Thoughts on Evernote

Despite the hold Evernote should have when acting as one’s “everything bucket”, it hasn’t been good enough to keep me happy. Let me explain.

Note Entry

I do not like Evernote’s overly complicated way of creating a note. In the iOS app, you have five buttons responsible for creating notes:

  • Text
  • Camera
  • Photos
  • Reminder
  • List

Just as there already is on the All Notes screen, I want one note creation button button, a plus button, on the home screen. It opens the note editor and adds the note to your default notebook. After than, you can add anything you want to your note.


Evernote tags are a great, powerful organizational tool. But I wish that they took some inspiration from OneNote tags also. OneNote has tags like to do checkboxes, stars, exclamation points, and question marks that can all be added within a note to point out a specific section of the note. These tags become searchable so that you can see all your to do items, or all your unanswered questions. This would be a useful addition.

Right now, Evernote for iOS has these search fields:

  • Search Notes (Home and All Notes)
  • Search Notebooks (Notebooks)
  • Find Tags: (Tags)
  • Search for people or messages: Work Chat

Instead, I want: Search. One place to search everything: notes, notebook names, tags, people, messages, and locations for that matter. The only secondary search that seems necessary is searching within a note and its attachments, once you’ve opened the note.

Other desired improvements

  • Alphanumeric password protection option per notebook
  • Greater stylistic controls: page color, fonts, font styles, ability to insert tables, and sketching/handwriting.
  • PDF highlighting that follows text (such as that in PDF Expert), rather than freeform.
  • If I record audio in a note, I should be able to simultaneously take notes, then later play back both the audio and notes, in sync.
  • Rather than displaying News & Tips and Market on the Home screen, put them under Settings, and once I become a Premium subscriber, don’t keep showing the button.

What I Like About Evernote

  • Custom tags
  • Universal app: this means feature parity between iPhone and iPad, which is important.
  • Notes tagged with GPS location
  • Work Chat
  • Annotation of images and PDFs: Evernote has far more options. OneNote has pen tools.
  • Presentation mode: even though I’ve never needed it

Final Words

It seems like some unneeded complexity has crept into the app. Multiple ways to start a note, and multiple places to initiate a search, could be simplified. I hope to see such improvements.