Monday, April 23, 2012

My Evernote versions - Part 2/3

This is the second part of my comparison of the different Evernote versions. In the first part, I described some general functions, now I will continue with more specific requirements. 

Open two notes

I open several notes at once, for example when I need information from one note, while working in another one. In the desktop version, a note can be opened in a seperate window by double-click on it. The web version has not such a comfortable function, but it is possible to open the web application in two different tabs.

The mobile versions cannot offer such a function due to system restrictions. Nevertheless it would be comfortable to "remember" a note, to enable you to switch back and forth quickly.

Select several notes

Sometimes I want to work on a batch of notes, for example to archive the notes of a finished project all at once.

The web version sports the perfect solution for this use case. If you select several notes, those are rendered with a preview of the notes, as seen below. Beneath of that there are the most important functions. All notebooks can be selected in a drop-down box and tags can be added via a search field. This is the perfect solution for this use case.

Notes selection Web version

That is why I never understood, why this function is not the same in the desktop version. If you select more than one note, just the last selected note is shown in the note window. Even worse, if you want to change the notebooks or add tags you have to right click on the selected notes. Under "Move Notes" only the last notebooks are assigned, so normally you have to click on "Notebook..." to see the notebook you want.

Notes selection Desktop version

If you click on "Tag Notes..." there is unfortunately no search box, but a list of all tags. If you have a lot of tags, and this is the case for me, this is really annoying. But as I have read on one of my most favourite German Evernote blogs a solution is coming, so in the current Beta it is displayed in the desktop version as it is in the web version. I think once again this critique will be outdated after the next Evernote update.

-- Update on 2012-05-06 --

In the current update for the desktop version the preview for several selected notes was aligned to the web version.

Notes selection Desktop version (update)

-- Update end --

My iPhone and Android version do not have a similar function. Though the iPad lets you select several notes when touching one note for a few seconds. Now notes are shown with a yellow frame. This would have been perfect for changing folder/tags, but you only get the opportunity to share these notes via twitter and facebook or delete them. I hope this function will be added with the next updates.

Create note links

One of my favourite functions in Evernote is the ability to create a link from a note and add it to another (and even in other applications). For me it is an absolut vital function, as I use it to summarize all necessary notes for one project. As far as I can see it, this is only possible in my desktop version.

Stacked tags and notebooks

I work a lot with stagged notebooks and tags. These can be added and edited in the desktop version quite comfortably. These functions are almost perfectly recreated in the web version.

Stacked notebooks Desktop and Web version

These configurations are also shown in the Android app. There is also an intuitive filtering method for tags. If you select one tag, there are only tags shown that are tagged to notes with the chosen tag. 

Stacked notebooks Android version

The iPad and iPhone version have no similar functions for the stacked tags and notebooks.

That was second part of my Evernote series. Please check also the introduction and come back next week, when I post the final part.

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Evernote versions - Part 1/3

Evernote has always put a lof of effort in implementing its application on all of the important platforms.

I use Evernote on the following devices / systems:
  • Desktop app on a Windows notebook
  • The Android app for HTC Flyer (with Android 3.2.1)
  • iOS app for iPhone 4s and iPad 2
  • Evernote Web app in Google Chrome
For me it is important, whether I am able to use my favourite functions on all devices. My reference point for the comparison is the desktop version because it offers the most functions and I do the main part of my work in the windows version of Evernote. One last sentence before I start: I do not think, that I know every function in each version, as I use my devices in very different situations and for different purposes. If I say that one function is missing, which can be found/done by a workaround, please tell me. I would be very pleased to update this here.

General Look & Feel

The desktop version has a very simple three-column layout (which can be configured). On the left there are your notebooks and tags, the second column shows a preview of your notes and the third column is the note itself.

Evernote desktop version

The Android version has a menu bar on the left to select notebooks and tags on the upper left and some administrative features at the bottom (configuration and synchronisation). If no special notebook or tag is selected the whole area shows previews of your notes. These are only little tiles which show the text and if available an image preview. Above these notes there is another bar for some shortcuts, e.g. create a new note.

Evernote Android app

The iPhone version is a list with small previews of the notes. At the bottom there is a bar with functions for selecting notebooks/tags and the search. In the middle there is a "+"-symbol for creating new notes. The iPhone design is great and I have seen it in a few other apps (e.g. the new Springpad version) though I do not know, whether Evernote was the first one.

Evernote iPhone app

On the iPad the note previews are shown in the form of file cards. Above these is the menu bar with the selection for "all notes", "notebooks" and "tags". Below the notes there is button for new notes and functions for configuration of the app.

Evernote iPad app

The web version is built very similar to the desktop version and does a great job in delivering the options to configure the layout (e.g. the preview of the notes in the notes list).

Evernote Web app

Create new notes

The most important function for a note taking app is, well, creating notes. This  is possible on all systems. So for me it is interesting, whether this can be done in a quick way.

The desktop version is, as most of the time, the winner in this category. The simple reason is, that there is the possibility just to use the shortcut "ctrl-n" to create a new note. Additionally there are other possibilities to create notes very fast while working in other applications like creating a screenshot note with the shortcut Win+PrintScreen or the Webclipper for different browsers.

Thanks to the widget function in Android, Evernote supplies a simple 1x1 widget, which instantly opens the form for adding a new note. It is the first icon on my homescreen. An additional widget can be configured to show several shortcuts, i.e. for adding photo/audio notes.

For the iOS systems, there is unfortunately no possibility like adding notes via a widget. For creating a note, firstly the app has to be opened and secondly the "+"-button has to be touched. On the iPad this is really fast. On the iPhone, however, this feels too slow. For that reason, I use Tap2Ever Free  instead of Evernote for quick note taking.

For the web version there is only one button for creating a "new note".

Create shortcut links in workspace

The desktop version of Evernote has a shortcut bar in which certain notes, tags or saved searches can be placed. I add the tags and notes that I want to focus on currently, e.g. projects.

In Android it is possible to add certain tags and notes to the homescreen. This is a comfortable function. Notes can then be opened by one touch. If you want to show the notes for a certain tag, a window is opened and by "go to Evernote" the required tag is opened.

The iOS and web versions do not offer such a function.

That was part 1, next week I am going to publish the second part of my comparison of my different Evernote versions.