Evernote for Finding Things Faster
5 ways to reduce time spent searching for information
There are many tools that help us find the information we need to get things done. Sometimes, what we really need, though, is a simple way to filter out the information we don’t need, so we can find things faster. With Evernote, you can bring up what’s relevant and useful to you—such as your food blog drafts, clipped photo staging articles, e-tickets, receipts, or meeting notes—right when you need it.
# 1 Create your own personal search engine in Evernote
To turn Evernote into your personal search engine, you’ll want to:
- Get into the habit of capturing (or referencing) everything that’s important to you and saving it into Evernote. Typed and handwritten text inside images, PDFs, and Office docs are all searchable, so save important photos, emails, screenshots, and web clips to Evernote.
- Use Evernote on all your devices—your phone, your home computer, your work laptop, and on your mobile tablet. This way, you’re always prepared whenever (and wherever) inspiration strikes.
- Create inventories of physical items and containers in your storage space or home office by snapping photos and saving them to Evernote. Add brief descriptions of what the items are and where to find them.
Set up offline notebooks on your phone or tablet. This way, when your internet connection is unavailable or unreliable, you can access and edit your notes and notebooks.
#2 Use search shortcuts for quick access to notes
Create shortcuts in Evernote for one-click (or one-tap) access to to notes, notebooks, stacks, tags, or saved searches from any device. It’s the quickest way to access flight and event e-tickets; snapshots of online coupons; or hotel and dining confirmations. Shortcuts are also useful for notes you frequently access, including:
- Hourly: Project checklists, meeting notes, and phone logs
- Daily: Class, train, or gym schedules; recipes, meal plans, and dining-out options
- Weekly: Shopping lists; sporting and club signup lists
Quick keyboard shortcuts for searching in Evernote for Mac and Windows:
- Use Cmd + J (Mac) or Ctrl + Q (Windows) to ‘jump’ to a specific note, notebook, or tag.
- As long as Evernote is running in the background, use Ctrl + Cmd + E (Mac) or Shift + F (Windows) to take you immediately to the Evernote search bar, even if you’re in another app.
#3 Group related information together in notebooks
If you find it faster to browse through lists of notes rather than searching for them, take some time to categorize notes into separate notebooks. For example, group similar types of notes together into topic-, project-, event-, or people-based notebooks.
Ideas for notebooks:
- Topic - “Health & Fitness”, “Auto”, “Finances”, “Job Search 2018”
- Projects - “Personal”, “Home”, “Consulting”,“Non-profit”
- Events - “New Year’s Eve 2018”, “Road Trip 2019”, “Marathon NY 2020”
- People - “Julian”, “Jesse”, “Kids”, “Contractors”
If you find it faster to look for notes based on when you created or last updated them, change your sort settings to sort by date.
#4 Use visual cues when naming notes and notebooks
Find a consistent way to name all your notes and notebooks so you can quickly find what you’re looking for. If sorting notebooks alphabetically, start all notebook titles with a one-word prefix, like “Home:”, “Projects:” or “Gifts:”, so topically-related notebooks can appear together in the list. If you want to easily spot a particular notebook, ‘pin’ it to the top of the list by using symbols, such as an asterisk (*) or hyphen (-) and capital letters like this: *IDEAS
Copy and paste emojis in note or notebook names to make them easy to spot and add a bit of personality.
#5 Search inside PDFs and other attached documents without leaving Evernote
Currently available with Evernote Premium
Evernote can search for text inside documents you’ve attached to a note, such as PDFs, images, or Microsoft Office documents. Save all your expense spreadsheets, presentation slides, and PDF manuals as attachments in Evernote so they appear alongside other related notes, email, and web clips. This way, you won’t need to waste time opening other apps or searching for files buried in your local and online storage drives.
Add Google Drive files to Evernote by connecting your Google account, and your linked Google Drive files become clickable links right from within a note. Search for keywords in the Google Drive filename to bring up the note it’s attached to, then click the Google Drive link to open the file directly from Evernote.
- Organize with notebooks
- Evernote for Personal Organization
- Tips for organizing notes, notebooks, and tags
- Evernote for Project Planning
- Evernote for Productivity-on-the-Go
- How to filter your to-do notes (checklists)