How to Get Your Stuff into Evernote

It is no secret that I am a big fan of Evernote. It is one of those amazing tools that can radically boost your productivity. I use it probably more than any other program other than Mac Mail. It has enabled me to realize my dream of a paperless office.

Evernote Import Diagram

But Evernote can also be initially intimidating. The program is so deep and feature-rich that new users hardly know where to start. It is like buying a Swiss Army Knife. I personally used it for two years for little more than typing meeting notes into it.

If you are just getting started with Evernote, I suggest that you buy Brett Kelly’s remarkably practical e-book, Evernote Essentials, 4.0. It will save you HOURS of learning Evernote on your own.

Now, after several months of really exploring the program, I have discovered ten different tools for getting my content into Evernote:

  1. Type It. You can create a note and start typing. I find this particularly helpful for brainstorming, taking meeting notes (especially on the iPad), outlining a speech, or even—as I am doing now—writing a blog post.
  2. Email it. You can forward any email to your unique Evernote address, and it will show up in your default notebook a few seconds later. I do this several times a day. I often add additional comments to the note and tag it.
  3. Scan it. While I have gone paperless in my office, not everyone else in the world has. As a result, I still must process paper. If I determine that I need to save a copy of the letter, invoice, invitation, etc., I scan it directly into Evernote with my ScanSnap scanner. I then toss the paper into the recycling bin.
  4. Clip it. When I encounter an interesting blog post or web page, I use the Evernote extension for Chrome to clip the entire page directly into Evernote. When I do so, I can assign it to a notebook and add any relevant tags. Evernote has these extensions or add-ins available for most browsers.
  5. Paste it. Sometimes, I don’t want to save an entire email message or a web page. Perhaps I just want to save a quote, an image, or some other interesting item. No problem. I just select the text, copy it to the clipboard, and then use a keyboard shortcut to save whatever is on the clipboard to a new note.
  6. Drag it. If I have a file I want to save to Evernote, I can select it in Finder and then drag it to the Evernote icon on the dock. Evernote then creates a new note with the file attached. Note: With the free version of Evernote, you are limited to image, audio, ink, and PDF files. With the premium version, you can attach any kind of file.
  7. Print it. If you are working on a file in another program and want to save a copy in Evernote, you can select File | Print and then (at least on a Mac) “print” a PDF of the file to Evernote. Note that when you save a PDF to Evernote, it becomes fully searchable.

    Screenshot of Save PDF to Evernote

  8. Record it. Admittedly, I don’t use this much, but you could use this to record a note to yourself, a phone conversation, a meeting, or a lecture. (Make sure you first familiarize yourself with the laws pertaining to recording these various items.) This option is especially handy on the iPhone when you want to record an idea but aren’t in a position to type it.
  9. Photograph it. This is particularly useful with the iPhone. I use it all the time. Recently, for example, Gail and I were shopping for a couple of side chairs for my home office. We took pictures of the ones we liked and stored them in Evernote. It was the a simple matter of reviewing them when we got home. I have taken pictures of medications, license plates, and printer cartridges, etc. As an added bonus, Evernote indexes all the text in the picture.
  10. Automate It. This is a bit technical, but I found it worth the effort. You can create a new “Mac service” that allows you to right-click on a file in Finder and send it directly to Evernote. You can also create an Auto Import folder using the Mac’s “Folder Actions.” Once you set it up, any file you save or drag into that folder will be immediately added to Evernote. I didn’t know what any of this meant until I set it up, using the links I have provided. It took me about 20 minutes to do it.

You don’t have to use all of these techniques, of course. However, I think it is worth familiarizing yourself with them, so you know what tools you have in the tool chest. You can then select the appropriate tool for the job. My goal has to make these second-nature, so that I can quickly add items to Evernote and keep working on the task at hand.

Question: Which of these tools do you find yourself using the most? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Ironyoda

    The question is though, how do you get your stuff out or moved so as to be useable in another format? I’ve not found it user friendly in this respect.

    • Brad Farris


      I like the “email a note” option for sending my evernotes to others. If I’m brainstorming, or note taking I often just cut and past into Pages or Word to continue working on it. Web pages and scans are just PDF’s so I usually print them if I need to use them in another format…


    • Michael Hyatt

      I will be posting on this in the future. I have found Evernote to be very flexible in this regard.

    • Jeff Randleman

      I’ve not had a problem here, either.  I copy and paste into sermon and lessons all the time, quite easily.  My use of Evernote is primarily in my church office, as a minister, and personal stuff at home.  I find it pretty flexible.

  • Brad Farris


    I’ve been spending more and more time in Evernote these days. I have a ScanSnap and it’s perfect for converting paper into Evernotes. The email feature & web clipper are terrific for quickly adding things with no friction. Perfect for research and reference.

    I have finally created a todo/project system that works for me. Now on to the iPad and I’ll have the last piece complete.


    • Joey

      Brad, I have been working on using Evernote for to do’s as well and am curious what you’ve done.

      • Brad Farris


        I have a more complete description here: but in brief.

        1. I keep 4 lists. Today, Tomorrow, Later and Saturday. Today is for today’s priorities, Tomorrow is for my next tier (should probably say “this week” instead), and everything else goes in Later.  Errands, etc. go in Saturday.
        2. I also have a project list for each of the projects that I have active. When I do my weekly review I move items from the project list to Today, or Tomorrow
        3. I use text only as I want to edit it on my iPhone, so I use [ ]  to denote a to-do
        4. When I complete an item I move it to the bottom of the today note under a heading with the date (that way I remember that I completed it and when). I archive those monthly.

        I keep all these notes in one notebook called “To-do”, new items come into the INBOX notebook for processing.

        It’s GTD like, without the contexts (which aren’t that useful).

        Did that help?


        • Brandon

          Great post and how you use evernote…

        • Jeff Randleman

          Interesting ideas.  I’ve toyed with using it as a task list as well, and haven’t found a system yet that works well for me.  I’ll have to take a closer look at yours.  Thanks!

  • Daniel Parris

    Excellent stuff Michael!  I’m doing several of these already but there were a couple I haven’t tried yet, such as the “Mac Service” tip.  I have used Evernote along with my scansnap scanner, and a good shredder, to essentially go paperless in my home office.  

  • David Santistevan

    Interesting that you don’t use the voice feature all that often. As a songwriter, I use that more than any other. Since using evernote, I haven’t lost an idea. Even for co-writing with people in other states I can record an idea, type in the lyrics, and email it to another. Brilliant.

    • Michael Hyatt

      That’s a use I hadn’t though of. It is indeed brilliant!

      • David Santistevan

        Mike, I think it’s time for you to become a songwriter if you want to use Evernote in its full capacity :)

        • Michael Hyatt

          Don’t tempt me. I live in Nashville, where GREAT song writers are waiting tables. ;-)

    • Chris MacKinnon

      That’s cool. I never thought of that, either. I’m going to have to try that one.

      • David Santistevan

        I think you’ll love it Chris. It’s really strengthened the songwriting process for me.

    • Joe Lalonde

      David, wow. That sounds like a great feature of Evernote.

      • David Santistevan

        Joe, it takes a little getting used to, but now I use it every day. It simplifies my process so I can focus on what really matters – writing.

    • Brandon

      That’s something I might have to do! Right now, I have just been recording new riffs and stuff I make up on my phone…Guess, I should get evernote to do that!

  • Alicia Scott

    Yes, yes, yes – wahoo – LEARNING to do all of these things. I did purchase “Evernote Essentials”  and read through that – very helpful. Some of your other blog entries about Evernote have also been VERY helpful for learning. I’d say my biggest challenge right now is having/creating and carving out time to really apply some of these things. I’ll have pockets of time periodically – but I mostly am just challenged to really put all these fabulous Evernote things into practice. I DO have my Evernote stuff connected and syncing with Nozbe (also something you’ve helped me a ton with). So – KEEP blogging about these things. THANK you – and as always – THANKS for your contributions.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Alicia. You are welcome. One thought: you might want to schedule an appointment with yourself to learn Evernote. Just block out a couple of hours and go for it.

      • Alicia Scott

        GREAT idea. :-) Thanks!

      • Jeff Randleman

        Michael, would you consider a post or two on how you create a workflow using Nozbe?  How you use it, features you like, etc?  My staff team has just signed up for it, and we’re still tripping over ourselves so far.  Thanks!

        • Michael Hyatt

          Yes, I plan to do that after my Evernote series. I find that my audience can only handle about one Productivity post a week.

          Have you watched the Nozbe video tutorials?

          • Jeff Randleman


            I have, and am trying to climb the learning curve. But I think another perspective would help me out as well.

            Looking forward to it! 

    • Jeff Randleman

      LOVED Evernote Essentials!  So worth the price!

  • B_Schebs

    Thanks for the tips Michael. I currently use the Email to Evernote function the most.   I am wanting to do the photogragh option more.    Do you have and ipod/pad app that you reccommend to this?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I just use the Evernote app for iPhone. It is excellent.

  • Dikran Koundakjian

    I use the Evernote app on my iPhone all the time when I am in book stores. It just stays open, and I take pictures of books I am interested in, and then file them in my “Books to Buy” notebook.

  • Geoff Webb

    Print a file to Evernote!?!?!

    Life changing.


    • Michael Hyatt

      It really is amazing all that Evernote can do.

    • Jeff Randleman

      I found that I can do it in Windows too. In fact, I just added the PDF manuals to a new thermostat yesterday and threw the print ones away.  That was actually kind of tough for me since I have a file cabinet drawer full of those things…  

  • Doug Hibbard

    I mainly email into it, although I’ve started using my Blackberry to take pictures of information and directly upload. I’ve quit getting pay-at-the-pump receipts since I’ve started that, and no longer have all those little scraps of paper about! (I use logged mileage for tax purposes so I don’t need the printed paper.)

    One thing I’m still trying to figure out is how to add notes into shared stacks. The sharing features have just recently updated, and are much better than they were, but because of that I’m having trouble figuring them out. But I absolutely love this program.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Stacks really aren’t an entity per se. They aren’t shareable. Only the notebooks in them are.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this! I do almost everyone of these but didn’t realize I could print to evernote…  THAT ROCKS!  Thank you!

  • Kevin Pashuk

    I just updated the software on my Livescribe Echo pen.  I can now mark pages (in the pen) to be uploaded directly to Evernote by connecting the pen to its charging cable.  No tearing out pages and scanning.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I may have to try updating the software. I have a LiveScribe pen. My main issue, however, was the pen itself. If it were thinner and looked more like a real pen, I would be tempted.

      • Rex Hammock

        Good point. I must say I feel very nerdy using it in public — and I’m a Pilot g-2 user for real note taking. However, I use a wacom pen tablet as the primary navigation (and lots more) tool for my Mac when I’m at my desk, so the size doesn’t bother me. The heavier weight does, however. I have a very small collection (very small, as in 4-5) of fountain pens, however, and the weight and form factor of the LiveScribe seems similarly balanced to some of the larger ones. 

      • Jeff Randleman

        The size was a big decisive factor for me to say “not now” on that decision…

        • Michael Hyatt

          If they ever do one that is the normal size of a pen, I am in.

          • Jeff Randleman

            I liked the concept.  Just not sure how much I’d really use it.  Especially if I’m uncomfortable with the pen’s size.  I really wouldn’t want to explain to my wife why I spent so much on something that sits around on the back of my desk all the time… 

    • Michael Hyatt

      I may have to try updating the software. I have a LiveScribe pen. My main issue, however, was the pen itself. If it were thinner and looked mor

  • Rex Hammock

    I’m Evernote-obsessed, as well. 

    Best thing ever for me is the new “stacks” feature that allows “notebook nesting” — I always felt it was the missing feature that kept evernote from being “perfect.” So, I guess it is, now. ;  )

    I’m experimenting with LiveScribe that has recently enabled a “save to evernote” feature. LiveScribe is a pen that actually is a camera / audio recorder. You write or draw on paper and it records what you are doing, then automatically uploads it to, in my case, evernote, when I connect it to my Mac. There’s a OCR optional app that will convert your writing to text or evernote’s OCR will help you find the note later if you don’t need it in text. (I use the iPad app “Write Pad” for pure hand writing to text to evernote). LiveScribe retails for around $140, but I bought mine, still in the box, via eBay for around $90.Didn’t know the “automate it” hack — look forward to trying it out.

    • Michael Hyatt

      There is now a 2GB LiveScribe Echo Smartpen that retails for $99.

      • Rex Hammock

        Nice to know. I have the 4 GB, but I’m sure the 2GB would have been enough for me had it been available. Unless one records very long audio clips, I don’t think its worth paying extra.

  • Nathan Creitz

    I like Evernote, but the way you are describing your use of evernote is similar to something I already have: my hard drive. Sure, it’s not in the cloud, but I’m not sure that every document, file, picture, etc. needs to be in Evernote. Can you explain what you do with everything once it’s in Evernote that is different from it being on my hard drive?

    • Anonymous

      My hard drive crashed a couple of years ago and I lost about four years of work.  (Yeah, I know.  Should’ve had a backup.  Lesson learned.)  Evernote pretty much removes that problem.  That’s one advantage.

      Another advantage of using the cloud is that it’s everywhere you are (unlike your hard drive).  I haven’t started using Evernote, but I have used Google Docs. The main reason I started is that I would sometimes need access to notes that were on one computer while I was elsewhere on the planet.  

      • Michael Hyatt

        Great points, Karl. Thanks.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Great question. The main thing is that I can easily add notes that are searchable. For example, I might take a photo of a chair I saw in a store. I could store that photo in a file folder. But with Evernote, I can also note the store I saw it in, the salesperson’s name who spoke with me, the price I was quoted, etc. I’m sure I could do this with a file system, but I would be reinventing the wheel.

    • Jeff Randleman

      The search function is what sold me.  And I keep finding new ways to utilize it and make it more effective in my work.

  • John Richardson

    Thanks for the roundup, Michael. Your posts have opened up a vast new world of uses for this powerful program. One thing I’ve found helpful on the iPad is to use the screenshot function (push the select button and the on-off button simultaneously, which saves the screenshot in your camera roll folder under photo albums) and then attach the photo to a note and send it up to Evernote. This is really great for saving web pages, and application screens on the iPad. (It’s really helpful when you want to prove to somebody that you really did get that high score in Angry Birds!)

    The other thing I like to setup is a local folder that doesn’t synchronize with the cloud for secure items that may have social security numbers on them. This allows me to go paperless, but also have the security of keeping the data local. After what happened with Sony and their PlayStation data, I’m a little gun shy of  having secure data in the cloud.

    Just be careful, Michael. With a few more posts like this they may start calling you Mr. Evernote!

    • Michael Hyatt

      John, I use local folders, too, for sensitive information. This flexibility is really helpful.

      I like your screenshot tip, too. Excellent!

    • Brandon

      I agree with the Mr. Evernote comment! :)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the tips. Just wanted to also let everyone know that for printing to PDF on PC, I use CutePDF

    It is free and works great, especially for things like printing a receipt when I purchase things online.


    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for that tip. Excellent!

  • Eoghanmurf

    Michael, have you tried highlighting the text selection in Chrome and then right clicking and selecting clip to Evernote? I think it should just clip the selection to a new note.

    Thanks for the print suggestion, hadn’t found that one.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it works great. I find the keystroke combo faster, but use whatever works best for you. Thanks.

      • Guest

        Michael, as described in your post, there is no need to copy selected content in the clipboard, there  is a direct keystroke combo to paste selected item. Just select and hit that combo keystroke.

        • Michael Hyatt

          I don’t know which version you are using, but mine requires you to copy it to the clipboard first.

          • Guest

            My mistake, I should have notified that I am using it on Windows. May be it’s not available in Mac version. Here’s a screenshot below.

          • Michael Hyatt

            Yes, the Mac is slightly different:

  • Chris MacKinnon

    I’m a huge fan of Clipping. Now I have a database of articles that are searchable and printable, and I don’t have to have a huge filing cabinet with me everywhere I go.

  • Chris Walker

    I wasn’t aware of the automation method. I wonder if there is a way to do that in Windows too. I love Evernote. I am not totally paperless yet. Would love to get a ScanSnap – that would make a huge difference.
    The only part of Evernote I still struggle with is how to keep things organized within Evernote. I try to take advantage of nested folders and tags, but sometimes I find that I have to organize huge folders on a deeper level.
    Primarily I have setup Evernote to work David Allen’s GTD system. I have had a lot of success with that.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think the Windows version has a feature for automatically monitoring a specific folder. It’s much easier to implement than what I described for the Mac.

  • Carlester T. Crumpler

    I’ve been using Evernote a lot more lately and typically use the Type, Email, Clip, and Paste features. I have considered upgrading to Premium so that I can use Evernote for work projects, but unfortunately my employer has blocked access to Evernote and the majority of all the highly rated productivity apps.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Why would your employer do that? Blocking Facebook or Twitter … I sort of get that. But productivity apps? Maybe you need to make a case for unblocking them.

  • John A. Taylor


    I use all ten methods.  Like you, I especially find photographing things with my iPhone incredibly useful.  With tags and location set, I can easily go back and retrieve the information for the items I need, and I know right where to go to get them.

    I also have found an eleventh method quite helpful.  I created a bookmark in my browser called “Evernote: Add a Note” using the following url:

    Now if I have a thought while I’m working in my browser, I can quickly add a note, or I can open a note in a sidebar, and easily type in a note while I’m reading.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Cool. Thanks for sharing that. I feel like I am discovering new stuff about this program every day!

    • Jeff Randleman

      Just added a new bookmark….

  • Joe Lalonde

    Thanks for another helpful article regarding Evernote! It seems like a very powerful program.

  • Ralph Stoever

    So far, I have mostly used Evernote as my GTD ‘reference’ and it works very well as such thanks to all the tags and the automatic indexation. 

    One unexpected application which I enjoy is photographing wine bottles. Good wine is not easy to come by here, so I take a picture of the wines I like and have them automatically in a searchable database. Evernote indexes the etiquette and I can automatically search by origin, grape or name. I just have to add my own comments or specialized tags for the various tastes or menu relationships.
    Through Michael’s last post, I had started to wonder about how to use it as ‘inbox’ in my GTD system. The post provides new clues as Evernote is obviously well suited to ‘collect’, but I’ll have to experiment to see how easy it is to ‘process’ it from with Evernote. I am keen on making sure the inbox and reference remain very clearly separated.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I use Evernote for wine, too. It is great for taking photos of bottles you like.

      I don’t use Evernote for GTD; however, there are plenty of people who do. You can Google this and come up with numerous helpful articles.

      I think of the Evernote inbox as simply a half-way house for items I haven’t yet processed.

  • Stuart Clark

    I use many of these features but mostly the quick note taking ability and like yourself and Gail, my wife and I use it when we are doing research for new purchases. The print PDF to Evernote is somethig I had not thought of and is genius.
    I’ve had a ScanSnap for a few years and the combination of it and Evernote works very well.

  • A Brown, not The Brown

    I’m not sure if you’ve seen the HCSB Study Bible app for the iPad, but they now link your Bible notes that you make from inside the app to your Evernote account. You can even link Bible references so they are hyperlinked in the app.

    FWIW, I don’t work for Holman or the company that made the app. It’s become my go-to app on the iPad for Bible study because of this.

    • Michael Hyatt

      This is very cool. Wow.

  • Trev Hamm

    I love Evernote!  It’s been helpful from day one

  • Scoti Springfield Domeij

    Because I do a lot of research, I could not live without my Mac save/print PDF function. It’s perfect for original sources for end notes and footnotes. Slowly but surely you may be converting me to Evernote. Right now, my filing cabinet is my Mac. 

  • Brad Harris

    I’m still getting to know Evernote and really liking it. I’ve started using the “email to Evernote” function a lot, as I take photos on my iPhone and file them away. I hadn’t thought of saving files as .pdfs and then uploading them – particularly helpful since I don’t have the premium package. Thanks for the tips.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Why don’t you just use the photo feature of Evernote for iPhone? It would save you a step in getting your photos into Evernote.

  • Scoti Springfield Domeij

    Do you ever worry that a hacker could hack your info or the site could crash, loosing your stuff? Being able to read recipes on my Mac on my iPhone at the grocery store may have been just the clincher for me to make a date with myself to start using it.

    • Ralph Stoever

      Scoti, most companies have a better and more frequent back-up system than I have at home. They have professionals to ensure a fast recovery, so I think there is less risk from loosing data in a crash than with local data.

      As for security, I am not sure how critical it really is. There is a hacking risk even with a home computer or a cell-phone. Isn’t a professional site at least as secure as a personal computer?

    • Michael Hyatt

      No, I really don’t. I mean that is a concern with any site, but I have a local copy, which I back up multiple times a day (via Time Machine on the Mac). It is also stored on the Evernote servers. If I have really sensitive information, I store them in a local notebook that is not synchronized to the Evernote servers.

    • Jeff Randleman

      As far as sensitive information, as Michael pointed out to me elsewhere, all my credit card statements and bank statements are already in the cloud, just on another server.  The risk is already there. 

      As far as backups, I read on the Evernote blog that they have several redundancies in their backups, at multiple locations, so if they do lose data, it’s not gone from all their servers.  It’s a simple restoration.

      • Michael Hyatt

        I am planning to write a post on Evernote security. I have been researching it. The bottom line is that I am satisfied with Evernote’s security.

        • Jeff Randleman

          I would be interesed in reading that one!  I’ve searched their blogs and forums on the topic and have read a lot as well.

  • Jeff Brown

    I was intrigued when reading Evernote Essentials and Brett’s suggestion on setting up, say, Amazon receipt e-mails to go directly to Evernote for archiving.  You could even go as far as deleting them from gmail (or wherever) in one fell swoop.

    This concept will be especially useful to me in light of the fact I have too many filing systems in too many places; gmail being one of them. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      I have subscribed to my own blog that way, so that my finished blog posts are automatically archived in Evernote. Very cool!

      • Steven Cribbs

        I like this idea.  I have been copying and pasting my blogs into a notebook.  Having it automatically archive blog posts through email is just pure genius – and a time saver!

      • Jeff Randleman

        Great idea!  Could you share just how you do that?  That would be a very useful feature for me.

        • Michael Hyatt

          Super simple: just go to your blog’s email signup page. Enter your Evernote address. If your email system requires opt-in confirmation, then just enter the email address manually into your list management system. For example, I use MailChimp, and I can just add the address.

  • W. Mark Thompson

    I started using Evernote when reading your other posts. But YOU-ARE-RIGHT when you say: “But Evernote can also be initially intimidating. The program is so deep
    and feature-rich that new users hardly know where to start.”

    I decided to just start using the free version to get familiar with it. Found myself getting bogged down because it is so feature rich. Wasn’t sure how to use it on a daily basis. Not ready to give up though.

    From THIS post, I already see several ways I WILL use it almost daily. Good stuff. Will get familiar with it a little more and then jump to the premium version when I feel ready. Thanks, Michael.


  • Kenneth Clapp

    Michael, one quick clarification on your article (which was very good). You can NOT record phone calls on your iphone with evernote. That’s not a shortcoming with evernote, that’s the restriction Jobs put on the iOS. Though evernote may look like it’s recording, if you start it before you make your call, it will cut off as soon as you get a ringtone. An easy way to see this is to try to start recording after you’uve already dialed the number you’re calling. Wish this was a feature, it would be incredibly helpful to me, but, apparently it’s not enough for Apple to sell you a good product, they also want to dictate how you use it :)

    Kenneth Clapp

    • Michael Hyatt

      Kenneth, you are correct: you can’t record calls on the iPhone. However, you can do so on a Mac and perhaps a PC. I simply make my call, put it on speaker phone, and click the record button in Evernote.

      The quality is not great, but it captures both sides of the conversation.

  • jaredbgregory

    I need one or two descriptors as how to differentiate between Evernote and Dropbox. I have read Brett Kelley’s post on the issue, but it doesn’t clear it up for me that well. What is an example of what you would put into Evernote vs. what you would place into Dropbox?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t use DropBox much. For starters, you can’t easily annotate files or tag them. I have switched from DropBox to SugarSync for file synchronization. It enables me to designate any folder as one I want to sync, rather than having to drop files into my DropBox folder.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t use DropBox much. For starters, you can’t easily annotate files or tag them. I have switched from DropBox to SugarSync for file synchronization. It enables me to designate any folder as one I want to sync, rather than having to drop files into my DropBox folder.

    • Jeff Randleman

      I use Dropbox for sharing files between my computers and a few trusted individuals.  If I need to share the curriculum for church camp, including PSDs and images, all in one fell swoop, I use Dropbox.  Evernote is my filing cabinet right now, although I keep finding new uses for it daily.

      Also, moth of the other youth ministers in my area don’t see the need to subscribe to Evernote like I did.  That means that their file types are limited.  Dropbox helps with that as well.

  • Steven Cribbs

    My two top methods for getting information into the system (OneNote for me) is typing and pasting.  When pasting from web pages, I appreciate that it automatically puts in a link to the original URL – which allows me to easily get back to the page for oter information.

    I really look forward to using the scan feature – I am just not quite there yet :)

    • Jeff Randleman

      I love the ScanSnap that I bought.  It makes filing fun!

  • Jonathan Gallegly

    Thanks for sharing.  I feel so unorganized most of the time.  I download Evernote last week after subscribing to your blog.  I look forward to using your tips to help me get organized.  I especially like your comment to another poster that they needed to schedule an appointment with themselves to learn to use Evernote.  I am thinking that is exactly what I need to do.

    • bethanyplanton

      I like that idea of scheduling an appointment with myself to learn Evernote. I just might do that this afternoon. 

  • Tom Weber


    I’m just beginning my journey with Evernote based on your recommendations.  I would like to learn more about how you organize and manage all the information from blogs, tweets, emails, etc.  I follow just a few blogs and tweets and the amount of information is, at times, overwhelming.


    • Michael Hyatt

      I really don’t use Evernote for that—unless I want to save a post for future reference. I use HootSuite for managing Twitter and Facebook and Google Reader for managing RSS feeds from blogs and news sites.

      • Jeff Randleman

        Why Hootsuite over others, such as TweetDeck?  Just curious…

        • Michael Hyatt

          Preference mostly. Plus with HootSuite, I can get more on the screen and see someone’s Klout score. My wife uses TweetDeck and swears by it. You can’t go wrong either way.

          • Jeff Randleman

            Thanks!  I tried Hootsuite, but keep coming back to Tweetdeck.  I like that fact that it has a desktop application.  Hootsuite is web-based, right?

  • Sheila Boggess

    Thanks for the details on Evernote.Evernote is one of more than 300 tools featured in a forthcoming book Upgrade to Free: The Best Free & Low-Cost Online Tools and Apps (available for preorder at Jing is one of my favorites. Thanks for the details on Evernote.

  • TSTC Publishing

    Check out Michael Hyatt’s column on Evernote, one of 300-plus  tools featured in our forthcoming book.

  • George Niebling

    Dn. Michael – this is *great* stuff …

    I’m just beginning to use Evernote and saw your blog posted from my colleagues at

    I wish I’d had Evernote available when I was earlier in my dissertation project … which brings up the *other* way I know of you and that is your wonderful Ancient Faith Radio podcasts. I’m a Subdeacon at St. peter Orthodox Church in Fort Worth, Texas and have enjoyed your teaching.

  • bethanyplanton

    Once again a great post on using evernote! Your posts are always so helpful. Since I just started using Evernote, I have been using type it and paste it tools. Right now those are the two that I have found most helpful. 

  • Anonymous

    Looking forward to your ebook on Evernote when you decide to pull all your posts together!

    I clip & type the most with Evernote. But I will  look at the other options you laid out.  Clipping is addicting.  I like it better than bookmarking web pages. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Right now I am not planning on one. Brett’s done the heavy lifting. I have 10 other books (literally) that I want to do. I am happy to promote his.

      • Anonymous

        I do have Brett’s book and it is really good!  

  • Scott Kantner

    Typing (iPad or laptop) and email.  Having said that, I just clipped your post with the Chrome extension.  =)

    Scanner is my next option when budget permits

  • Eric

    You mentioned forwarding emails into Evernote.  Does this mean that you don’t keep emails in folders within your mail program?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I keep all my emails in one folder—my Gmail “All Mail” folder. Once I have processed the message. I move it there with a keystroke.

      However, I forward mails to Evernote that have to do with upcoming speaking engagements, blog ideas, book projects, etc.

    • Jeff Randleman

      I keep time sensitive emails in my email program.  But lots of other stuff, such as resources, devotions, articles, etc, go into Evernote and then I delete them from Outlook.  Saves Outlook from becoming too bogged down.

  • Amy Cavender

    Mac users who are also fond of QuickSilver might find this hack (sent to me by a colleague) really useful. I use it all the time to capture ideas to Evernote as I think of them, without having to leave the application I’m currently working in.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Amy, do you have a link? Thanks.

      • Amy Cavender

        Here it is:

  • TNeal

    I’m using two of your ten ways–write it, paste it. The latter represents a major technological leap in my computer skills (at least in the way my mind works).

    I’m a plodder when it comes to technological advances. I like them. I just don’t get them. When I do, I love them. Using Evernote falls into that category. Advancing in its wider range of uses doesn’t quite yet.

  • Jim Martin

    Michael, I have a question that relates to your post.  I’ve tried to find the answer but am stuck right now.

    How do I move something (say a clip of today’s post) to a shared notebook that was NOT set up by me?  The one that I set up comes up along with the other notebooks in my list.  I could put it in any of these notebooks.

    However, what if I want to place it in a note book that is a shared file (that originated with someone else)?  One the left hand side of my desktop Evernote, all of my files are under the word “Account.”  Under the word “Shared” are the files that I did not set up but are shared accounts with other.  I don’t understand how I can clip something directly to one of these files.

    Any idea what I might be doing wrong?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I honestly don’t know, Jim. You might try posting the question on the Evernote support forum.

    • todddoubleu

      Jim … When that particular notebook was shared with you, the person who created it had two options for Recipients: 1) View this notebook or 2) Modify this notebook. In order to select and activate the second option, the user must be a Premium subscriber. If you can indeed modify, you merely need to drag and drop the item on that particular notebook. I hope this addresses the question you have. Have a nice holiday weekend!

    • todddoubleu

      Jim … Upon further review, I don’t think you can. My initial answer works if you created the notebook and have it on the “Account” side. My understanding is that you can’t clip to the notebooks on the “Shared” side (the ones shared with you.) You may need to cut and paste into a New Note on the “Shared” side and then move it into the notebook. 

  • Brandon

    I have never heard you talk about evernote before…this must be your first post on it? Just kidding…Great post and very informative!

  • Daniel Lukas

    i’m struggling to bridge the gap between evernote, and a slick system for accomplishing ‘todos’. any suggestion here? 

    i want to keep evernote as the centerpiece of my organizational life, but me not having a good solution here is causing me to look other places. like omnifocus. or springpad.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I use Nozbe for task management and Evernote as my digital repository. I think they are two different functions. The cool thing is that Nozbe ties into Evernote.

      • Daniel Lukas

        what is your process for getting stuff from evernote into nozbe?

        • Michael Hyatt

          You can read up on the process here and here.

  • Mike Singletary

    How did I not know about the print-pdf-to-Evernote feature? Brilliant!! Thanks Michael!

  • Fernando Almeida

    Hi Michael. I am also a big fan of evernote. I have used for a couple of years when I was starting my MBA online and had to find stuff and clip it so I could write all those papers. It was such an awesome tool that I got my daughter on it for her essay writing class in highschool.
    I am amazed, though, at the possibilities you list in your post. Thanks for sharing these. I will certainly be trying some of the new ones I did not know about.

  • Doug Murrell

    Michael, help!!!  I have looked into so many productivity tools over the years…Outlook, Franklin Covey (paper and electronic), MS Project, GTD, Entourage, Moleskin, and now a combination of Outlook/Moleskin.  I have a Mac Pro at home, a Thinkpad for work, and an Android phone.  I plan on purchasing an iPhone 5 and iPad2 this summer.  I like the idea of Evernote although OneNote 2010 would make sense given my work environment.  How do I simplify to improve productivity, or I should say efficiency?  I would LOVE a paperless office.  And you are only the second person I’ve ran across that is actually doing it.  The other person was an executive pastor of a mega church with no desk in his office (my hero).  Help…I know what I want to build but my tool selection is not the best.  Thanks for sharing your life.  Your blog has been a tremendous blessing.  For me, the pain of staying the same has finally become greater than the pain of change.  I am ready to change.  Please advise.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Doug, the first thing I would do is simplify—pick one computer platform, Mac or PC and stick with it. If you can, pick one computer for work and personal life. That’s what I have done for decades. Make sure you need an iPad. Don’t buy it unless you know exactly how it will fit into your workflow. I had one and gave it up. I now use a MacBook Air for everything.

      Simplify the number of devices, then simplify the number of software programs.


      • Doug Murrell


        Thanks for your counsel.  My wife and kids are heading out of town for a week.  I think I will start Operation Simplify by going through your book “Creating A Personal Life Plan” and a long overdue review of GTD. 

        You rock!

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    Thanks for your marathon posts on evernote. I am getting ready to plunge into evernote experience.

  • Mark Cundiff


    Thanks for this great post, very helpful. I have been putting off diving into using Evernote because I didn’t want to take time to dig into it. You have helped me make the jump in a quick and simple manner. Your help is greatly appreciated.

    Mark Cundiff

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  • Jeff Randleman

    Great tips! 

    A bit more info on #5 Paste it:  If you select the text, in an email, for example, Windows users can hit “Windows key, A” and it will automatically send the selected text into a new note.  It will place the note into whatever notebook is active, though, so check that detail before finishing.

    And on #2, Email it:  If you use “@” you can direct which notebook the clip goes into.  Using “#” will add tags.
    Thanks for a great article!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m afraid Mac doesn’t have the same pasting capabilities, as far as I can tell. You first have to copy it to the clipboard. It’s not a big deal: just one additional keystroke. With regard to the email syntax, this is a huge time-saver. I covered it in my article about “How to Email Your Documents Directly to Evernote.”

      • Jeff Randleman

        I read that, and loved it!  But I thought it beared repeating here…  ;)

      • Anonymous

        Perhaps I am not thinking of the same situation, but on my macbook, when I encounter something on a web page or email that I want to save to Evernote, I simply highlight the content, right click, and select add to Evernote. A new note is created immediately.

        • Michael Hyatt

          I don’t have that option here. Hmm.

          • David Peach

            That probably depends on which browser you are using. I use Chrome (on Linux) and have the ability to highlight, right click and then choose Clip to Evernote. Then I can choose to clip just the selection or the whole page. In Firefox the option is just Add to Evernote on a right click.

            Each browser extension has different capabilities and different ways they function. This is a limitation of the browsers, not necessarily the operating system. BTW, the Chrome extension had some really nice features added to it last week.

          • Michael Hyatt

            I am using Chrome on the Mac. The new extension update is great.

  • David Peach

    I have tried most all of these ways. I have a few particular ones that work best for me. I email, clip, type, photograph and occasionally record content into my account. I have a ton of stuff I would like to scan to get in there. I am just overwhelmed by the whole process of doing it manually. So much so that I haven’t even started with the small stuff. This will probably be one of those projects that is a lot easier once I get into it than what I imagine it is at the moment.

    Good information!

    • Michael Hyatt

      David, here’s a hack to get you started. Put all the stuff you need to scan aside (e.g., an empty desk drawer or closet). Now, set up and implement a workflow for the new stuff hitting your desk. This will keep you from digging the hole any deeper. Now each day, process a little but from the pile you’ve tucked away.

      This is how I got started. It took me less than a week to catch up.

      • David Peach

        Thanks for the tip. Catching just the new stuff to get started is a great idea. I just need to get untracked to get started.

  • Kevin Brinkley

    The Automate tip was the best of all. It works great and falls under the rare category of Windows doing something a Mac won’t. Great hack. Thanks.

    • Michael Hyatt

      It is rare. I hope Evernote can build this into the Mac client. Perhaps it is a limitation of the operating system.

  • Brandon Weldy

    Since I have begun to read your blog I had read so much about Evernote! As a result I have become very interested. While at this moment I do not have this program I would be very interested in using it (and now that I have all of your posts I should have an idea of how to work it and where to start). Maybe then I can join the discussion on this tool.

  • Daniel Curoda

    How do you differentiate between Evernote and OmniOutliner? I’ve pretty much stopped using OmniOutliner for all note taking and meeting minutes. Just wondered if anybody used both since I do miss a few features from OmniOutliner. Although OmniOutliner has no iPhone app and their Mac app doesn’t include the new sync service.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Evernote is really a database for all your notes, scans, quotes, files, etc. It is like a digital file cabinet. OmniOutliner, which I also use, is just another time of specific document program. It is great for producing outlines. However, you don’t have the ability (and least not easily) to store all kinds of random bits of information and then finding it later.

  • Jmhardy97


     I am a Ph.D. student, so I use evernot to organize my research. It is a great tool!


  • Tim Grable

    Great tips for Evernote.  Thanks for turning me onto it several months ago.

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  • Melissa – Mel’s World

    Oh my word…there are so many great tips in this post, thanks Michael! My husband has been trying to get me to use Evernote for some time now, and admittedly I have been reluctant. There’s so much to it and so much you can do with it, that as a brand new user I have no idea where to begin…until now! Thanks for taking the time to walk us all through the many many benefits of Evernote! Totally appreciate it!

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome. Enjoy!

  • James Randorff

         I am just scratching the surface with Evernote (started using it a week-and-a-half ago, per your recommendation).  Thank you for posting up these helpful, easily digestible tidbits of advice for new users like myself.
         For me, just having a checkable, syncable to-do list is an absolute lifesaver!  In time, I will be turning my friends and colleagues onto this, as well.  Thanks again!


    P.S.  Your blogging and blog tips have inspired me to start one of my own.  Would you mind taking a moment and popping over to mine (my first post was today)?  Thanks, in advance!


    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, James. I also just left a comment on your blog. Good for you for starting!

  • Amelia Beckett

    This is a really great tutorial! Thank you for posting this! I’m going to bookmark this page and learn how to use my new Evernote software. It looks like it can do a lot and am really looking forward to it organizing my hectic life.


  • Anonymous

    After much consideration I have downloaded all the versions of Evernote to all my pertinent devices, (I like the Google Chrome add in to help capture web stuff).  I have used the type it function to create notes. (By the way, it notes that you take notes on the iPad, I thought you gave your iPad away?)  I have scanned into Evernote too.  I have used the clip it and drag it, but I have not used paste it or e-mail it yet.  I will have to check out the print in on Windows and see if that works.  If it does that would be a great thing to have.  So I have committed to taking the challenge that you have put before me of using Evernote and seeing if it will become as vital to me as it is to you.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I wrote the iPad post back when I had my iPad. You are correct: I have since passed it on to a colleague. I now use my Ecosystem journal with Evernote.

      • Anonymous

        Okay…that makes sense.  I have used a compositon book and have found that if I am careful I can get the pages out and scan them to my computer…and now put them in Evernote…I will continue to update you on my efforts to use Evernote since you have convinced me to give it a try.

  • Justin Yang

    Wow!  Loved this post!  You have officially transformed me into a clutter-free, Evernote user.  Thank you so much for this!  :)  

  • Anonymous

    Shared this post with a friend of mine who I do peer coaching with.  He downloaded to his I Pad.  Best quote from him.  This looks amazing and I think I can do a lot with it, I just have to figure out how.  I then proceed to e-mail him links to all the other Evernote post form Michael Hyatt along with the link to the Evernote book.

  • Anonymous

    I starting using evernote about one year ago on the recommendation of a friend. Like any new gadget, I used it for a few weeks, but then it quickly fell out of favor. 

    I didn’t really pick it up again until I started reading your blog. Since then I use it more and more in my law practice. 

    I have once notebook i keep for each area of the law I practice. I clip little snippets of cases to use in brief writing. That’s just one example. 

    I also have a notebook for a seminar I’m speaking at in September. Thanks for all your great advice on Evernote. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome. I would think Evernote would be great for a law practice.

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  • Eric Spangler

    Hi Michael!

    I’ve been following you for some time now, and have really been helped with your posts re: Evernote… and have passed along the benefits to other pastor-buddies of mine.

    I’m trying to do this:  “You can also create an Auto Import folder using the Mac’s “Folder Actions.” 

    But when I follow the link to that page, the directions are incomplete.  Do you have a step-by-step somewhere?


    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry, I don’t. I might consider that for a future post.

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  • DanielleH.

    You can do alot with evernote. As I read along i found out things i didnt know about evernote so this helped me alot!

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  • Rusty Williams

    I received your email for the first time. Very nice! Can you tell me what you use to compose and blast out your emails? Thanks.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I use MailChimp. I had a designer create the MailChimp template. My RSS feed automatically populates the content. It is all automatic.

  • Rob Sorbo

    Based on point # 10 (automate it), it might be worth your time to look at It stands for “If this, then that.” It is a web service that automates functions for you based on conditions you set. 

  • Dannymulkey

    Hi, Michael.  I’m totally new to Evernote as of today.  I do have a question…I’ve seen on the Evernote website that there is an Evernote for Windows.  Our home computer is a PC, and our IT guy at work said that he knew of a couple of incidences when Evernote was installed on a PC, it caused Outlook to quit working.  Any thoughts on this besides “Get a Mac”?

    Danny Mulkey

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry, Danny, but I haven’t heard of this. You might check the Evernote Support Forums.

  • Hdbooth

    This was very very helpful!  Thanks!

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  • Jamie

    thanks for this found it very useful

  • tdwatts

    I really like to email to Evernote.  I have a Crystal Reports server setup that automatically emails critical reports/graphs to Evernote.  With the subject line settings it goes straight to the specified folder with the specified tags.

    When I’m in a client’s office and they ask about how we’re doing, I pull up one of their reports/graphs on the iPad and show them (offline storage makes this possible). The first time they see me do this I get a comment like “Wow!” The second time, they usually try to ask for something they think I wouldn’t be able to answer.  So far, no one has stumped me.

  • Ryan

    I’m so glad I came across this website…I subscribed right away!  I’ve only been using Evernote for a few weeks, but I found a web service that I use and it ties into Evernote called IFTTT (If This, Then That).  I use it primarily to direct specific e-mails, calendar events, tweets, and FB status updates into certain NBs and assign them specific tags.

    • John Tiller

      IFTTT is a great tool!  

      Glad you’re here, Ryan!  There are tons of free technology and productivity resources, as well as leadership and social media resources on the site.  Feel free to search for anything you need assistance with related to those topics.  You are bound to find something helpful!

      I look forward to hearing from you on another post soon! 

  • lawofattractioncommunity

    I liked the concept.  Just not sure how much I’d really use it.  Especially if I’m uncomfortable with the pen’s size.  I really wouldn’t want to explain to my wife why I spent so much on something that sits around on the back of my desk all the time.

  • Aditya Kumar

    Save pdf to evernote. The option in the screenshot above – does that apply for the windows application as well? Or only for the Mac?

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  • Tyson Jane

    It is helpful tool for daily work . i think it is the positive point that tools replacement improve are work . if the user work on same tool every day then it will down the work quality .

  • Paul

    I would like to share my new discovery to note all your tasks in one app. This new application for Ipad is called Beesy. It helps me to generate a todolist from my tasks. A good time saver. very pleased of it yield so far. 

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  • Lougress

    How do I delete an item?

    • Michael Hyatt

      On the Mac, you just hit the Delete key.

  • Sbmike

    Have not been able to find an answer to this, but can believe I am the only person where this is an issue.  Is there any way to import my notes from mac lion mail or mac mountain lion notes application to evernote?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Not that I am aware of. However, I found a forum thread here. It might give you some ideas.

  • Fabio

    Just a question: could i use Evernote to save taken notes  from ebook i’m reading on a Ebook Reader (Android OS) ?

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  • Brandon

    Just wondering if you have found ‘Clearly’? It is also a Chrome plugin which will clean up a website before you send it to Evernote. Takes out ads and unwanted extras.

    • Michael Hyatt

      It is slick. However, I found myself not using it. I uninstalled it yesterday. ;-)

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  • Zach LaValley

    Outstanding post.

    Don’t forget “Screenshot into Evernote”. Click the little elephant in the tool bar (top-right for Mac, probably bottom right on PC), and then click “Clip Full Screen to Evernote”. This is a fun and fast one. I guess it could fall under Photographing Into Evernote.

  • David A Specht

    Here is a quick question… I am using Pages, Evernote and Dropbox. I want to save my Pages documents directly into Evernote. Is there a way to do that in one step? Right now, I save Pages documents in a folder (usually in Dropbox) and then drag them into a note in Evernote. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      That is the only way I know to do it. Sorry.

    • Barry Hill

      Hey— I think step #7 solves that problem right? If you hit print (although you are not printing) and click the little pdf button at the bottom (see Michael’s image) and hit save PDF to evernote. I hope this is what you were looking for?

    • Zach LaValley

      David, you can also set up an automated action on

      It allows you to set up a little trick so that when you save something to a designated place in your DropBox Public folder, it will also put a link to that file in a new Evernote note.

      But, are you trying to save a PDF or an actual .pages file to Evernote?  Or just the content of the document into Evernote? And will you be editing it? If so, you’d need to re-send to Evernote each time.

  • Martin Hamilton

    Importing of .vnt (vNote) files would be a very nice feature. I have about 100 of these exported by email (one by one grrr) from my old Samsung phone’s Memo app and sitting on my PC’s hard drive waiting for a new home. Will it be Evernote?

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  • Teresa

    Great info, slowly making my way through your productivity posts and the evernote essentials ebook.
    What are the shortcuts, or how do you set them up, for sending what’s on the clipboard to evernote? Also, how do you send recordings to evernote?


    • Michael Hyatt

      You can setup the keyboard shortcuts in the Preferences screen. You can record directly from within Evernote. Thanks.

  • Michael Pierce

    I use a slight variation of the Drag it method. When working with a document (Excel, Numbers, Word, etc.), I just grab the document icon from the application title bar and drag it to the Evernote icon in my dock. Evernote then creates a new note with the document already attached.

    Similar to your approach, but without having to save the document to your hard drive and then access it via Finder. Very handy when opening attachments from email (Outlook won’t let me drag the attachment to Evernote without opening the file).

  • D

    My memory on my ipad is pretty well all used up. I use evernote for my counselling session to type and record. How do I export my sessions notes/recordings on to my mac at home and free up space on my iPad?

  • Gary Rudd

    Exactly the information I needed! Did NOT know about the clipboard to evernote shortcut – brilliant! (Yes I see I am 3 years late to the dance but!!)

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    Do evernote needs a local scanner/printer attached to our desktop/laptop or it can perform through network connection?

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