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Why I’m Now an Evernote Premium User



evernotelogoDespite being an avid Evernote user, I’ve been able to resist the siren call of upgrading to a premium account for several months. It’s only $45 a year or $5 a month, but I wasn’t even close to hitting the 40MB a month limit on a free account and the file restrictions weren’t that big a deal. Taking a few  notes via text, voice or photo was good enough. But then I  read  a tip on automatically  adding files to  Evernote, started thinking of other ways to  apply it,  and  realized I had to take  the plunge.

That tip is a simple two-part operation  published by  EveryJoe (via Lifehacker) that uses a custom shortcut in the Windows  “Send to” menu to send files to a folder you’ve designated for Evernote to automatically monitor for import. Basically, with a right-click and Send to, you can add any file to Evernote.

With a free account, those file types are limited to ones that Evernote can recognize (text, HTML, image, PDF). But with a premium account, any file type can be added. Evernote can’t read unrecognized file types and  display their contents, but the files themselves  are sync’d for access  and can  be opened by their default applications.  Did run  into a problem with .m4a files, but I fixed the association in Windows  so now it’s fine.

I’m also using the auto-import feature to grab my photos as I add them to my computer. Picasa does a fine job of that already, but I’ve been back and forth on ways to keep them accessible. I save to my Tablet PC first, then backup to my network drive, then save to DVD before deleting locally. My network drive is web-accessible, but Evernote offers that plus text recognition and the convenience of  one-stop for all my notes. And adding that data  helps justify the upgrade  to the 500MB monthly limit.

Finally, I’ve decided to make local sync my primary means of loading iPhone notes into Evernote. The Evernote iPhone  app is good, but  I think it’s more convenient to use  the built-in apps for recording data and sync at my leisure. I already mentioned the photo sync. For voice notes, I’m going to use the voice memo app to record then  auto-import into Evernote  whenever I sync with iTunes. If I want  a photo or voice note  in Evernote immediately, I’ll email it in and do the same for text notes. I’ll be treating the Evernote app primarily as a viewer.

From here, the big enterprise will be to sync my ink blog entries. I have more than a thousand of those in both Windows Journal and jpg format. Obviously, I’ll need to meter that out in  some way. I may just start fresh. I also have my micro-blog and GBM entries here to consider. I craft ink entries locally, but these typed entries  were grown  in the cloud – auto-import won’t work. If anyone has ideas on that, I’d love to see them.

Regardless, now that I’ve discovered  the auto-import feature, I feel like I’m finally utilizing Evernote in a way that approaches its full potential. Yes,  I’m kind of just using it as an  index, but it’s an automatic  index I can access anywhere that links to the files I need and acts as redundant backup for that data. That’s  four kinds of useful to me.



  1. tivoboy

    08/07/2009 at 4:55 pm

    welcome to the club.

    I’ve been telling EVN for over a year now, that they should have some sort of “member get a member” promo. Nobody better than a member/subscriber to advocate the value of this great little app. But alas, it hasn’t come to pass. I think I read somewhere they have only 100K member, maybe less. I should look that up.

    As for the iphone app. Lots of functionality, but needs a BIT more attention. Search on it is nothing like the client version on pc or mac, and well, it does crash pretty frequently esp. if you have lots of notes. I hope it gets better, the combination of the two is a great marriage. But, as with almost all relationships, good, effective, accurate communication is key – and it needs a bit of work.

  2. tivoboy

    08/07/2009 at 4:57 pm

    looked it up. 14K paid, :-(

  3. olc

    08/07/2009 at 5:28 pm

    This is great, except on one of my main problems with Evernote is the completely ridiculous way it handles PDFs in the client apps. On Windows, it insists on displaying a pull page of the PDF, rather than an icon (unless I am missing on option of some kind). And on the Mac it is even worse — if I remember correctly, it displays the entire PDF, all the pages, with no option to prevent it.

    In my experience, Evernote, while great at managing notes, is just really, really bad at managing atatchments.

    I actually use Sugarsync to achieve the same kind of automatic synchronization that you are referring to here. I just save any file I want to keep in a specific folder that is automatically pushed up to the cloud and pushed down to every computer that I choose. And it has an iPhone client as well.

    I really, really wish I could use Evernote to replace OneNote and Sugarsync. But every time I try, I just get incredibly frustrated and end up going back to the old system.

  4. Gary

    08/07/2009 at 7:37 pm

    When you say “I’m also using the auto-import feature to grab my photos…”… are you saying that is a feature in Evernote? If so, I wonder if that is PC specific, or if I just dont know where it is on the Mac??

  5. Sumocat

    08/07/2009 at 9:52 pm

    tivoboy: Thanks for the welcome.

    olc: What’s wrong with displaying the PDF? Double-click should open the PDF in your default reader, so the page functions as an icon too.

    Gary: I don’t know if this is a Mac feature, but it is in the Windows version. Go to File –> Import –> File Import Wizard (yeah, seems redundant). Pick your source and target, then select “Watch folder for changes…” Be warned, check the size of the folder before you add it. The import can’t be stopped after you start it.

  6. olc

    08/08/2009 at 10:04 pm

    Sumocat — I guess it depends on how you tend to use Evernote to manage documents. I tend to like to have some text in a note and then a bunch of related documents that are all collected in one place (ie, in the same Evernote note). For that kind of system, Evernote’s insistence on displaying every PDF as a full page image makes things very unwieldly. They should at least just give us the option to display the icon (as they do with non-PDF documents). I recognize that some people may have a workflow that works fine with the default display, but it would be trivially easy to give users the choice.

    I should note that the Mac version, which is the one I started with, is even less defensible, because (unless it has changed since I used it last), it *insists* on displaying every page of the PDF in the note.

  7. Sumocat

    08/09/2009 at 6:26 am

    olc: Okay, I get it now. I’d call that an attachment-style approach. Icon only is the way to go for that. Another option that could help is some form of PDF annotation baked in to Evernote. Would be nice to have notes exist in both Evernote and the original.

  8. olc

    08/09/2009 at 8:46 am

    Agreed. Having thought about it a little more, I think the problem with Evernote is compounded because of the forced simplicity of the note structure. There is no hierarchy permitted. You can have multiple notebooks, but within each notebook, all you can have are individual notes, all on the same level. You cannot create a note with a bunch of subnotes and you cannot create subnotebooks. (Again, I could be wrong, because I have not used Evernote that much, but this is my impression). If you could create sub-notes (like you can in OneNote, for example), then it would not be a big deal to have a PDF displayed as a full page image. It’s the combination of the PDF treatment and the lack of a hiearchy option that makes it very difficult for me to use Evernote as my main database, though I really would love to because of the amazing and effortless cross-platform and cloud support.

  9. olc

    08/09/2009 at 8:53 am

    By the way, the note-taking application that, for me, is the gold standard for how to deal with attachments is Curio Professional from ZenGobi. Unfortunately, it is Mac-only. But applications like Curio made me very seriously try to love a Modbook before settling on the J3400 as the tablet pc that I use every day.

  10. Ruud Hein

    08/11/2009 at 8:22 pm

    You write; “I’m also using the auto-import feature to grab my photos as I add them to my computer”

    A heads-up on that. Locally Evernote uses a SQLite database. Although besides limits enforced by your file system it doesn’t have a theoretical limit … it *does* have its limits.

    The more entries, the slower EN can get locally. Especially when sorted otherwise than “most recent at bottom” you can start to run into the “preparing notes for display” progress bar — often.

    This goes to type of content too. Heather suggested at the forum that there is a speed difference in preparing 100 PDF entries vs. 100 txt entries. I found that a lot of PDF files displayed in preview caused major slowdowns at times.

    Finally, syncing is a progressive process — but if you ever want to install EN on another node or need to reinstall it, you’ll need the bandwidth and time to get your X amount of MB’s down from the cloud.

    Having been on Evernoe since 2005 I have circa 3500 notes, most and mostly text, few images, few PDF’s. few photos. That’s 350 MB. If you were to add you’re whole photo collection at high quality …. I dunno :)

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