Why Evernote is the best cloud service out there

Evernote logo center 4c lrg

If you were to ask any of my friends, you'd know one thing: I love evernote. I am constantly looking for new things to do with this fantastic service. I use it almost every day to store and share notes, lists, ideas, letters, drafts, articles, and just about everything else you could think of. What i want to do is to prove to you why it is in fact the best service on the web.

The Basics

Evernote is simple, easy, and fast. When you download the app and set it up, it isn't long before you're a master at using the service. The note creation interface is very straightforward, as is sharing, searching, and just about everything else about it. Download it on another platform, sign in, and bam, all of your notes are right there. For me, i think that right there is the best feature. The ability to sync everything without any thought whatsoever between all of my different devices. It's what i've always been looking for.

Evernote is completely compatible on just about every single major mobile platform. Pretty much, wherever you go, evernote can go with you. I love that feature. All of my notes are available on my phone for quick reference if i need them, and on a friend's laptop if i happen to be in a pinch. They're available on the web too on anything that isn't supported officially. That, to me, is absolutely fantastic.

File Handling

Evernote word doc

Evernote handles all files. And when i say all files, i mean all files. You can attach anything to a note that you want. Images, PDF's, word documents, movies, sound clips, everything. All of it is stored in the cloud, so you can access your files on all your devices as well.

Certain types of files (images and PDF's) also can get OCR applied to them in the evernote cloud. All images are by default indexed with OCR data for search, however one must have a Pro subscription in order to have OCR on their PDF documents. To be honest, the OCR on PDF documents isn't too great. I recommend instead using a tool like Acrobat to do OCR before uploading to the cloud. That way, you can have OCR data for search even if you don't have a pro account, and it's much more customizable.

The best part of this, which I discovered today, is the fact that you can edit documents in an external editor and save them back into evernote. I had a word document in an evernote note, and i tried opening it. Word opened, with the document inside. When i made a change, and exited, evernote sent a growl notification and let me know that my attachment had been updated. Cool! This feature definitely made me love the service even more.

Web Clipping

Evernote web clipper

Another fantastic feature of Evernote is the web clipper plugins for your browser. This little plugin allows you to clip the entire contents of an article into evernote, or just an article, so you can refer back to them later. I personally use this feature all the time. I use it to save useful articles on tech or programming blogs for reference later. It's much easier than using the reading list in safari, or something similar. This lets you save exactly what you want to save, and have it there all the time. Super useful.


Evernote share button

Sharing. Usually, it's a key element for any kind of project or collaboration. Evernote makes this really easy. Each note can be shared individually via a share url, or one can share a notebook with a single user. Either way, it's just a few clicks, and your notes can be available to anyone who needs to see them.

The one drawback to this is the fact that, unless you have a pro account, only you can edit notes in a shared notebook. If both users have pro accounts, then the notebook can be edited by both. Otherwise, only the original author can edit the notebook.

In the end

Evernote, for me, is the ideal web service to keep track of just about everything in my life. It keeps all my files in order, let's me search them, puts them on all my devices, let's me share them, manipulate my files, and just about everything else i could possibly want to do. I love evernote, and I will most likely keep using it for as long as it is alive. And, with the recent addition of Skitch to the Evernote family, who knows what could come in the future.

If you're not yet an Evernote user, you can sign up here, or you can download it from the mac app store, if that suits you better. Please, if you don't use it yet, give it a try!

All for Now!

Arthur Rosa is an engineering manager based in Sunnyvale, California.