Recently, I was asked what my preferred method is for saving articles to read later. Was it Instapaper, Read It Later, or perhaps something else? I’ve tried both Instapaper and Read It later and didn’t stick with them. What I found was that I mainly found articles that I wanted to keep for later when I was using my iPhone. The way that both Instapaper and Read It Later work on the iPhone and web browser is through a bookmarklet. These are not the most obvious and intuitive little gadgets to setup. However, it wasn’t for this reason I changed. Both of these services have a free version and a paid/pro version with extra functionality such as the ability to save more articles. I couldn’t work either of these apps into my workflow. My approach, one that works very well, is simply using the every versatile, the every useful, Evernote! And here’s how…
Evernote Web Clipper
When I’m on my MacBook and I find an article that I want to save for later, or simply archive forever, without worrying about bookmarking anything only for the site to disappear or change one day and the article be gone, I use the Evernote Web Clipper. It’s a free browser extension that is available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari. There are three types or content that can be clipped:
- Content - When I want to clip an entire web page, I simply right-click on the page and select Evernote Web Clipper > Clip entire page…
- Snippets - When I only want a small piece of the page, I just highlight the part I want, then again, right-click and select Evernote Web Clipper > Clip selection…
- Images - If I’m just after a single image (such as an infographic), all I do is again right click on the image and select Evernote Web Clipper > Clip image…
By simply clicking the Evernote icon in the browser toolbar, the clipper will try to guess the part of the page I want to clip – usually the main content. However, it gives me the opportunity to move the selection around, expand it and shrink it. Very cool.
The Evernote Web Clipper icon will then show that the clipping is being sent to my Evernote account. The next time my desktop Evernote account synchronizes, or the next time I open Evernote on my iPhone, the clip is there waiting for me.
Sometimes the article clipper doesn’t quite find the right chunk of text. Sometimes I just want to clip the content and leave all the ads and other non-relevant areas of the page behind. This is when I use Evernote Clearly, another browser extension that is available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Clearly makes reading online easy again. By clicking the Clearly icon in the browser toolbar the entire article I’m interested in is cleaned up. Ads and menus are removed, formatting is cleaned up and everything is just, well, clearer.
Once it’s nice and clear, one click on the elephant icon and the cleaned up article is sent into my Evernote account.
Email to Evernote (using iOS)
Finally, we come back to my original problem – saving articles for later when I find things with my iPhone. This one needs no extra extensions, plugins or apps, apart from the Evernote app.
When I’m on my iPhone and find an interesting article that I want to save for later I first select the entire article by tap-hold’ing and dragging the selection boundaries. Then, use the Mail Link to this Page option. Normally this only adds in the link to the page into the email. Now I tap under the link and paste in the entire article. I then select my Evernote Upload email address and hit send. The entire article is now on its way to my Evernote account.
There’s another trick here that works most of the time and is a little easier. Some web sites give me the option to use ‘Reader’ on my iPhone. This is a little bit like Evernote Clearly in that it tidies up the page to make it easier to read. The added benefit is that you can use the button at the top to Mail this Article. Then, just like before, simply choosing my Evernote Upload email address and hitting send sends the entire article to my Evernote account.
If you’re not sure what your Evernote Upload email address is, or how to add it to your contact list, see my 5 Tips to Save Time in Evernote.