This page was last updated 2014-10-09
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2014 Donald R. Snow

These Freeware Corner notes are published in TAGGology, our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) monthly newsletter, and are posted on  where there may be updates, corrections, or additions.

Evernote is a free note-taking program that allows you to work on any computer and when connected to the Internet it synchronizes your notes on all your other computers and mobile devices.  The free version is sufficient for most people, but I have found the additional features of the premium (commercial) version important enough to me that I subscribe ($45/year).  The program stores your notes in the cloud, i.e. online, and these can be accessed on any computer, if you can get to the Internet.  You can save text, images, pdf's, URL's, clips of websites, audio files, and more.

There are helps and video tutorials at --  and .  There is a helpful "Unofficial Evernote Manual" at  and a MakeTechEasier Evernote Keyboard Shortcuts cheat sheet at .  There are also many tutorials on YouTube.

Set up a free account and download the program from .

Notes are stored in two types of notebooks:  (1)  synchronized notebooks and  (2)  non-synchronized notebooks.  Synchronized notebooks are available to you anywhere you can get to the Internet, e.g. in a FHC, on your SmartPhone or tablet, or at church.  You can have up to 250 synchronized notebooks in free accounts and an unlimited number in premium accounts.  Below I have listed a few example of using EVERNOTE in family history.  Synchronized notes or notebooks can be shared by right-clicking on them and sending the generated URL to whoever you want.

Non-synchronized (local) notebooks are stored only on the computer you set them up on.  However, you can transfer them to other computers manually by using a flash drive, etc.  Either free or premium accounts allow an unlimited number of these.  You might want to use non-synchronized notebooks for passwords, personal data, medical data, etc., since these remain private and are not sent over the Internet.

You get information into a note by typing, copying, pasting, etc.  If you leave the title space for the note blank, whatever you type on the first line becomes the title.  This is helpful so that when you change the first line later, e.g. by changing the date, it automatically changes the title of the note.  For the rest of the note you can type or copy-and-paste text, images, all or parts of a website, drag and drop a pdf, send an email to your account, or even dictate into a microphone and have it converted to text in the note.  Free accounts have some limitations on the drag-and-drop procedure, while premium accounts can take any type and size of files up to very large files.

There are many keyboard shortcuts, such as to put the date and time into a note, set up To Do lists with check boxes, or clip parts of a webite for saving.  To dictate an audio notes click on the pick arrow (small downward pointing triangle) on the New Note button and select New Audio Note.  The voice recognition in EVERNOTE is not always accurate so you will probably have to edit the text.  You can tag notes with an unlimited number of tags that you select and these make it easy to search for all such notes later.  The notes in each notebook can be sorted in various ways.  There is a Usage button (top right) that shows how much of your free space you have used in the 30-day cycle.  The free version includes enough space for hundreds of notes, enough for most people.  You can set a Reminder for any note by clicking on the Reminder checkbox (upper right side) and tell it when you want the reminder to show.  At the reminder time it puts the note at the top of the list.

Dragging and dropping a pdf onto a note copies the pdf into the note and you see the first page of the pdf with a box at the top of the note to click to go to other pages or else to open the entire pdf in your default pdf reader.  In both types of accounts pdf's are OCR'd (Optical Character Recognition) by Evernote, so they are every-word searchable.  The OCR'ing is done immediately for premium accounts, but only late at night for free accounts. 

Notes, titles, or text of notes or notebooks can be edited at any time.  For synchronized notebooks these edits will be automatically transfered to your other computers.  Moving notes from one notebook to another is just drag-and-drop, whether the notebooks are synchronized or not.  For writing and editing there is a spell checker.  Editing has an undo feature so that deleting part of a note is recoverable, but deleting an entire note can only be recovered by copying the note from a backup file.  The premium version keeps track of all earlier versions of the notes you write and by going to your web account and clicking on Note Info > History you can see all earlier versions of that note and bring back any part you want from an earlier version.  This feature is not available with the free version of Evernote.

Details of Evernote's search operators are at --  and .  You can set it to search through all notebooks or only selected ones.  Some search tools are:  "+[term]" which means that [term] must be in the note; "-[term]" means the [term] must not be there; "[terms]" (include quote marks) means you want exactly those terms in that order.  Search terms are highlighted in the results.  Searching for "win" (no quotes) brings up results with "Win", "Windows", "wind", etc..  Searching for "Utah Valley" (with the quote marks) searches for that exact string.  Searching by tags brings up all notes with that tag and you can then search for other tags within that result set.  The search term "todo:" brings up all notes with checkboxes, "todo:true" brings up those with completed checkboxes and  "todo:false" brings up those with uncompleted checkboxes.  There is a search-and-replace feature within a note, but there doesn't seem to be one to search-and-replace globally in all notes in a notebook and this would be a very useful tool.

Go to  and log in with your user name and password.  The web version looks almost the same as the desktop version.  The mobile versions for Android, iPad, etc., look different, but do the same things.

Any set of notes or notebooks can be saved (exported) in several formats including Evernote format, text, html.  I usually save notebooks in Evernote format which allows me to back up my notes and notebooks apart from my online account, and allows me to transfer anything without going through the Internet.  I use this approach to copy my non-sync'd notebooks to another computer, for example those with personal data that I don't want sent over the Internet.


    * Keep track of websites with data
    * Research logs for your FH research
    * Store articles and documents, e.g. pdf's at a conference so you have them available on a mobile device
    * Write articles or notes so you have an easily accessible copy on other computers.  I write these Free Corner articles in EVERNOTE so I can work on them on any computer where I can access the Internet.
    * Save technology instructions about operating systems, programs, websites, databases, hardware, etc.
    * Make ToDo/Contact/phone/email lists
    * Save sources and references for families
    * Save text collections so they are searchable, e.g. letter collections or emails on a topic
    * Save photo collections, but there are other free programs better designed for this

Evernote has many features that we haven't discussed and there are many 3rd party programs to help.  Many are listed on the EVERNOTE TRUNK -- , , , and

EVERNOTE is a very useful program for family history and many other uses and I use in many times every day.

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