Evernote is a multi-platform tools that aims to to replace your brain and helps you remember everything! Not only does it take basic things like “Taking Note” to the next level. For some people it also makes the dream of going “Paperless” a reality.
I personally am a big fan and assume that you have at least tried it if not also an active user. If you not a user currently, I highly recommend that you get started and Michael Hyatt has a a great resources page dedicated to all things Evernote related to help you on your way.
Just like that thing between your ears, a brain is only as good as its ability to retrieve information stored inside. What I want to focus on for this post is how you can take Evernote to the next level through better understanding of its search and retrieval capabilities. Here are 3 Evernote search related tips that you must know:
1. Use Tag, Notebook and Stack to improve efficiency. It might sound counterintuitive to focus on structured meta-tagging when all you want to focus on is search. But as you fully embrace Evernote as a memory repository, you will quickly find yourself being overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in it and making retrieval difficult.
To make it easier for you to find stuff, Evernote has some very powerful capabilities to help you put some structure in your repository including Tag, Notebook and Stack (Stack is a relatively new feature that allows you to aggregate notebooks!).
Once setup and organised, Notebook and Stack give your memory repository a basic high level structure and allows you to search within just the “Work” or “Family” stack quickly without being overwhelmed. You can easily search at either the notebook level or the stack level by clicking on it first then entering your search query. So if all you are interested is in Japan related stuff in your family stack, click on the Family stack before you run your search to avoid including all work related stuff that are related to Japan!
Tags in term gives you another level of filter to further arrow down your search, say if you only want all things Japan related in your family stack that are about food, then all you have to do is also click on the food tag to further narrow your search down! Assuming you tagged correctly in the first place.
2. Get to know the advanced operators: It’s no wonder most people don’t really use advanced operators as Evernote hides its advanced search operators guide deep within its knowledge base! You can use the operators to apply the filterings discussed in point one above much quickly and efficiently. In addition, here are a number of handy ones to know that will make it all that easier to find that allusive note!
Will return all notes that contain an embedded JPG image.
Will return all notes that contain some types of audio file.
Will return all notes created on a mobile application of some type
Will return notes that were created in the last two days. or x number of days if you replace 2 with x
3. Leverage the power of the machine! OCR or Optical Character recognition within Evernote is surprisingly good. Where your standard text based search comes unstuck with images of articles, whiteboards or documents, Evernote is able to pick these up after it’s server has processed the documents and recognised the characters within these images! Sound like magic and I must admit when it works it is a bit like magic!
Not only can you now skip jotting down everything on a whiteboard after a meeting by simply taking a photo of it, Evernote will also allow you to now search within writings that was on the whiteboard! I guess the real tip I can give you here is to take clearer picture of whiteboards and write as neatly as possible as it will dramatically increase your ability to retrieve it later.
Are you an Evernote fan? do you have any other search related tips to share?