Maybe you've used Evernote before on either a PC, tablet or smartphone. Then again, maybe not. In any case, it's a cloud-based service and crossplatform set of apps for taking notes and storing and organizing just about as many electonic docs as you want. The new Evernote for Windows 8 app is specifically designed to run under Microsoft's new "Modern" user interface (UI) on Windows 8 and RT PCs and tablets.
Consider Evernote to be a nice alternative to a physical filing cabinet. Not only can you take notes with it, but you can fill it with electronic editions of the paperwork that might otherwise be cluttering your home or office.
Evernote supports a very broad cross section of media. You can store typed notes, handwritten notes, photos, document scans, web pages, audio clips, and just about anything that you can capture through a computer. Evernote will even go through and convert your scanned or handwritten notes into text.
You can then organize all these "notes" into "notebooks," with individual categories for receipts, family documents, work-related items, left-handed rotor designs, or whatever else you conjure up. With support for up to 250 individual notebooks, there's a vast amount of flexibility for organization.
Also, each note in Evernote can be tagged for easy searching when you want to find it again. For instance, you can create a note with the tags "business" and "receipts." The note would then come up any time that you looked for either "business," "receipts," or "business receipts." You can even be more specific than that, attaching tags for particular dates or retailers, for example.
Beyond that, Evernote is very friendly to crossplatform use. In addition to the new Windows 8 app, Evernote also offers apps for traditional Windows desktops, Mac OS, and mobile platforms like Apple's iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, and old webOS devices.
Security & Privacy Concerns
Evernote has two components: the cloud service for storing your docs, and the app itself. If you want, you can choose to use Evernote offline, just storing your documents on your local computer. The cloud service does carry certain advantages. For one thing, it is what supports access and synchronization across your multiple devices. For another thing, the cloud keeps all of your documents backed up.
On the other hand though, Evernote's cloud does have drawbacks when it comes to security. Notes data on Evernote's servers is not encrypted, so in the event of a security breach, anything you've uploaded is potentially accessible to others.
Operable across RT tablets along with Windows 8 PCs, the new Evernote for Windows 8 is not a replacement for the long-time Evernote Windows desktop client, which the company continues to update.
Instead, Evernote for Windows 8 is a completely new and separate program, downloadable through the Windows Store and designed to run on the Windows 8 "Modern UI." The new app is extremely simple, clean, and touchcreen-amenable.
Released at Microsoft's recent Windows 8 launch event, Evernote for Windows 8 doesn't work as well on traditional PCs as the older Evernote desktop client for Windows. Fewer elements are displayed on screen, which makes it a little harder to sort through long lists. You might need to live with the search options instead.
If you have a touchscreen device though, you'll find that Evernote for Windows 8 supports pinch-to-zoom, allowing for larger lists of notes.
Also on the down side, the new app isn't as robust yet in some ways as the usual Windows desktop client. Evernote for Windows 8 doesn't yet support editing of rich text notes, notes with embedded images, or text styles, although the company says that plans are in the works to support all of these features.
Like all other Evernote clients, the new Evernote for Windows 8 app is free, and so is the basic service.
Basic Vs. Premium
However, the company does sell a "premium" option which adds more capabilities. For example, a supposed offer of unlimited storage, a free account is limited to uploads of 60MB of notes per month. In contrast, a premium account lets you upload up to 1GB in notes per month.
The premium offering also boasts faster conversions of scans and handwriting to text, faster tech support, and the ability to turn off the advertising which supports the free version, according to Evernote.
Upgrading to a premium account will cost you $5 a month, or $45 per year.
Security and privacy concerns aside, Evernote itself is a nifty organizer. If you're one of those folks who's still inundated with paper even in our digital age, it's definitely worth a long, serious look.
The new Evernote for Windows 8 app will no doubt be hugely useful to those people who are picking up Windows 8 convertibles, ultrabooks, all-in-ones and Windows RT tablets. I suspect, though, that conventional mouse and keyboard users might be happier sticking with the traditional Evernote desktop client for Windows.
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