EverNote 2.2: Universal Clipper, Ink Notes & Handwriting Recognition

by JL Beeken on 4-26-2008

EverNote 2I started using EverNote back when it was barely out of the womb and for awhile I was a beta-tester. Since then they have been adding features and leaping on ahead of what I’ve learned so far, and so fast I can’t keep up.

Now they’re off on Version 3 (out in beta) where you’ll be able to store your notes and clips on the web so you can have access to them anywhere. On your mobile phone too, if you have one, the database synchronized between all devices and your desktop, with the ability to email your ‘notebooks’ to whom you please. Now that they mention it, I can see a few thousand uses for that.

Anyway, I’ve been using EverNote v.2 for so long it leaves me feeling free to say I really don’t like what they’ve done to their color-scheme in version 3. The green and turquoise, the black, the elephant logo. Not happy at all, being partial to the baby-blue and navy that’s been around since the beginning. The engineers are Russian so maybe it’s a Russian color-scheme. It makes my eyes hurt.

If you don’t have this program yet, just go get it. New colors aside, it’s the best thing since the advent of swiss cheese, and the free version is only missing a few uppity parts. I’d recommend EverNote 2.2 to start. Version 3 needs to cook some more, but if that’s OK with you maybe you can rustle up an invitation.

As with most major software, there’s always more than one can ever hope to learn in this lifetime. So, I just discovered something else about the Universal Clipper button.

There are clipper buttons for Firefox and Thunderbird. You highlight what you want to keep, click the EverNote button and it’s yours. For everything else, there’s an icon that sits in the System Tray called the Universal Clipper button. You can grab clips from anywhere with it and send them over to EverNote. You can also use it to take screenshots.

EverNote 2.2, Universal Clipper

Say you’re in a PDF or a word document and you’d like to save a small snippet. Just highlight your selection, click Win+A and it’s gone to EverNote. If you click Win+Prt Sc, you can take a screenshot instead. Screenshot options are ubiquitous, but what’s so charming about this one is that after you’ve got your area selected, you can right-click, toggle to Drawing Mode (D) and squiggle on it. Of course, if squiggling means handwriting it’s easier if you have a graphics tablet.

EverNote 2.2 Universal Clipper, Drawing Mode

If you click ‘Recognize Shapes’ (in the database this is a Plus feature, so it may be here as well) you can have it self-correct shapes for you.

EverNote 2.2, Recognize Shapes

Then click Enter, and the screenshot goes directly to EverNote.

EverNote 2.2

My mind reels with the possibilities.

I bought the Plus version eons ago for the text recognition and shape-correction, not that I really needed them but this is my favorite software of all time, so at the least I could support the development of it. The price these days, $50, is half the price of Microsoft’s OneNote. The free version works just fine so try that first and see how it goes.

Awhile back it occurred to me that EverNote might be used as a Lazy Man’s Genealogy Filing System. You can scoop up a whole folder by highlighting the file names. Click Win+A and the whole works will go to EverNote. Whole graphics will go just as they are. If it’s a document, it will send a link to it.

In the Plus version they use artificial intelligence to index text in images. This is a search on the word ‘name’. A snippet of one of a dozen notes that showed up. Not bad. I’d say that’s 20-20 vision. I need my reading glasses to see it. Note, though, that even in this small piece it missed two other opportunities to highlight ‘name’.

EverNote 2.2, Text Recognition

It can also recognize handwriting but it depends whose. I tried it on a census record and it failed entirely. On larger writing where the lettering seems obvious, it can become completely baffled. This is not perfect technology but it’s pretty darn amazing. Be dazzled.

Using Ink Notes in the database you can train it to read your own handwriting. Or a slightly slowed-down version of your handwriting. If you right-click on the text it produces, it will give you a list of what it thinks you might mean and you can choose the right one if it’s there. That’s how it learns.

You have to experiment a bit to realize there’s a limit to what it can ‘guess’ and try to write in a way that’s not a complete scrawl. This is for people who work with a tablet pc or a graphics tablet or a stylus on some small device. I keep an inexpensive graphics tablet off to the side for doodling, but it’s my old keyboard that gets me through the night.

EverNote 2.2, Handwriting Recognition

For the intro, read EverNote. Or just go get it.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Wendy Lavender 4-18-2011 at 2:45 AM

Been trying EN2 and prefer it’s interface to 4′s but having said that I like the internet feature. Can forward emails directly to EN using the unique email address they give you, been using that one a lot. I have an iTouch and I’ve been able to update my packing list for Townsville when I think of sommat instead of coming back to the puter.

But you are so right about the lack of colours compared to the earlier version.

Loaded Chrome and Firefox on tonight after IE updated to 9 (Yuk) and been playing around with the EN clipper in FamilySearch for my Johnston mob. Works a treat doesn’t it!

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