Hello again! In my last column, I introduced you to the marvelous, endlessly helpful world of Evernote. Can you tell I’m a little enthusiastic about this software? I hope you are, too, but if not – I’m going to keep trying to convince you to check it out.

I’ve always had a very difficult time sticking to an organizational system. I’m great at buying folders and printing off labels, but not so terrific at remembering to put the papers into the files. I tend to make things far too complex and then end up frustrated at my inability to find that special piece of information I put in an extra special filing place so I wouldn’t forget. I’m sure YOU never have these problems, though.

But the thing about Evernote is that you can get as systematic about it as you want – or you can just throw everything in there like one big, big pile. Because you can search for a word or phrase, it takes mere seconds before you locate that receipt for the toaster oven or that article you wanted to cite for an upcoming business presentation.

If you haven’t checked out the free version, I encourage you to do so…NOW.

Did you download it? I can wait.

Okay, so open up Evernote and you’ll see that you have notebooks and tags. It creates a default notebook for you, so that if you forget to specify which notebook you want an individual note to go in, it will end up there. You can always move notes from one notebook to another. Right now, I have about 25 notebooks, with titles like “Receipts and Bill-Paying,” “Sewing,” and “Web Design.” I also have notebooks for a few long-range writing projects I’m working on, so that I can easily scan through my research and compile it into a biography.

Tags allow you to get even more specific. For example, I have a notebook for Catechist Resources, and tags like “Confirmation,” “discipline,” and “multiple intelligences.” Tags don’t have to be confined to one notebook, so you can use them for any note you create. That’s helpful because sometimes you might forget to assign a note to a notebook but want to be able to refer to it when looking up information on a particular topic.

You can also create notes from scratch, via an interface that’s very similar to Microsoft Word. I like to do this if I’m working on a document that I want to be able to easily access and edit later from another device.

Using notebooks allows you to quickly browse through all of the information you’ve found on a particular topic. This is great for learning a new skill or planning a trip, but it can be especially useful for students who are working on research projects for school.

In my next post, I’ll talk about some of the extra features that you’ll enjoy if you upgrade to Evernote Premium ($5/month or $45/year). That price may seem steep if you think of Evernote as just another “app,” but for our family it’s been well worth it.

Before I let you go – did you remember to save THIS COLUMN to Evernote? Tag with “unnecessary quotation marks” in your notebook labeled “Way Too Excited About Evernote.”

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2012 Dorian Speed