The Ultimate Evernote Series, Part 6: Extending Evernote’s Functionality via Apps
April 24, 2013 | 11:15 am
By Joanna Cabot
Apps allow you to easily create and manage notes which have special features; any notes you create using the special app will get grouped into their own special notebook or notebooks; these will be visible to you from within your core Evernote app as well, but your other notebooks from there will not transfer over to these additional apps. For example, my Skitch notebook is visible both in Skitch and in Evernote, but my Evernote notebooks are not visibile in Skitch.
Why, then, would you want to use a separate app and not just keep everything in the core Evernote system? Two reasons. Some apps, such as Skitch or Penultimate, offer tool sets that are not available within the core Evernote app. It may make the app too large or complex to include them for the small subset of users who need them. Allowing app plug-ins means that those who need these features can add the functionality if they wish.
In other instances, the other app may be something completely different from Evernote and simply use it as a backup tool. Everyday.me is a journal app that is fully featured in its own right, but has the option to create a weekly backup for you inside your Evernote account. It creates a notebook for you and automatically sends a weekly summary to it. I use this app often and like knowing that my data is backed up in an easily accessible way.
Below, you’ll find a brief recap of the Evernote extras I’ve used; feel free to reply in the comments if you have a favorite I’ve missed!
Skitch allows you to illustrate your Evernote notes using shapes, arrows, highlights and other features. It can import from your photo roll, and I have had success as well sending PDFs to it from Dropbox.
I have a drawing app that can import from the photo roll, but that app only has a freehand tool; it does not have shapes or highlights. So I downloaded Skitch and was pleasantly surprised! I’ve used it so far to create screenshots for a tutorial series I’m making for our kindergarten computer curriculum, and I love it!
Everyday Me is a journal program that lets you write daily journal entries. You can write private entries using the program itself, or you can pull entries off your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Foursquare profiles, which is quite handy. You can tag your entries or add little mood emoticons; the program keeps stats and can show you a cool tag cloud and mood stats upon request.
There are some other cool features, too. You can also get a daily email called ‘Blast from the Past,’ which will send you a nicely formatted recap of your events from past years on that date. You can also get a daily prompt to help you think of topics to write about, although I haven’t figured out how to get that working.
Best of all, your complete journal can sync across all your devices—so you could update something on your phone and open it up later on your iPad. Or you could use your phone to post a Facebook update, then get it later on your iPad when Everyday.me syncs up.
I am not a heavy Facebook user compared to many, but I do post there semi-regularly, just little notes and updates. It was cool to see Everyday.me download all my stuff from the past few years and revisit some old memories. I deleted the ones that weren’t necessary, tagged the rest and now have a cool record of my life that I can update easily on all my devices, and which will automatically back itself up. This app has become part of my regular toolbox.
Penultimate is a notebook program that lets you write and create notes by hand, using your finger or writing with a stylus pen. You can choose from different page backgrounds such as lines, graph paper, storyboards and so on via in-app purchase, and use different pen colors and line thicknesses to draw, sketch, write and organize.
The app has some nice bonus features as well, such as a ‘wrist rest’ option which allows you to specify how you hold the pen, so that the app won’t count the weight of your wrist as a pen stroke, and the ability to move pages within your notebook as you organize.
I don’t do much handwriting, so I haven’t explored this much, but we have it on the school iPads so the students can use the storyboard paper, and they enjoy it a lot. It can be used without the Evernote synccing too!
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There are some other Evernote apps I haven’t tried yet: Evernote Peek, which lets you use a smartcover (or a digital facsimile of one) to turn your notes into digital flashcards, and Evernote Food, which simplifies the Web clipping of recipes.
I’m sure Evernote will add more app extensions as the ecosystem grows and matures. These apps are worth checking out if you have an interest in a special area or need specialized tools. Enjoy exploring Evernote!