How to Use Evernote for Taking Notes (and Much More)

Evernote goes beyond notes. You can use it to capture and organize drawings, photos, web content, videos as well as audio texts.

As an app, evernote is compatible with Windows, Android, Mac and iOS operating systems. It is also fully functional online, hence you can access it from major browsers.

How to Access Evernote

Download the Evernote app from their website, Microsoft website, Google Play or App Store.

Evernote has three user options namely free, premium and business.

The free or basic option has limited features compared to the other two. For instance, you can only sync your contents with two devices. However, with the paid plans, syncing is unlimited.

How to Navigate Through Evernote Dashboard

Once you sign in to Evernote from your computer, a welcome window appears.

Click on the ‘Get started button’.

Complete the remaining series of prompts. These are; ‘what brings you to evernote’, ‘where you will use evernote (devices)’, ‘how you plan to use evernote’ and ‘your plan of choice’.

At the top left of the dashboard, your personal account icon is shown.

The main interface displays a list of navigation icons on the left and the main editor on the right. These icons include:

  • The search bar – allows you to search for any content in your account.
  • New note – is the main bar you click on when starting note-taking.
  • Shortcuts – create shortcuts in your dashboard to quickly locate content.
  • All notes – contains all your notes.
  • Notebooks – contains all your notebooks
  • Shared with me – contains notes that other users have shared with you
  • Tags – allows you to quickly locate content by labels
  • Trash – contains unwanted notes. You can always retrieve them as you wish.
  • Upgrade – allows you to upgrade to other subscription plans.

How to Create Notes

  • Use the green icon ‘New Note’ for all your note takings.
  • When you click on it, a drop down list of options appears.
  • You can create notes from a blank template or customized templates for to-do lists, weekly plans, meetings, lecture notes, essay outlines, daily reflections, meal-planning or projects. Choose templates from the template gallery. These templates contain pre-made sections that you fill in.
  • When you create a new note, the main editor displays a formatting bar at the top. This helps you to change fonts, create bullets or lists, apply text color, insert links or align your texts.
  • The blue button on the toolbar allows you to create tables, attach photos, add sketches, attachments or checkboxes. For example, you can click on the ‘Table’ icon to create and edit tables. However, Evernote tables don’t contain formulas for data manipulation.
  • The current Evernote for iOS enables you to protect your notes from being edited.
  • You can also set spelling preferences while typing notes. To do this, go to ‘Tools’ then ‘Preferences’. Click on the ‘Check Spelling While Typing’ option.

To Move Notes:

  • Right-click on the note.
  • Select ‘Move Note’ and choose where you want to move the note.

How to Create and Remove Shortcuts

Shortcuts allow you to quickly access your contents.

To create shortcuts:

  • Select and right-click on the item. From the pop-up menu, select ‘Add to Shortcuts’.
  • Each shortcut you create contains a different icon to distinguish them.

To remove shortcuts:

  • Right-click on the item and select ‘Remove from Shortcuts’.
  • Alternatively, go to the ‘Shortcuts’ icon. Click on the ‘X’ button next to the items you want to remove.

How to Share Notes

Evernote notes come with shareable URL links that give others access.

  • Open the note you want to share.
  • Click on the green ‘Share’ button.
  • Select ‘Shareable Link’ and click on ‘Copy Link’.

How to Create Internal Links

Internal note links come in handy when you want to link groups of notes for projects such as novels and minutes.

To create one,

  • Open a note and click on the ‘More actions’ button.
  • Go to ‘Copy internal link’.

Internal links are only useful for sharing with others when they already have access to the notes.

How to Publish Notebooks

  • Select and right-click on the notebook you want to publish.
  • Click on ‘Share Notebook’ then ‘Modify Notebook permission’.
  • Click on the ‘Publish’ button and copy the notebook’s link.

How to Delete Notebooks

  • Select and right-click on the notebook.
  • From the drop down list, click on the ‘Delete notebook’ option.
  • The item will be moved to the trash folder.

How to Rename Notebooks

  • Go to ‘Notebooks’ on the left panel. Select and right-click on the notebook you want to rename.
  • Choose ‘Rename Notebook’.

How to Create Tags

Tags come in handy when you want to organize your notes. Use tags to categorize your notes and notebooks. This makes it easier to locate them.

To add tags,

  • Click on the ‘Add tag’ icon at the bottom of the note (for older versions, this icon is at the top of the note).
  • Enter your keywords to create tags.

How to Import and Export Notes

This option is only available for Evernote Windows and Mac.

Imported files appear as ENEX files.

To import notes:

  • From the menu bar, go to ‘File’ then ‘Import’.
  • In the pop-up window, identify the files you want to import.
  • Click on ‘Open’. The files will be imported.
  • All notes and attributes contained in the file will be imported. However, the content structure of your notebooks will be lost, hence you will have to reformat.

To export notes:

  • Right-click on the selected notes. Click on ‘Export’.
  • Choose your preferred file format.
  • Select all attributes you want to be included in the files.
  • Click on ‘Export’ and the files will be saved to your laptop.

How to Merge Notes

Evernote allows you to combine notes into a single one. This feature is only available for Evernote Windows and Mac.

The latest Evernote version allows you to retain copies of the individual notes.

To merge notes,

  • Press the ‘ctrl’ button for Windows and ‘cmd’ for Mac. Select all notes to merge.
  • Click on the ‘Merge’ button indicated as double arrows from the blue box at the bottom.
  • A pop-up window appears. Using the drag handle located at the left of the note’s title, drag and drop notes.
  • Tick the ‘Keep copy of original notes’ box.
  • Click on ‘Merge notes’.

How to Create a Table of Content for Notes

A table of content is an index containing links to individual notes.

To create one,

  • Copy and paste links of individual links of notes to another note.
  • Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut ‘ctrl + click’ for Windows and ‘cmd + click’ for Mac.
  • Select the ‘Create Table of Contents Note’ option.

How to Create Notebook Stacks

Stacks are used to organize notebooks with similar topics.

  • Select a notebook and click on the ‘More actions’ option indicated by three dots.
  • From the drop-down menu, select ‘Add to stack’. You can either add stacks to existing or new ones. To add to a new one, click on ‘New stack’.

How to Use the Search Feature

Evernote’s search feature goes beyond searching. It allows you to filter and save your searches. It also provides and matches relevant suggestions based on your search history.

  • When you click on the search bar, a dropdown list appears. Your search suggestions appear at the top.
  • The ‘Go to’ section allows you to quickly locate items. It suggests and lists notebooks and notes from your account.
  • Use the ‘Search Filters’ to locate specific content. For example, you may filter your searches based on time, prices, dates or addresses.

How to Synchronize Your Notes

Syncing notes in Evernote is simplified by Evernote web. Any content synchronization you do first appears in Evernote web.

Afterwards, you will be able to access the notes from the devices you synced with.

For Evernote Windows and Mac, your synchronized content is also stored on the hard drive.

How to Annotate Images and PDFs

You can add text or additional information to images and PDFs. Image annotation is available across all Evernote plans. However, PDF annotation is only available for paid Evernote plans.

To annotate,

  • Open the notes containing items you want to annotate.
  • Right-click on the image or PDF and select ‘Annotate This Image’ or ‘Annotate This PDF.

There are numerous annotation tools at your disposal. They include:

Arrow, Pen, Shape, Highlighter and Line tools

To use any of these:

  • Select the tool and place the cursor where you want to add.
  • Hold and drag the tool over the area.

Text tool

Use a text box to add texts to images or PDF.

  • Select the text tool and click a spot where the text should appear.
  • Type into the text box. Use formatting options to format the text.

Pixelate tool

Use this to blur sections of images.

This tool is useful for privacy, in case you don’t want to share certain information.

Stamp tool

Use this tool to add more visual effects. Select stamps from the Stamp tool menu.

You can add pointers and texts to stamps from the stamp editing options.

Crop and resize

Use this tool to reduce, enlarge or remove sections of images.

  • Select the tool, hold and drag it over the section you want to crop or resize.

To remove annotations

  • Go to ‘Edit’ from the menu bar.
  • Select ‘Clear Annotations’.

How to Print Notes

With the latest Evernote version, you can print individual notes.

To print,

  • Select the note to print.
  • From the menu bar, go to ‘Note’ then ‘Print Note’.


Evernote allows you to capture details such as notes, photos and web content that you want to use. Use it to organize, share and retain crucial information. It is integrated into the web and other everyday apps such as Gmail, hence allowing you to access it from anywhere. With its cloud computing features, it safeguards against loss of data.

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Grace Njeri-Otieno

Grace Njeri-Otieno is a Kenyan, a wife, a mom, and currently a PhD student, among many other balls she juggles. She holds a Bachelors' and Masters' degrees in Economics and has more than 7 years' experience with an INGO. She was inspired to start this site so as to share the lessons learned throughout her PhD journey with other PhD students. Her vision for this site is "to become a go-to resource center for PhD students in all their spheres of learning."

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