Friday, August 17, 2012

From Outlook to Evernote

I am admittedly late coming to the Evernote table. The reason however, is that while it was filling a void for others, that same void simply has not existed for me. We all have notes to keep on a variety of subjects, and most people find themselves wondering where to keep them and how to organize them. Evernote provides the answer. It's a place to keep, well...notes.
Time Management

For me, the Notes module of Outlook—together with a well-defined folder system on my hard drive—served the purpose others use for Evernote. Where do you keep all of those frequent flyer numbers, hotel rewards numbers, Xerox machine codes, and so forth? If you looked at my Outlook Notes, you would see an "A-C," a "D-F", a "G-L," etc.with each one of those notes housing numbers and codes for that range of the alphabet. Another note held a short bio of me, because you never know when someone is going to need to introduce you and will need some verbiage. Other notes held a couple of devotionals or motivational poems in case I was called on to "say a few words." In short, Outlook Notes held reference information I wanted to have with me everywhere.

When I found information on the Internet that I wanted to save, I was always able to highlight, copy, and paste it into a Word document. The document was then saved in a well-defined folder system within my computer's Documents library.

I didn't need Evernote. I was impressed by its ability to search not only text, but also words housed within photographs. Again, my photos were always named logically, so the file name would be turned up in the search. Evernote does include the ability to record sounds. However, I can put an mp3 file into a folder and give it a logical name. The ability to record sound, take a photo, capture text, and have all those as part of the same note...now that is starting to sound like something I might want to consider. However, I was not convinced that the need was great enough to add another component to an organizational system that was working.

A Replacement for Outlook Notes
In moving from an all-Outlook environment to an all-cloud environment, Evernote was the immediate choice as a place to house my Outlook Notes. In addition to establishing a web-based account, I downloaded Evernote to my office desktop computer, my laptop, my tablet, and my Android. In addition, I installed the Evernote Web Clipper on my browser.

Copying Outlook Notes to Evernote was easy. As a result of either downloading Evernote to my computer or installing the Evernote Web Clipper—and I am not sure which—when I right-click on an image or text, one of my choices is "Add to Evernote."

I opened Outlook and right-clicked each Note one at a time. After selecting "Add to Evernote," each newly-created note opened, where I could edit it, give it a title, and add whatever tags were appropriate.

Summary
Evernote provides me another way to store the information I housed in Outlook Notes. Now that Evernote is becoming part of my system, I plan additional uses for it. As a start, I have identified material to read that will guide me with best practice. You will probably see some of the results of what I learn posted on this blog.

For those who use Evernote, how has it helped your productivity?


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