As well as Evernote for all your devices; IOS, Android, Mac OSX, Windows and possibly more, Evernote makes some extra apps. There's Scannable, Penultimate, Skitch and Food to name a few. I thought I'd test drive a few of them. There’s also an Evernote app center where apps by third parties are promoted by Evernote, but I haven’t got too far into those yet.
Let's start with the web clipper.
Seems like a whimpy start to my list, but clipping stuff from the web is a very common way to get information into Evernote. It is your universal inbox after all. So any web page you see that has something you might want to read again or refer to or use later, you can clip it. This is a more reliable way to save web pages than saving bookmarks. Evernote gives you the option of saving the link or saving a copy of the page;
On a Mac, shift click the Evernote elephant icon in Safari to save a PDF version of the currrent page to your Inbox
Don't forget the web clipper, it's a vital add-on to Evernote.
Scannable. This free IOS app lets you … (wait for it…) ... Scan using your iPhone or iPad. Ta da!
There is a scanner built into Evernote, you don’t need any add-on app. And it's easy to use and has presets for Post-it notes, Moleskine notebooks, documents, business cards and photos. So why do we need a separate scanner app? I'm not sure to be honest. It's supposed to do more accurate scans and line up better. Then the scans sync to Evernote and if you have Evernote Premium, they get text layers added for searching. In practice, I wasn't that impressed. And you still can't cut and paste the text, it just adds the text underneath to allow searching, you can't actually use the text like you could if you scanned it with OCR. I suppose the real benefit is that if you have the Fujitsu Evernote compatible scanner, this app lets you control it and scan over wifi. You drop the paper in the scanner and click the app to scan. I have the non-Evernote Fujitsu scanner (ScanSnap S1500M) and it scans to Evernote just fine. If you want a document scanner, get a Fujitsu scanner. (and my employer doesn’t even sell Fujitsu so I have no axe to grind here)
Penultimate is a hand writing capture app for iPad. You write on the screen with your finger or a stylus and the finished document is saved to Evernote with text layer added but the same limitations. They recommend the Jot stylus which has bluetooth to transmit pressure info to the iPad. This is supposed to make the handwriting flow better and more accurately. I'm not impressed; it captures my siganture really well, but anything else comes out crappy. My hand writing is crappy enough at the best of times, but the digital onscreen version is garbage.
My failure with Penultimate got me into a dark place, searching for the right hand writing capture app, I was sure it was out there somewhere and I was darn certain I could find it. I wasted a week of my life.
I tried a LOT of handwriting apps for iPad. Universally they were crap. Some more so than others. I have tried different styluses and different techniques and come to the conclusion that I am way better off writing in my Moleskine notebook with a real pen and then scanning it to Evernote later. It still becomes searchable and I can actually read it myself, unlike the on-screen handwriting, which I can't read.
Memo - awful
GoodNotes - frustratingly awful
Notes Plus - God awful
Penultimate - un-useable and awful
Skitch is a sketching app for iPad. This one seems useful. It allows you to draw sketches, but more importantly to mark up (draw over) photos, PDFs and other documents. I haven’t used it seriously, but it shows great promise. If you’re looking for a digital whiteboard type app, this might be it. More to follow, I promise.
Food is the gourmet's app for Evernote. Food stores recipes, restaraunt info, meals including photos and reviews. I've just started with it, but it looks good. The presentation and correlation of recipes I have to recipes on the Internet looks fascinating. I seems to use the Context feature from Evernote, but take it to the next level. More to follow, I promise, I’m excited about this one.
On top of these apps, there is the web version of Evernote. That means using Evernote in your web browser rather than running an app on your PC, Mac, tablet or phone. It’s a subtle difference but needs considering. The web version, for example, provides a “distraction free writing” mode, which I like. The web version also gives you more view and control over your Evernote account, amount of data you have moved and related info. And the beauty is you can access your Evernote data from any PC with Internet.
PDF Pen Pro
When I said I hadn’t used any of the Evernote app centre apps, I lied. I have used PDF Pen Pro, which by sheer coincidence appears int he app centre. This little number lets you play with PDF files. You can edit them, re-format them, sign them, re-design them and heaps more. Its the swiss army knife for PDF files. Way better than Adobe’s Acrobat and significantly cheaper. It’s what Mac people use for PDF’s. The main reason you might want to use this with Evernote is that it will OCR a PDF and add the text layer so you can edit the text or copy it for use elsewhere. It turns a scanned PDF into an editable document. Very handy.
This app lets you create templates that can be used to create Notes that look the same every time. It simplifies the process of standardising your forms. I just started a trial, let you know how it goes, but I haven’t used it since I created the free account, so that isn’t looking good.
The other Evernote extras are stationery items. There’s the Moleskine notebook. Moleskine is the brand if you didn’t know. They make A5 and smaller notebooks and they are very nice if you’re into stationery porn. They have several notebooks that are designed for Evernote. There’s a sketchbook (blank pages for drawing) and a notebook (lined pages for writing) both come with stickers that Evernote will recognise if you photograph the finished page with the camera in Evernote. The six different types of stickers allow for automatic tagging and filing. Stick the sticker on the page and then photograph it, easy.
The other stationery item is the humble Post-it note. If you get the right coloured Post-it notes, these can be recognised by Evernote when you photograph them, again allowing automatic tagging and filing away. Evernote recognises four different colours of Post-it (Electric Yellow, Neon Pink, Electric Blue, Limeade).
I found all these stationery items were much easier to use and gave better results than any hand writing recognition app. My writing on paper is legible, just.
I had trouble finding the Evernote edition Moleskine notebooks in Hobart. Then I found Artery. Bliss. Stationery porn bliss.