Summary – Evernote version 5 is now available for Windows and hidden amongst a long list of new features and tweaks, is a much needed performance hike.
Disclosure: links to Evernote in this article are “refer a friend” links. If you click through and download and install the software, we may both get free Premium membership. See their help page for details. I am not affiliated with Evernote in any way.
If you go to the Evernote website and have a good long look at all the new features they have introduced in version 5, you’ll likely be impressed with what they’ve packed in.
They’ve changed the whole look and feel of the application, they’ve added smarter shortcuts, updated the note editor and improved the ease with which you can access your notes via a cleaner and more logical sidebar.
You can now “slice and dice” your saved notes more easily by notebooks, tags and even locations where you made the note.
And if you’ve had enough of that, you can just click the “Notes” icon to see all your notes in one long list.
Search is easier than ever with several improvements, including a list of recent searches and quick access to searches you saved for a rainy day, right there in the search bar.
If you want the full run down, have a look at their infographic 100 Reasons To Love Evernote For Windows
In common with the current trend (see Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Apple’s iOS7 if you want to know who to blame), Evernote 5 introduces a “modern” flat look to the screen.
Personally, I’m not a massive fan of the idea of flat icons on our screens. Why did we spend all that time and effort making things look all 3 dimensional over the past X many years, only to change it all back?
It just seems to be change for changes sake, but now that I have it in front of me, I’ve been surprised: I’m actually very happy with what the team at Evernote have done.
It all seems so much easier to read and easier to find what I want out of my copious notes.
Dare I say it, it looks almost elegant?
Back in June I received an e-mail from the Evernote team celebrating their 5th Anniversary.
It said that out of their current 65,000,000 users (yes, you read that right), I was one of the earliest to sign up – number 482,522 which made me laugh.
Nowhere else but in the software world would being the 482 thousandth user be considered to “one of the first”!
I see myself as a low to moderate user of the service and have accumulated approximately 2,700 notes over that time – I know there are users who have well over 10,000 notes stored in their accounts.
I also have a large number of notebooks. I try to reorganise them every so often, but I can’t seem to reduce their number that much.
Similarly, at one point I went through a phase of attaching multiple tags to all my notes.
This was an attempt to categorise everything in my life, before I found out how good the search function was.
I also tend to download the PDF manuals to every electronic gadget in my home.
And yes, I get a little bit OCD with this stuff.
My point is that I have lots of notes, in lots of notebooks, with lots of tags.
While I don’t use all the features of Evernote, I think I have given it a decent run for its money over the years and pushed it pretty hard.
Up until now, the result has been that Evernote sometimes took a while to open on my PC (I have it installed at home and work) and sometimes was slow to respond.
I would create a new note and have to wait while it sat and thought about it before I could actually type in the editor, or I would change back to the Evernote window from another application and find that it would fail to respond for several seconds.
I put up with this because Evernote has otherwise always been so easy to use.
Once or twice I came across competitors and tried them our for a little while, but each time, they seemed to lack something and I always returned.
All that has changed with version 5.
It starts up and shuts down quickly, it synchronises quickly and the search, ah, the search is wonderful. Finding old hidden away things has just become a joy again.
It gives me one more reason to return to the program and use it as the digital repository of my life.
This may even be the best time to reorganise those notebooks once more.
In conclusion, I’m genuinely surprised that they haven’t advertised performance as a feature.
It makes all the other features ‘just work’ as they were intended and makes everything so much more productive.
There’s only thing I would now ask of the team:
Make the apps on other platforms (particularly iOS) respond as well as the Windows application and I will become an Evernote evangelist overnight.
It seems that Evernote Sync is now 4x faster, according to their blog.
Apparently, the team has been working quietly on the server side for the past few months and the latest changes are now live across the whole network.
I just tried it out on my iPod Touch and the sync does indeed appear to be faster, which in turn means that Evernote itself is quicker to respond after I open it (individual notes that have just synced seem to be faster opening too).
There will be further changes over the next few months as they update the client side apps to make it even quicker.
All I can say to them is, “well done” and I look forward to Evernote being even better than before.
Now what was I saying about becoming an Evernote evangelist???
I'm Tim Bader, founder of ErgonomicToolbox.com and the Ergonomic Toolbox training course. I am a writer, author, blogger and church leader, and I help people to overcome RSI and live comfortably with technology. When I'm not writing, helping or training people, I live at home with my wife, two teenage kids and Playstation.
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