What’s new in Evernote 5 for Mac

Evernote for Mac recently received a new look and user-friendly interface in its latest update.

The left panel has been updated with new options, including Shortcuts for quick access to favorite notes, notebooks, tags, and saved searches.The sidebar also includes a list of recent notes, and views of your notebooks and tags.

The Notes, Notebooks, Tags, and Atlas icons stand out, keeping data organized and the sidebar uncluttered. Each section may look familiar, but has inevitably been updated at least with a new interface.

Evernote has also integrated your own notebooks alongside Shared Notebooks that other users have let you access. Sharing’s also been improved in the Note Editor—at the top of a note, you can now see how many people have access to the note you’re looking at. Updates to shared notes are now organized more logically, so as not to inundate you as they arrive, and there’s integration with Mountain Lion’s Notification Center.

“Atlas”, meanwhile, is a new function, which lets you view the geographic location in which each note was created.  All notes can be viewed on one map, or via separate Place Cards, which drill down to city-level thumbnails. Location must be enabled for this feature to work.

A similar card view has also been integrated into the revamped Notes List that shows you thumbnails of notes containing images or previews of text notes. All notes can be sorted by notebook or tag.

Major search improvements also come along with Evernote 5, including the updated Type Ahead algorithm that begins suggesting searches based on content inside the user’s account.

Evernote 5 is free in the Mac App Store—paid subscriptions will let you store more information—and is compatible with Macs running OS X 10.6.6 or later.

For a closer look at the Evernote 5 changes, watch the video below.

How Evernote Changed My Life

Evernote has been around a while now, and is a seemingly permanent fixture on the ubiquitous “must have apps” lists that fill technical websites and computer magazines.

Evernote is, however, far from being something just for the nerds. Heavy exposure everywhere from Time magazine to the New York Times has led to it being one of the most consistently popular apps for iOS and Android. There’s therefore a chance you’re using it already. If not, I’m going to tell you why you should.

Despite the hype, I was uninspired by the idea of Evernote to start with. I’m a cynical kind of techie. I have to spend my life not only using tech, but also helping those less technical use it. My interest in anything new and / or popular is less about what it can DO, and more about whether my clients or I will actually consistently use it.

I thought about all the ways I already had to take notes – Mac Mail, Microsoft Outlook, my iPhone’s native notes app, Microsoft OneNote, Wunderlist, my expensive Moleskine notebook. All of these are things I have used at some point with good intentions. All of them also now linger somewhere in my life with a few long-forgotten lists or notes living within. When I want to write a shopping list, I pull a sheet of paper out of my printer. The prospects for my long-term use of Evernote were not great.

OneNote - Forgotten in My Life
OneNote - Forgotten in My Life

However, Evernote’s killer feature is its synchronization. Even the free version allows syncing of a generous quantity of notes, Internet page grabs and camera snapshots across ALL devices: PCs, Macs, iDevices and Androids.

My time with Evernote started much the same as my time with Microsoft’s OneNote. “Right,” I thought, “first off, I’ll start a section for all my blogs and projects, then one for shopping lists and recipes.” I filled a few things in, in my heart thinking that a week down the line I wouldn’t be using it.

Then, however, the next day, I was sitting at a café near my home, and a flood of blog ideas came to mind. Straight away, my iPhone was out of my pocket. I went directly to the relevant lists and added the ideas. I decided to commit to this for a few more days, and suddenly, I had a better list of topics than I had in ages – and it was a click or a tap away wherever I happened to be.

At this point I started to think that Evernote may actually be a keeper, and decided to play around a bit more.

A new takeaway restaurant opened in my town. Wanting to show my wife the menu and suggest we tried the establishment that evening, I walked up to it, clicked my iPhone’s camera and quickly uploaded it to Evernote. All my wife had to do was look on Evernote on my Mac at home, peruse the menu and let me know what she wanted.

Evernote Displaying a Takeaway Menu
Evernote Displaying a Takeaway Menu

This was the light bulb moment. “Hang on,” I thought, “how much easier will life be once I’ve taken a little picture of all the takeaway menus?” No longer will my wife have to call me from the doorstep of a Chinese takeaway read out the menu and see what I fancy. I’ll just have all of them in Evernote.

My Evernote is now filled, as it should be, with idea lists, brainstorms, shopping lists, recipes and, yes, a bunch of takeaway menus. As time goes on, I will be seeing how other Evernote features work their way into my life. Evernote has improved my life, even without text searching of photographed content and the ability to access notes via a browser (in the paid version).

As I said before, to me, software is not about what it can do, but whether I will consistently use it. Well, despite my initial reservations, I now use Evernote everyday – and that’s a win.

Clearly: Chrome browser extension cuts distractions from web pages

Clearly Less Distracting

Evernote has created a tool for people who are easily distracted. Clearly is a Google Chrome extension that strips out navigation, links and advertisement from any Web page and presents you with a cleaner, less distracting online reading experience.

Clearly Less Distracting
Clearly is a Chrome browser extension that strips navigation, links and ads from a page

The Clearly reading experience is customizable: you can choose between three styles of background and typography – which are clean but perfectly boring, but that is the point. Sometimes, a plain vanilla reading experience without the option of clicking on links helps readers concentrate on the reading.

To be honest, I don’t care so much about that. The links and navigation do little to interrupt my reading. But online advertising is becoming more obtrusive. The worst are the ads are the type  that pop up in the amount of time it takes me to read a paragraph or two. That’s more of an interruption than distraction but still stymied by Clearly.

I appreciate that Clearly attempts to stitch together multi-page articles into one page. While that worked for me when reading the New York Times, it failed in Sports Illustrated. Clearly seems to be easier to trigger and faster than clicking on the “Single Page” link on the page. And not every multi-page post has that “Single Page” option.

Of course Clearly has a button to clip the page to your Evernote notebooks. Which is nice if you have something against bookmarklets. But the winning feature for me is that it creates a print-friendly version of the meanest of web pages.

Note that Clearly only works in Chrome although the developers are promising that support for other browsers is coming.

This is a limited extension that strips distractions from a web page and leaves just a clean presentation of text. Even if that is not important to you, Clearly is worth having so you can have fast access to single-page and printer-friendly versions.

Download Clearly [Google Chrome Web Store]

Bring Evernote to Your Linux Desktop with Nevernote

Nevernote

Nevernote When it comes to certain desktop applications, Linux is often the poor cousin of operating systems. Take, for example, Evernote. Evernote is an application that lets you take detailed notes, and more. It’s designed to help you, as its tagline says, remember everything.

There are versions of the software for Windows and Mac OS but, as usual, Linux is out in the cold.

Sure, you can use Evernote’s Web interface but sometimes you may not want to. Or you might have to work without a connection to the Internet. So what’s a neglected Linux user to do? Give Nevernote a shot, that’s what.

Getting started

Obviously, you’ll need an Evernote account. You can get a free one, or pay $5 a month for an account with a few more features. Then, download and install Nevernote.

From there, launch the application. If, like me, you’re using Ubuntu then you’ll find the shortcut by selecting Applications > Internet > Nevernote.

Nevernote main window

Using Nevernote

Let’s assume that this is the first time you’ve run Nevernote, but that you have some notes in the Web-based version of Evernote. You’ll probably want to synchronize your notes. To do that, click the Synchronize button on the toolbar. You’ll be asked for your Evernote user name and password. Once you enter them, Nevernote pulls down your notes. Depending on how many notes you have, that could take a few seconds or longer.

From there, using Nevernote is just like using Evernote on the Web. Click the New icon on toolbar to create a new note. You can give it a title, add the note to an existing notebook, and tag it. You can even add formatting and change the font.

Editing a note

Nevernote also supports stacks. In Evernote, stacks are like folders and subfolders. Or, in this case, categories and subcategories for notes. You can, for example, have a stack called Personal. Underneath it, you can have stacks called Receipts and Home Inventory. Doing that can help you better organize your information. It can be more efficient than using tags.

Stacks in Nevernote

On the Downside

Nevernote is a solid application. But it does have its flaws. It’s written in Java, so it might run slowly on some computers. You can’t add attachments to notes, like you can with the Windows and Mac OS Evernote clients or on the Web. You can, however, view certain attachments that have been synchronized from Evernote. The problem is that the quality isn’t all that great.

Attachments aren't pretty

If you use both Linux and Evernote, though, Nevernote is a must-have piece of software. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than just not bad. It offers you most of the power of Evernote, and it lets you take Evernote offline. That in itself is worth the download.

New Evernote Feature: The Evernote Trunk

The popular note taking software Evernote has announced a new feature called The Evernote Trunk.

The Evernote Trunk is a collection of Evernote integrated applications that make use of the Evernote Developer API.  The Evernote Trunk makes these 3rd party applications easily available to you in the Evernote interface on your desktop, web, and soon the iPad.

To get started using The Evernote Trunk, you’ll need to make sure that you have the latest client installed.  Once you have installed the latest version of Evernote, you should notice the new “Trunk” toolbar icon.

Click on the Trunk icon to start the new Evernote feature.

Once you have opened the Trunk, you’ll see that it’s divided into five categories: Mobile, Desktop & Web, Hardware, Gear, and Notebooks.  Each of these categories contains different ways to integrate with Evernote.

Some things that you are able to do with the Evernote Trunk are automatically scan files into Evernote, create and annotate PDFs, and import your Tweets.

Also released with the Evernote Trunk are a set of notebooks published just for Evernote.  Currently available notebooks include content from Make Magazine, Cool Hunting, California Home and Design, and BlackBook.  Added notebooks will appear in your personal list of notebooks and do not count against your monthly transfer limit.

The Evernote Trunk currently contains around 100 items, but more will be added soon.

Will the new Evernote Trunk change how you use Evernote?  Let us know by commenting below!

[via the Noteworthy Blog]