On October 26, 2012, Evernote announced a very big update to Evernote for Mac and just days later that update was made available as a beta. This update significantly changes how people use Evernote for Mac and this is a good opportunity to discuss some of those changes and how they may impact your workflow positively, and/or negatively. Finally, you can discover how to take the plunge and upgrade to Evernote 5 today!
A Completely New Look
After I upgraded the first thing that I had to absorb was the new user interface. Each section of Evernote is more clearly separated – the overall navigation on the right, the list of notes and the note window itself – they’re all nicely separate with colours and spacing, making it easier to stay focused on the task at hand.
The main note screen (the one that I’m writing this post in) looks much cleaner. Everything that doesn’t help to create content blends into the background and out of the way. That is, all the formatting buttons and the tags and notebook selection, they all appear grayed out to some degree. This makes the actual note section pop out and means you can spend more time capturing ideas and less time getting distracted by putting the right tags on a note, or worrying about the formatting and style.
Snippets, Cards and Lists
The list of notes hasn’t changed too much from Evernote 3 for Mac. There are the same options to layout the notes as a list, as snippets, or as cards. There is also the ability to show an expanded card view that will close up the note panel and show a grid of your notes, which means that to view a note requires a double-click. I’ve always used the Snippet view – I can see a preview of the note and if I need to jump back to the top of the list of notes I can do so with a simple keyboard shortcut of Option+Up. Right now though, I’m trying out the card view, just to see if there are any benefits.
Where you used to have a list of all your notebooks and all your tasks there is something completely different. This black strip acts as a global navigation tool around your Evernote account.
You can drag individual notes (from the notes list) to the top of this section. This saves them as a shortcut, meaning you can quickly get to your most important notes with a single click – no searching and no browsing. There’s no limit to the number of notes your can add here.
The five most recent notes you’ve made changes to will be listed here. This is very handy if your working within individual notebooks but need to reference a note you’ve worked on recently in another notebook. Basically, it shows you the top five notes from the All Notes list.
The list of notebooks has disappeared from the sidebar. So where are they? There is a new button in the Sidebar called “Notebooks” that will show you all your notebooks in one of two ways: as a list; as big thumbnail notebook-looking things. Any notebook stacks that you have setup can be expanded out to show their sub-notebooks. The great thing about this new notebooks view is that all the notebooks you’re involved with are shown together. All your own notebooks are right alongside all the notebooks that other people have shared with you. Shared notebooks are indicated by a picture of a group of people.
It’s possible to restore the list of notebooks to the sidebar from a menu setting, but you can also very easily jump between notebooks by changing the notebook filter at the top of the notes list.
The list of tags in the sidebar has also been replaced with a single button. The tag view works in a very similar way to the notebook view. Tags are broken into alphabetical order and each section is highlighted with a red title – this makes it real easy to find the tags you’re looking for. The tag view has plenty of room for all your tags – I though I had a lot of tags, but when they’re arranged on one page, I really don’t have too many (phew).
Click on a tag and Evernote will show you the option to view all notes with that tag (in the top-right corner). But, it will also show you if there are any notes that have that tag and any other tag. For example, if I select the tag “ebook”, Evernote greys out (disables) most other tags, but leaves things like “idea” and “wunderbook” enabled. With a CMD+Click I can select both tags and then further refine my tag combinations, or show all notes that have both of those tags.
And then there’s Atlas. This tool is awesome. Using it you can see at a glance where your notes have been created. This is great for reliving memories about certain places you’ve been. If you use Evernote to capture a travel journal, then Atlas is what you’ve been waiting for!
Build for Speed
The whole idea behind the new Evernote experience for Mac is about speed and reducing the number of clicks it takes to do things in the application. The toolbar across the top of the application has been further minimised leaving a single button to create a new note. The new note will default to the notebook you’re currently using, or the Inbox. But you can just as easily create a new note in one of the three most recently used notebooks. Personally, I have setup a keyboard shortcut that will pop-up a new Evernote note window. For me, I hit Control+CMD+N to make this happen, but you can set your own key combination from the Shortcuts section of the Preferences window. You don’t even need to have Evernote open for this to work, you just need the Evernote icon to appear in the menu bar. When the icon is there, the keyboard shortcut will work at any time – you can be using your web browser and quickly open a new note window.
How Can I Get It?
If, like me, you love having the very latest technology, then you may want to start using the beta today. However, using beta software always involves some level of risk. Your data may become corrupt and unusable etc. etc. blah blah blah. Anyway, to be able to upgrade to this, and other future beta releases you need to have installed Evernote from the Evernote website, not using the App Store. If you’ve installed Evernote from the App Store, then the first thing you’re going to need to do is remove it. Yep, that’s right, go ahead and delete Evernote. Don’t worry, your notes are safe in the Evernote cloud. Once you’ve removed it, head over to http://evernote.com/download/get.php?file=EvernoteMac. This will start downloading the latest stable version of Evernote. Once downloaded, install it and let your notes sync – this may take a while depending on how many notes you have. Once you’re back up and running, visit Preferences, then on the Software Update tab tick the “Update to beta versions when available” checkbox then click the “Check for Updates Now” button. Evernote should detect the new beta version and let you upgrade.
Have you tried the new Evernote 5 for Mac? What is your favourite part?