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Summary:

Evernote, the popular note-taking app, recently updated its clients on both Mac OS X and iOS, and though there are highs and lows, overall each update brings appreciated improvements. The changes could even upgrade Evernote from bench-warmer to starting player in my daily workflow.

evernotescreen-shot-2011-06-06-at-9-46-32-am

Evernote, the popular note-taking app, recently updated its clients on both Mac OS X  and iOS, and though there are highs and lows, overall each update brings appreciated improvements. The changes could even upgrade Evernote from bench-warmer to starting player in my daily workflow.

OS X update: The bloop single

I’m becoming convinced Full Screen mode is to OS X what 3-D is to movies: it seems like a great idea until you use it a lot. I raved about it when Lion launched, but my usage has since waned. With Pages, Safari, and Mail I’ll use full screen, but that’s more for easy switching or creating a distraction-free workspace. Evernote has introduced Full Screen mode and I doubt I’ll ever use it. For me, Evenote is an app I’m likely to have running behind my active window for reference and for quickly dropping links into. Still, it might be useful for taking notes during a lecture.

The developers claim they’ve “embraced the new look and feel of Lion,” which is a fancy way of saying “We got rid of the colors.” The only color to be found in the interface is the Sync icon turning blue when it syncs data. There’s also a new Favorites bar where you can pin frequently used notes, search results or notebooks. Since I have about 15 notebooks, I really appreciate the ability to pin those I use most.

iOS updates: The rest of the story

The double: Shared notebook support

The iOS versions can now read content from shared notebooks. You can’t edit or create shared notes from your device in this version (they’re working on it), but if you’re a heavy shared notebooks user, at least now you can read them. I haven’t played with shared notebooks much, but once you can edit, and if there is push or iCloud support, this should be great for collaboration.

The triple: Searching within notes

You could search for all the notes that contained a word, but if you wanted to find out where in the note it occurs, you couldn’t. Now you can. This is handy, since a lot of my searches are for terms buried in notes.

The Grand Slam: Rich text editing

It’s been their most-asked-for feature. It’s finally here. You can now edit a rich text document inline on iOS.  It’s not perfect; you have to choose to append the document or simplify it. Simplifying makes its best guess on the styles. Make no mistake though; this is a strong hit. I’ll be using this feature a lot since I tend to make notes on clipped content, or a note I’ve previously had the audacity to apply formatting to in the desktop version.

Post-game commentary

While the OS X version rates a hearty “meh,” I’m thrilled with the iOS updates. The ability to finally edit rich text notes means Evernote will see more usage in my daily workflow. In the few days it’s been available I’ve already used it more than I have in the last year. Good job, Evernote.

  1. Steven Esteban Thursday, August 25, 2011

    RTE is a truly a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and a full count 3 runs behind if it works. Nitpick – a cycle requires a home run, not a grand slam.

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    1. Yeah, I know. But it was such a major update I didn’t think it was just a home run. I was debating an “in the park home run” analogy.

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  2. I reverted to the previous iOS version for one reason: the RTE’s devastating effect on fonts. It’s not possible to change the font and point size in the iOS client (which one might think would be part of rich text). This results in hideous text in the Mac client. I took meeting notes on my iPad and synced to my Mac client. I then had to play all sorts of games to make the note look decent. While I appreciate that different platforms have different capabilities, is it too much to ask that text created by the same application on multiple platforms at least show the same results on those platforms?

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  3. I agree Full Screen Mode is less than functional, but other improvements are welcomed. For iOS, still much lacking is the ability to stack or sync with stacked notebooks created on the MAC.

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