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When it comes to productivity apps, modern technology can often be as much of a hindrance as a help. Think about it – today’s tech allows almost limitless manipulation and coordination of data. Startups and entrepreneurs are all looking for inefficiencies they can exploit to get a jump on the competition. The problem is that it is too easy to do too much. But if you don’t do all the bells and whistles, how do you get your product noticed? How do you stand out?

Somehow, the folks at Evernote have gotten the right recipe, because this simple note-taking app has been chugging along for over ten years, which is an eternity in the tech industry. What does Evernote do? It’s just an app that lets you type information into a blank space. So why not just use Microsoft Word, or a Google doc?

The answer comes in one word – organization. This is where Evernote distinguishes itself. Notes can be sorted in any number of ways, using tags, using notebooks or organizing notebooks within other notebooks, and also by date, and name. This means that there is a limitless way in which notes can be organized. If you like to just have a pile of notes, like the digital version of a legal pad, then do nothing. Just add note after note. At the other end of the spectrum, an Evernote user can create tags and notebooks and sub-notebooks that are all related to your various work and personal matters. These systems are extremely simple to create and change as a users’ needs change over time change.

The writing interface is simple too. There is a minimum of coding, so that Evernote is not bogged down with any formatting for font or paragraph. There are some features that can easily be accessed by a minimal toolbar, such as lists and bold – just the kind of thing that you would need if you were taking notes of a lecture or proceeding.

In more recent years Evernote has added a few bells and whistles. It always had checklists, but now it has reminders as well. A motivated user could take these features and make a fairly decent task management tool, but that’s not really the best use of Evernote. I have been much more satisfied with dedicated task apps that require no modification for keeping track of what I need to get done.

One of my favorite Evernote features is the ability to share between apps and users. For premium customers/subscribers, the platform offers shared notebooks with various permissions so that the team can stay informed and make necessary changes to any notes. Sharing notes to other apps depends on whether the other app incorporates Evernote compatibility, but I have used this feature with great success – sending an email to Evernote or sending an Evernote item to a task app is incredibly convenient. Also, Evernote can be used in standalone apps on desktop for both Windows and Macs, and the mobile apps (Android and iOS) work well and sync without hesitation. And if you don’t like apps, the browser version is clean and simple and fully-functional.

For anyone seeking a notetaking platform that is simple, elegant and scalable, Evernote is an outstanding choice.

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