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Evernote, the popular note-taking app, recently updated its clients on both Mac OS X (s aapl) 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.
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.