernote Essentials and will receive a commission for any copies sold through this link, I am also a customer and paid for my copy myself. It was worth it to me.  ↩

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

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Evernote Essentials 4 Review • Tips To Learn How To Go Paperless | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog - February 20, 2014 Reply

[…] seems like only seven months ago that Brett Kelly released Version 3 of Evernote Essentials. Oh wait, it […]

Brooks Duncan reviews Evernote Essentials 3.0 - February 19, 2013 Reply

[…] Here’s Brooks’ review. […]

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