©2018 by Donald R. Snow
This page was last updated 2018-11-11.  Return to the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page or Don's Class Listings Page .
ABSTRACT:  This class will discuss and demonstrate EVERNOTE and some of its uses in genealogy.  EVERNOTE is a program that stores "in the cloud" notes, webpages, documents, images, audio clips, pdf files, and more.   It makes your notes available on each of your computers and devices.  The free version is enough for many uses in family history, but can only be installed on two devices; however, you can use the web version on your other devices.  The commercial version can be installed on as many devices as you want.  Notes in EVERNOTE are stored in notebooks that you set up and can be entered by typing, drag-and-drop, web clips, audio, and other means, and these can be text, pdf's, images, audio, and web pages, and more.  You can work offline and when it detects an Internet connection, it uploads the notes to your "cloud" account and then down to your other devices and also downloads whatever it finds from your other devices.  You can select and use as many tags as you want for each note and all notes with text are OCR'd (Optical Character Recognized) so they are every-word searchable,.  The class notes for this presentation and related information in other articles, all with active URLs, are posted at  http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow (snowd@math.byu.edu) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. The notes and related additional information in other articles is posted at  http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html , all with active Internet links.
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem for today:  How to write, save, and use notes, articles, websites, and pdf's in EVERNOTE, particularly for genealogy.

  6. To get EVERNOTE go to  https://www.evernote.com/ , set up a free account with whatever user name and password you select; then download and install the program -- available for Windows, Mac, Linus, and mobile devices.  As you install it on other devices, you use your same user name and password, so they are all linked to your account "in the cloud".
  7. Free version has limitations, but is still helpful for many uses; free version can only be installed on two devices, e.g., your computer and a smartphone, but you can use the web version on all your other devices
  8. Premium version ($70/year) and Business Version have more features and can be installed on any number of devices
  9. Helps and video tutorials are at  https://help.evernote.com/hc/en-us
  10. Helpful "Unofficial Evernote Manual" is at  http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-use-evernote-the-missing-manual-full-text/
  11. MakeTechEasier Evernote Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet is at  http://download.maketecheasier.com/MakeTechEasier_Evernote_cheatsheet.pdf

  13. Idea for using EVERNOTE in genealogy -- Details are below, in other notes, and in articles on Don's webpage 
    1. Write notes and articles -- I write all my articles in EVERNOTE now, since it has the features I need and saves them automatically to all my computers and devices.
    2. Save webpages -- use the EVERNOTE Web Clipper described below or just use copy and paste
    3. Use for research logs for family history research -- can set up templates by just writing a note and then saving its form as a template or use one of their templates -- https://evernote.com/templates 
    4. Save pdfs and screenshots and files about a person, so they form a timeline of his/her life  
    5. Has a feature to automatically place images together side-by-side, e.g., parts of newspaper clippings; just copy the images to the clipboard and paste them into the note and it organizes them for you 
    6. Save instructions, pdfs from FH conferences, manuals, and tutorials about research, technology, programs, databases, hardware, etc.
    7. Make lists of contacts, phones, email addresses; use ToDo boxes to put checks in when item has been completed 
    8. Save collections of letters, emails, ideas to try, recipes, so they are searchable and available on all your devices
    9. Premium version has additional features including a Presentation Mode for notes and notebooks and allows more file formats 
  14. For devices with cameras
    1. Take pictures of artifacts and describe them with audio in same note
    2. Use your smartphone camera and EVERNOTE as a scanner -- new feature squares up the document as it saves it; use it for photos of forms you fill out, book pages, maps, copies of cards; it cleans up the image
    3. Such pictures are automatically copied to your computer at home; can then be copied elsewhere 
    4. EVERNOTE is not very good for saving all photos and there are better programs for that 


  15. Notes are stored in two types of notebooks in EVERNOTE -- (1) synchronized notebooks and (2) non-synchronized (local) notebooks 
  16. Synchronized notebooks
    1. Stored in the cloud in your EVERNOTE account online at  https://evernote.com/  
    2. Even when you are not online, you can work on any note and notebook and when it detects an Internet connection, it uploads the changes and downloads synchronized notes from your other devices
    3. Can have up to 250 notebooks -- more than most people ever need  
    4. Synchronized notebooks are available to you wherever you can get to the Internet, e.g. in a FHC, at church, on your smartphone or tablet
    5. Synchronized notes or entire notebooks are sharable with anyone you choose; click on the Share button and email the URL to your contacts; can give them permission to just view it or to edit it 
    6. Synchronized notebooks are encrypted and backed up online on the EVERNOTE servers, but keep in mind that anything sent over the Internet is NOT private, even if encrypted.
    7. Can also backup synchronized notebooks by exporting the notes to a flash drive, or your computer, in various formats
  17. Non-synchronized (local) notebooks
    1. Non-synchronized notebooks are private and stored only on your computer or device, so they are not available on the Internet
    2. Can have any number of non-synchronized notebooks  
    3. Can manually back these up or transfer them to other devices by exporting them to a flash drive 
    4. Use non-synchronized notebooks for private data, passwords, financial, medical, and personal information 


  18. Notes are formed by typing, copy-and-pasting text, images, or URLs, recording audio, or using the Web Clipper, and a few other ways  
  19. You can give a title to the note or else let it use the first line as title, which is what I usually do; I use keywords at the start so they alphabetize together 
  20. Free version will save text, photos, webpages, and pdfs; premium version handles many more types 
  21. To save a file, such as a pdf in a note, just drag-and-drop it into the note
  22. Can send a whole collection of files into separate notes in a notebook by first opening the target notebook, then highlighting the collection in FILE EXPLORER, and Right Click to get the Context Menu > Send To > EVERNOTE -- each file goes into its own note in the notebook you had open; very helpful for things like pdfs of papers from a FH conference or letters you have scanned and/or transcribed
  23. EVERNOTE indexes all text in notes -- free accounts only do the indexing late at night; paid accounts do it immediately, i.e. it OCRs (Optical Character Recognizes) all text in notes such as pdf's, so they become every-word searchable  whether they were or not before
  24. EVERNOTE  has many keyboard shortcuts; "cheatsheet", referenced above, shows many keyboard shortcuts, e.g. ALT+SHIFT+D puts date and time into note where cursor is 
  25. Shortcuts panel at top left side is very helpful for notes you are working on or use a lot; just drag the note there to form a shortcut; the note stays in its notebook, but a shortcut is formed to get to it 
  26. Your EVERNOTE account has an email address so anything emailed to that address automatically goes into a note in your default Inbox; can use this to save some, or all, emails automatically in your EVERNOTE account
  27. In text notes URL's become active links by placing the cursor at the end of the URL and pressing space bar
  28. To save webpages use copy-and-paste or simpler to use the free browser extension  Evernote Web Clipper  which saves articles or entire webpages in various ways; I sometimes run a "cleanup" program -- Just Read  or  Print Friendly -- before saving the webpage with it
  29. Has ToDo check mark boxes to put anywhere you want for things like research lists, shopping lists, and research logs -- Format > ToDo > Check Box (keyboard short cut is CTRL+SHFT+C) -- Can later put checks in the boxes for completed items; ccan do searches for ToDo items or checked or unchecked items
  30. New Note icon (top middle) has pick arrow with various options such as to make an audio note with the microphone; it transcribes your dictation, but it isn't always accurate 
  31. With touch-screen you can do handwritten notes  
  32. Notes saved from an external source, e.g. Web Clipper or emails, are placed in whichever notebook you designate as your Inbox notebook; notes can later be edited, renamed, and moved to wherever you want
  33. Notes are saved automatically as soon as entered, so you never have to worry about forgetting to save something
  34. Tags -- can attach any number of words as tags to do searches on later but searches can be done for any words in text even without tags    
  35. The panels for notebooks, notes, shortcuts, tags, etc., can be moved the way you want
  36. Lists of notes can be sorted on any column by clicking in the column heading, e.g. alphabetically by title, or by date created, date last modified, notebook, tags, etc. -- If you write the date in International Date Format (YYYY-MM-DD) after a keyword, all those notes are listed chronologically; this is especially helpful for letters and items pertaining to an individual, since they are all in order
  37. Evernote Blog  has helpful articles about using EVERNOTE

  39. Editing synchronized notes or notebooks on any of your devices changes them on all your synchronized devices and on the web version 
  40. As mentioned earlier, very helpful to write and edit articles in EVERNOTE, since they are saved automatically and can be edited on any of your devices
  41. Has an Undo feature to go back several steps
  42. Deleted notes go into a Trash notebook in your account until you Empty the Trash; deleting part of a note is recoverable since you can get to old versions of your notes by going to the web version -- Note Info > History; but deleting a note completely is usually not recoverable  
  43. Built-in Spell Checker underlines misspelled words in notes
  44. Drag-and-drop a note to move it from one notebook to another notebook

  46. Search syntax for EVERNOTE is at -- https://help.evernote.com/hc/en-us/articles/208313828-How-to-use-Evernote-s-advanced-search-syntax  and  https://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/search_grammar.php
  47. Can search through all notebooks or only selected ones; can then search within result set for additional search terms
  48. Search syntax includes:  space means AND; +[term] means [term] has to be there; -[term] means [term] must not be there; "[term1 term2]" means exactly those terms in that order; search terms are highlighted in the results pages
  49. Searching for "win" (no quotes) brings up results with "Win", "Windows", "wind", etc.
  50. Searching for tag:[tag] brings up all notes with that tag
  51. Keyboard shortcut WIN+SHIFT+F from anywhere on your computer opens the EVERNOTE window to search or enter notes 
  52. Searching "todo:" (no quotes) finds all ToDo lists, "todo:true" (no quotes) finds all completed check boxes; "todo:false" (no quotes) finds all uncompleted check boxes
  53. Search feature is global for all notes or all notes in a notebook 
  54. Can global search-and-replace IN A SINGLE NOTE, but NOT in a collection of notes -- To replace something in all notes use the global search and then replace each hit individually

  56. Clicking on Atlas (lower left side) shows a Google map of where you were when you entered that note, if internal GPS was turned on -- may be wiser for security reasons to turn off GPS, especially when entering photos
  57. Exporting notes or notebooks -- right click on notes or notebooks and select Export -- Export formats are the following:
    1. .enex format = EVERNOTE format -- for backup or transfer to another computer without going over the Internet; especially useful for non-synchronized (local) notebooks; copy to flash drive and import into EVERNOTE on another computer; they go in as Imported Notes and you can change the name of the notebook or move them elsewhere
    2. .txt format = text format -- use this to put notes into a different program, but if only doing a few notes, use copy-and-paste
    3. .html format = web format -- helpful even if not posting on the web; especially helpful for things like collections of letters, since you can use all the power of a browser on the exported files, even though they are only on your computer and not posted on the Internet
  58. Usage button (top right on free version) shows how much of your free space you have used in the 30-day cycle -- free version includes enough space for thousands of notes; plenty for most people
  59. Can set Reminder for any note, e.g. birthdays coming up -- click on the Reminder check box (upper right side) and tell it the date and time you want and that note appears at the top of the list then
  60. Commercial versions of EVERNOTE have a Presentation Mode -- click on the Projection Screen icon (top right of the note); to view a presentation of several notes highlight the notes or notebooks, right click, and select Present; can also click on the Start Presentation button at bottom; shows them full-screen with larger text; to move through a note use mouse wheel, up and down arrows, or Page Up and Down; to move to next or previous note use CTRL+(Right or Left Arrow); ESC takes you out of Presentation Mode; simple, but effective, way to show notes without having to export them from EVERNOTE -- not available in the free version 

  62. EVERNOTE has many more features and there are many third party programs to help -- see EVERNOTE Blog -- https://blog.evernote.com/ , EVERNOTE Trunk -- https://blog.evernote.com/blog/2012/08/24/the-totally-redesigned-evernote-trunk/ , and the EVERNOTE App Center -- https://appcenter.evernote.com .  
  63. Many online tutorials on YouTube, etc. -- search for things like "evernote tutorials" (without the quotes)
  64. EVERNOTE is a very useful program for family history and many other things; free version is sufficient for many things

Return to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page  or  Don's Class Listings Page .