Back To School with Evernote

My daughter just started her junior year of high school. She has seen me use Evernote for many different projects over the years, both at work and at home. A few years ago, she asked about using it for school. A perfect application!

We installed the Evernote app on her Mac and iPhone and installed the Web Clipper in her browser (PC and Android versions are also available). We then created notebooks for each one of her classes. I showed her a few of the basics and she was off to the races. She began to use it consistently throughout her sophmore year. Not only that, a few of her friends saw her using it in class and started using it also.

This year, we set up notebooks for each one of her junior year classes. Since she still had the notebooks from last year and her freshman year, as well as a few non-school related notebooks, we decided to use stacks to better organize her notebooks. Stacks allow users to organize a group of notebooks under one heading. Think of a stack as a file drawer. Inside the file drawer are folders (notebooks) and inside those folders are documents (notes). If we did not use the stacks, Evernote, by default, lists notebooks in alphabetical order. The challenge with an alphabetical listing in this case is that freshman and sophomore year notebooks, which she not longer actively uses, would be mixed in with all her current junior year notebooks. By using stacks, she can group her notebooks by year.

Creating a stack is easy. Simply drag a notebook that you want to include in the stack onto another notebook you want to include in the stack. You then have the option to name the stack. You can add additional notebooks to the stack by simply dragging them into the stack.

An alternative to using stacks is to use naming conventions that preface each notebook with a code. For example, you could code all Freshman year classes with 1, sophomore with 2, etc. Alternatively, you could use letters FR for freshman, SO for sophomore, etc.

Here is how the notebook list looks using this naming methodology (3 for 3rd year):

Preface notebook names with numbers

I prefer to use stacks because I am a heavy Evernote user and have over 50 notebooks. Stacks help me keep them better organized. With stacks, you can toggle (show/hide) the list of notebooks by clicking on the “>” next to the stack title.

2015–16 Notebooks Hidden

Click the “>” to reveal the notebooks in the stack:

2015–16 Notebooks Shown

Taking notes in Evernote is easy. Simply open Evernote and click on New Note in Evernote. It is good to spend a little time thinking about how to name your notes. My daughter lists her notes with the date and then a title. For example, 2016.8.28 Lecture Notes. The reason she uses the yyyy.mm.dd date format is that it allows you to easy sort notes by date. By clicking on any one of the field headings, you can sort notes. For example, in the Title field you can sort the notes in chronological order if you use this date format. Using a date format like 8.28.16 would sort all notes from the month of August together which is not particularly helpful. Here is an example:

Click on the Title heading to sort

Clicking on the Title heading a second time reverses the sort order. Note the “^” above and the “ ∨” below:

Click a second time on the Title heading to reverse the sort order

Using her smartphone, my daughter can take photos of the teacher’s notes on the whiteboard. There are a lot of different ways to capture information into Evernote. For more information, here is an article I wrote that details a few of my favorites.

Evernote is a perfect tool for note taking in school. I have no doubt that my daughter will be using it in college too.

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Feel free to contact me (frank.evernote@gmail.com) with any questions or if you would like additional information about how you can get started with Evernote.